It is our pleasure to have Ms. Deah Elmundo, a hardworking, quick-witted and responsible teacher of Bagumbong High School, Caloocan City, Metro Manila, for our third installment of our Teacher Interview Series.
To all would-be educators out there, this is a must-read! Here’s our very enlightening interview with her:
1. How long have you been teaching?
I started teaching right after my graduation so I have been teaching for 6 years now.
2. Are there any other fields or profession which you want to pursue, or has it always been teaching for you?
I must say that it has always been teaching for me because I haven’t thought of being in another profession. At present, I am working as a full-time public school teacher and at the same time, as online part-time consultant for an Australian tuition company. Still, it’s connected to education!
3. Do you have a teaching philosophy?
I believe that Science is best taught through real-world examples. What will remain with them after many years are not the equations but how these are applied in their lives. While math- and science- inclined students may remember everything I teach that interests them, other (and most) students will not – so I make it a point to inject the relevance of each of the lessons we have in school. This way, the students will understand why there is a need to study these things.
Aside from being a subject teacher, I also want to be an agent of values formation. This is what most kids of the present generation lack. I want to be able to create a conducive atmosphere of learning where they can feel a sense of belongingness, which they may not be experiencing in their own homes. Also, I want to be a friend and a sister whom the students can approach when they have problems, but of course, without them losing respect to me.
4. Is there a particular person or are there persons who had an impact on you and on your teaching profession? Why and how?
I have five people who have inspired me to become (and continue to be) a teacher. The first three are my high school teachers, Mrs. Mary Jane Villareal-Ortencio, Mr. Leandro Venturina and Mr. Ely Dolatre whose intellect and teaching style made me gain more interest in Science and Mathematics. I was always challenged with the way they presented in our classes and they kept me asking for more!
The fourth person is my college professor, Sir Arwin Borja, whom I greatly look up to. Up to now, I believe that he is the most intellegent person I’ve ever met. He is very humble and is willing to help his students whenever they are having difficulties with the subject. Unfortunately, not all teachers are like him.
The last person is my cooperating teacher when I was in practice teaching, Ms. Hershey Hipolito. She taught me everything that I didn’t learn in the university. She guided me as I was dealing with the “real” students – not the students that I am imagining when I was still studying. Likewise, she made me break my idealist views and opened my eyes to the reality of public school education which greatly helped me when I started teaching. She helped me build up my self-confidence and was a sister and mother to me as well.
5. What’s the teaching method that you can consider to be most effective and should also be implemented by would-be teachers?
Aside from the method I have explained in my teaching philosophy above, I think my best advice is to always wear a smile. Wear a smile even though the students are unruly, and smile even though you are having a bad day. We are already teaching a difficult subject, and frowning in front of the students will make the subject more difficult.
6. How do you envision the educational system in the Philippines? What are the developments or improvements you’d like to see?
There is a lot more work to be done with our present educational system, but the K to 12 curriculum is a huge leap towards what I’m envisioning. In the next five to ten years, I hope that there are more classrooms, more instructional materials, and greater support to teachers from our government. What I don’t really like in the present system is that we teachers are given loads of paperworks which hamper us from doing our jobs inside the classrooms. These paperworks do not make us more effective teachers. They just lessen our contact time with our students.
7. Do you have any advice to young people who would like to become teachers someday?
My advice? If you think you can sustain the passion, then be a teacher. It will be difficult, but it’s very rewarding! It may not be a high paying job, but the rewards are overflowing. There’s no greater feeling than having the people you have touched come back to you after many years, and thanking you for the good that you have done to them.
8. You were a DOST scholar and our Batch 2011 top graduate of the Philippine Normal University. We’re proud of you! Do you have any advice to our current undergraduate scholars, and to the aspiring applicant-students who will be taking the DOST exam this year?
For those who will be taking the DOST exam (assuming that the same level of test will be given):
Do not review! The DOST exam is not a test of knowledge, but a test of grit and skills. I myself can’t believe that I have passed the exam. Just make sure that you take the exam with enough sleep and a clear mind. That’s it.
For the DOST undergraduate scholars:
The competition is really TOUGH so don’t set “graduating with honors” as your main goal. It may hurt you! Kidding aside, just keep your cool. When I was studying, I just wanted to maintain my scholarship. That’s it.. and everything else will fall into place. For me, I focused on the smaller goals towards my larger goal. It may be helpful to write a goal card like this:
The key here is to “Do more, and expect less.” I focused on my daily goal and made it a habit. I had a lot of failures, too, but I did not let these failures break me. That was when I learned to expect less because less expectations would give me less heartbreaks.
Finally, don’t forget to keep your feet on the ground and pray.
9. On a lighter note, may we know how a very intelligent and responsible person like you avoid pressure and stress? Would you give the would-be teachers some tips on how to balance work and personal life?
I travel – A LOT. That’s how I reward myself for a tiring week or month. I spend most of my weekends and free time traveling and I engage in new adventures from time to time. I love visiting new places. Traveling is a form of education anyway, and is my stress-reliever.