The Many Faces of the Teacher

This was published months ago but I forgot to “publicize” it via my blog because it was one of my last projects before I gave birth. Any way…

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Date of publication: October 2, 2012
Starweek, The Philippine Star

To inspire, uplift and equip: 20 years of Bato Balani Foundation Inc.

“Though it has often been said that a teacher’s influence never ends, this is not a meaningless cliché,” says Ching Jorge, Executive Director of Bato Balani Foundation Inc. (BBFI). “One educator can impact generations of learners, one outstanding teacher can steer countless learners towards lives of integrity and excellence. If one can do that, imagine the impact of a hundred outstanding educators.”

In 1991, BBFI was borne out of the pressing need for education development in the Philippines. Recognizing that nation-building begins with excellent educators, BBFI chose to focus its efforts on teacher training programs as well as providing advanced degree scholarships and grants for teachers.

The “How To Be A Highly Effective Teacher” project was BBFI’s first effort. It focuses on training teachers in specific teaching skills in the core subject areas of basic education. The nationwide program links public and private school teachers with experts and BBFI’s partner organizations. Since its first run, BBFI has conducted over 500 seminars and has trained more than 60,000 teachers across the country. In 2004 alone, BBFI trained 6,681 participants.

BBFI also published Quality Teacher (QT), a quarterly magazine specifically made for educators. A recipient of the Anvil Award for Best Professional Trade Journal, the magazine features a wide selection of articles tackling the various needs of the teacher. Jorge states that “the magazine is geared towards assisting teachers in honing their professional skills and helping them balance their work with their personal lives.” QT is distributed nationwide and has more than 4,000 readers. Most of QT’s articles serve as reference materials on various subjects especially about Philippine education.

BBFI also manages scholarship and educational subsidy programs for its corporate partners. The program takes on different forms : from an outright cash subsidy to cover the scholar’s tuition expenses to a scholarship in the selected schools that BBFI has tied up with. Anonymous individuals and organizations have also entrusted endowment funds for BBFI to manage.

The Tulong sa Paaralan, Tulay sa Kaunlaran (TSP-TSK) program has benefited

more than 1,200 public schools nationwide, with a total of almost 69 million worth of donations spread across the duration of the program.

Launched in 1993, TSP-TSK creates inroads for books and educational magazines to reach schools in need as well as non-government organizations and civil society organizations. These include Museo Pambata’s mobile library;

Scholastic Enhancement Materials donation to the Commission on Filipinos Overseas to assist in bringing the knowledge of the Philippines and the Filipino culture to the Filipino children worldwide and educational materials to Kidzworld for various orphanages in the country. The Philippine Normal University (PNU) also received a P2.5M Multimedia Center through TSP-TSK.
Launched in 2004, the search aims to highlight the virtues of teaching by identifying role models among local educators. It recognizes teachers not just for their dedication to their craft, but also for making a difference in the lives of their students, their colleagues and their local communities. “It’s not a competition. The objective of the search is simple: to tell the stories of these amazing teachers so other educators will be encouraged and more individuals will take up the vocation,” explains Jorge.Aside from these programs, BBFI together with Diwa Learning Systems Inc. (DIWA) also has a nationwide advocacy campaign called “A Tribute to Teachers”. Now on its tenth year, it was recently held at the Marriot Hotel in Pasay City. The decade’s grandest yet, the one-day fete for teachers was filled with entertainment, inspiring speakers and refreshments. It culminated with the presentation of the honorees of The Many Faces of the Teacher search.

The Many Faces of the Teacher search is open to teachers of all ages, to those teaching in private or public preschool, grade school, high school, and tertiary level. The outstanding teacher to be nominated demonstrates exceptional performance in teaching, employs creativity, innovation, and resourcefulness in teaching, and more importantly, has impeccable values applied in teaching, family, and personal life.

This year, the four teacher-honorees have demonstrated nothing short of exceptional performance, creativity, innovation and resourcefulness in teaching. Three of them came from the Alternative Learning System (ALS) and one from the Special Education (SPED) sector. Nelfa Quinto Cepillo, Rosebell Ligaya Mercurio, Concepcion Tadifa Tababa and Anabel Ponce Ungad — all have gone beyond what is required of them to enrich the lives of their students.

“While teaching isn’t the most glamorous job in the world, it is one of the few professions that can truly change the course of our nation’s history. This is what drives us forward at Bato Balani Foundation, the knowledge that we are assisting those who hold the our nation’s future in the hollow of their hands,” concludes Jorge.

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