Appreciate children's simplicity and innocence to keep on teaching, says award-winning educator

By Marie Tonette Grace Marticio

JARO, Leyte – Honey Algein Liporada, head of Pange Elementary School who is also an award-winning teacher, said she loves it when innocent rural pupils who haven't seen a city appreciate simple things such as the sight of a projector or how a paper comes out of a printer as they learn about the world inside their classrooms.

 Teacher Honey shows her classroom design mostly made of recycled materials, which took her five years to complete. (Photo by Marie Tonette Grace Marticio / MANILA BULLETIN) Teacher Honey shows her classroom design mostly made of recycled materials, which took her five years to complete. (Photo by Marie Tonette Grace Marticio / MANILA BULLETIN)

"I loved every first experience I had with my innocent pupils who are very appreciative of simple things,” Ma'am Honey, as she is called, said as she shared how she continues to pursue her dream of providing world-class education even to a far-flung village in this humble town.

Liporada's story is apt to highlight with this year’s celebration of National Teacher’s Month from September 5 to October 5, 2018 that recognizes the crucial role, loyal service, and dedicated commitment of teachers in developing globally competitive learners.

From a family of teachers, Ma’am Honey was inspired to take a double degree in elementary and secondary education at the Leyte Normal University, which made her fall in love with teaching even more.

“Ever since I was a child, teaching has already been my dream profession, I cannot see myself in any other profession except for teaching. Because I want to let the children experience what I did not experience when I was a child in school,” she shared.

She started teaching in a private and international school before landing as a multi-grade (MG) teacher handling Grades 5 and 6 classes in an interior village here.

“It was difficult to start teaching in an MG class especially that my previous teaching experience was in an international school. My pupils in the barrio school are the total opposites of my pupils in the private school, but I was eager and excited to bring an international standard of education to these learners,” she recalled.

She narrated her experience witnessing pupils appreciate simple things: “Though my pupils cannot even speak nor write simple English sentences, I went home with a smile every day because I know that I was making a difference every time I am with them. Most of my pupils do not even know the idea of a city. They were awed when they saw a projector and called it a big TV, and when I brought my printer to school they were amazed to see how a paper comes out from the machine."

Recently, photos of her classroom drew various reactions on the internet, but for Ma’am Honey, who dedicated five years to come up with the design, more than being awarded with Best in Classroom Structure in her district in 2017, the discipline and excitement of her learners when they go to school are what matters to her.

“I spend most of my time in my classroom than at home. I never saw my pupils get distracted because my classroom is designed for children. It developed discipline among learners that as early as their age, they should already know how to take care of the things around them, because if they don't, matagal na sanang nasira ‘yung displays namin sa room,” she said.

In fact, she added that it has helped her develop learners who are winners in academic contests such as Science Quiz Bee and Journalism despite coming from a multi-grade school.

Also, in her seven-year stint as a teacher, including five years with the Department of Education, she has already set the bar with her back-to-back award as the Most Outstanding Multi-grade teacher in Leyte Division in 2016 and 2017, as well as in her district; and Outstanding Mono-grade teacher Leyte Division Area II-A in 2015.

“I am hoping to encourage teachers to love their work more, their pupils and their teaching environment, and to give the best that they can to give better education for the Filipinos. Teaching is not just a job, but definitely a vocation. Love what you are doing and love your profession, because you will surely not call it stress but passion.”

Believe in the smallest hope there is, make small things big, stay positive, never give up, continue believing that we can give the best education to our future leaders, she said.

Amidst challenges in the teaching profession, she continues to work hard in achieving her dream of providing world-class education in public schools.

“The impact of every circumstance will depend on how you will take it, and on how you will react to it. There are a lot of issues that our department is currently facing. These issues must be faced and addressed. I believe and hope that teachers will be recognized and valued for their worth,” she pointed out.