25 December 2010

Pride of Pinoy Public Schools

Faith Lalaine Lopez
Graduating at the top of an advanced ICT-integrated training program for teachers, Faith Lalaine Lopez, 30, shares that she is tremendously affirmed in her decision to stay put in the country, having rejected the lure of overseas teaching years ago.

Today, Lopez says she has improved her ability to lead her students, especially the needy, to more opportunities to fulfil their dreams. To her, this is a major boost of her role as mentor in her own country.

Lopez teaches English at her alma mater, the Consolacion National High School in Consolacion, Cebu, a first class municipality 12 kilometers north of Cebu City. In a batch of 97 teachers from Central Visayas, she was valedictorian in the Global Filipino Teachers (GFT) Program, a six-day ICT-integrated training program to enhance classroom teaching provided by Globe Telecom in cooperation with the Cebu-based Coalition for Better Education (CBE).

Time spent in teaching would deepen Faith's reasons for teaching. At Consolacion each year, she handles five sections of about 70 students each.

"Some of my students in the lower sections are already married and have children to rear. Most are over-aged. I have students aged 22, 23, and 25. Some belong to broken families. Some are working students."

With her eyes and speech, conveying compassion for her underprivileged students, she states, "I empathize with these students. I see that they are really in need of help."

She says she awakened to deeper calling for her life as a public school teacher when her school chose her to participate in the GFT program under the full support of the Department of Education - Region VII.

The inspiration for the conduct of GFT came in the heels of the successful implementation of Globe BridgeCom’s Internet-in-Schools Program (ISP). Launched in 2004 to harness Globe’s broadband and mobile technologies to enhance education, ISP has provided internet connection to a total of 2,002 public schools.

The GFT program uses the Project-Based Learning (PBL) approach, as opposed to "chalk-talk". This design encourages, not just research, but discussion and exchanges of ideas among teachers to arrive at solutions to problems.

Faith observed that the students learned more. "They don't just surf the web, but they also have to look for articles that are reliable. Before, they just surfed without checking. Also, now, activities are more fun. Now, they do storytelling." One thing Faith kept repeating as she explained the benefits of GFT was the "fun" she experienced during the training. She’s been passing on that “fun” to her English classes.

"I really want to apply what I learned from the GFT to my lower sections. Given ICT training, maybe these students can use their skills in other ways even if they don’t go to college."

Faith is also aware that there are teachers who would resist the call for change. To them, she says, “I am inviting my colleagues to learn what I learned. I want to share what I learned. I want other teachers to learn from the GFT training. Be open-minded and adapt to changes."