By: Ray Butch D. Mahinay, Master Teacher II for Senior High School, and Division Coordinator for Alternative Learning System (Cagayan De Oro City, Region X)
Ms. Rubeneth V. Salazar is no ordinary teacher.
She fulfills her sworn duty as an educator day-in and day-out, inside and outside the classroom. As an Alternative Learning System (ALS) implementer, she strives to re-kindle the hopes and dreams of the last, the lost, and the least.
In June of 2016, Teacher Ruby started to organize learning sessions for the residents of the Department of Health – Treatment and Rehabilitation Center Cagayan de Oro (DOH-TRC CDO) located in Upper Puerto, Cagayan de Oro City, Misamis Oriental. The facility prepares recovering drug dependents for their reintegration to mainstream society, and part of this is equipping them with life skills and competencies.
The task was strenuous, but Teacher Ruby remained steadfast in her commitment to eradicate illiteracy, and help alleviate the plight of out-of-school youth and adults (OSYA), whom she serves with never-ending patience and inexplicable joy.
Being the ALS coordinator of East 2 District of Cagayan de Oro City Division, she prepares the annual plan of activities designed to address the needs of the learners, as well as the community, and assures its seamless implementation. With her excellent classroom management skills and varied teaching strategies geared towards life-long learning, she became one of the writers of the adapted Dynamic Learning Program Learning Activity Sheets (DLP LAS) carried out in partnership with SMART Communications. The DLP LAS helps resolve issues on instructional learning materials, most especially for the Enhanced ALS Curriculum, which she uses in her class sessions since the last quarter of 2017.
She integrates diverse livelihood-entrepreneurial skills training to develop the life skills of the learners, most especially the residents of the DOH-TRC CDO. She teaches them how to make puto-cheese, siomai, embutido, and food preserves like papaya relish and pineapple jam, so that they may earn a living. She likewise initiates sports activities and spiritual undertakings to provide the learners with a breather.
Indeed, her zeal and courage as a teacher have been an inspiration among her learners in the facility. Her generosity, talent, and dedication to service are innate and genuine. She also helps the resident learners already released from the facility to be able to take the Accreditation and Equivalency (A&E) Test.
With an impressive passing rate for two consecutive A&E tests in 2016 and 2017, the DOH-TRC CDO and its learners are eternally grateful to their Teacher Ruby. The completion and graduation exercises brought pride and joy to all the other residents, and even to the center’s stakeholders. The graduates proceeded to college, engaged in further technical-vocational trainings, while others were employed directly. These inspired the rest of the residents to enroll in ALS and finish basic education even after their in-patient treatment.
Teacher Ruby was also one of the founding contributors of the recently launched SHARED Options (Senior High Alternative Responsive Education Delivery) Program for the high school graduates of DOH-TRC CDO residents, and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) inmates.
When asked why she loves teaching, she shared, “I believe God gave me a vision and a mission – the vision to let my learners see a brighter future for themselves, and the mission to equip and encourage them to endure and overcome life’s challenges through hard work and perseverance.”
“To see my learners become successful in life is my greatest achievement,” she added.
The 36-year-old teacher has been in service for 11 years, and she has no plans of abandoning her vision and mission to serve as a beacon of hope to those who have once lost their way.