Teaching has always been considered a noble profession that requires great passion. Being a teacher in the Philippines is a far more interesting story to tell. The challenges abound and one’s passion can truly be tested, and if one prevails, a diamond in the rough emerges.
For the past three decades, Teacher Jacquelyn Rachel L. Tapdasan has spent most of her life teaching. Starting as a classroom teacher, Teacher Jacky always believes that teaching is not just a profession, but a personal calling.
“I’m passionate about teaching because I come from a family of teachers, and I’m surrounded with passionate people. Even if I have a son with special needs, I continue to teach and use this as an inspiration to help my learners grow and succeed,” Teacher Jacky shared.
In 2003, Teacher Jacky’s normal life as a classroom teacher changed when she accepted the challenge of being the Non-Formal Education (NFE) Coordinator in the District of Naga III in the province of Cebu. Being an NFE Coordinator meant that she would leave the comforts of teaching in a classroom to provide education to learners in far-flung areas inaccessible to formal basic education system. Every week, she traveled to Sitio Cabuan, which is 14 km from the town proper, to conduct basic literacy program (BLP) to out-of-school youth and adults.
Being an NFE Coordinator in Sitio Cabuan gave Teacher Jacky the chance to meet its resident. She coordinated with the barangay officials and looked for partners in implementing the life skills trainings such as basic dressmaking, manicure and pedicure, and welding and fabrication. Her efforts paved the way for non-formal education in the remotest sitio in Naga City.
In 2008, new opportunities opened for Teacher Jacky as the DepEd Division of Cebu City was established as an interim division for DepEd Cebu Province. This development provided an opportunity for Teacher Jacky to establish a formal school in Sitio Cabuan. She communicated her plan to the District Supervisor, who conveyed her proposal to the Schools Division Superintendent (SDS). The SDS approved the request to create a primary school in Sitio Cabuan, provided that Teacher Jacky would have 75 learners and would teach five days a week. For the love of teaching, she accepted the challenge even if she knew it would be tough and would take a big toll on her personal life.
On June 29, 2009, Teacher Jacky started teaching 76 learners from Grades 1-4 and pursued the creation of Cirilo P. Selgas Primary School. Classes were conducted in the chapel for Grades 1 and 2, and in makeshift tent outside the chapel for Grades 3 and 4. Her dedication has moved the hearts of the people in the community.
In times of challenges and struggles, Teacher Jacky never gives up. She keeps the passion burning. She always reminds herself of the proverb, “Give a man a fish and he eats for a day; teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime.”
At present, Teacher Jacky serves as the District Alternative Learning System (ALS) Coordinator of Naga III. Every week, she travels to four community learning centers (CLCs) to meet her students. She has been in ALS for 16 years.
Her story is written to remind and inspire people to never give up in helping those in need and to continue to touch hearts, nurture minds, and transform the lives of the young learners.
“The best part of teaching is seeing my students grow and to make a difference in the life of my learners,” Teacher Jacky concluded.
By: Yvonne Burbos-Gera; 09064326538
Senior Education Program Specialist – HRDS
City Of Naga, Cebu Division; Region VII