“A Challenge to New Teachers and the Government”, A Topnotcher’s Speech

Coach Albert Basa, MJ, Ma/om A

As “Amomandmore” and mo/am A to MindGym LET reviewees, this is the fifth time that I’ve experienced fulfillment in something without being in the limelight, in the news, or in a public recognition platform.

All five related to the joys of topping the LET:

  • First was when I went onstage the Cuneta Astrodome with my UP CPE classmate, LET Top 7 Ariel Co, whose parents didn’t make it.
  • Second was when classmate-friend-coach Albert Basa placed Top 3 on April 2009 (affirming I am on the right track).
  • Third and fourth when Jean Millare (Top 1, Sept ’10) and Jayson Calventas (Top 7, Sept ’10) (both MindGym revieweees) delivered their oath taking addresses before new teachers in 2010 (before they both chose to teach in the provinces).
  • The fifth? With Mary Joe “MJ” Pagaduan (another MindGym LETer), Top 2 for this March 2012 LET, challenging new teachers and the government to work for a better tomorrow for Filipinos.

Since I wasn’t present physically, MJ shared a copy of her speech with me through an email which opened with a note:

Below is a copy of the speech I gave during the oath taking ceremonies last Saturday, May 26, 2012. This is the original piece I wrote. I’ve included some of the ad libs and impromptu changes I made. I might have missed other changes because I can’t really remember what I said due to my jitters that day.
I know I have not mentioned specific people in my speech but I want you to know that I thank you from the bottom of my heart and know that I wouldn’t have done it without your guidance and encouragement.
Thank you so much MindGym. Thank you because you believed that I can. And you made me believe that I can.Thank you Coach Alice and Albert. Thank you also to other coaches and to Angel who have been kind and made our stay in MindGym a pleasant and fruitful one.

My Just-in-Case Speech


By MJ  Pagaduan, Top 2, March 2012 LET

Good morning. Let me begin by saying congratulations to everyone. Congratulations to us March 2012 LET passers. We did it!

To our parents, families and friends and to all mentors present, give yourselves a pat on the shoulders for you did good. You paved the way for us to be here celebrating today.

Thank you in advance for lending me your ears as I deliver this “just-in-case speech”. Yes, I call it My Just-in-Case speech as it’s meant to be delivered in situations like this—when it wasn’t supposed to be.. but here I am happy to step in.

I want to share something meaningful and not bore you with worthless thoughts and empty words.

The late professor Randy Pausch of Carnegie Mellon University said in his Last Lecture:

“We cannot change the cards we’re dealt, just how we play the hand.”

I believe this statement is very powerful and worth mentioning today. Everything around us is changing yet much seems to remain the same.

In education, changes are happening and with it come a lot of challenges, difficulties and adjustments.

But since this is a festive occasion, I choose not discuss these new and/or old challenges that we face. It is what it is. We all know the status quo.

What I am more interested in is on how we choose to deal with these circumstances that we have been dealt. How we plan to manage the situation we find ourselves in.

My hope is that we become inspired and genuinely love what we do because as career experts say, “passion is a critical factor in professional success. People who love their work bring an intensity and enthusiasm that’s impossible to match through sheer diligence.”

Furthermore, may our passion burn brighter as we draw inspiration from our students.

We see and hear in the news and documentaries—children who travel across rivers and mountains on foot just to get to school.

As teachers, let us be as inspired and as determined as these students. It shouldn’t matter if there is only one textbook available. Teachers, take it and find ways. Make ways for the information it contains to reach the learners. They may not have the books, but they have YOU. So it’s time we get creative.

Another challenge I give to all teachers is this: teach students to ask questions. More importantly, teach them to ask the right questions.

With all the information available to us and the voices and opinions we hear all around, I hope we pass on to our students the habit of making decisions based on the merits of evidence.

Let us help them develop more effective mental models and practices such as the ability to unpack assumptions and confront them with evidence or at least with wisdom and informed opinion.

Also, together let us help our students build self-esteem not shatter what little they might have of it. Help them develop their self-efficacy.

Remember Bandura and remember to provide our learners with opportunities to learn what their strengths are and cultivate the belief that they can rely on their strength when facing challenges, in navigating through life and reaching their goals.

And speaking of navigating through life, I understand that some of us may choose to pursue their teaching careers elsewhere. I wish you well and hold nothing against you because I believe that everyone deserves a shot at a good life.

My appeal would be more for the government that wherever our teachers go, may they exert all efforts to keep them safe and secure their welfare. In behalf of those who choose to stay, I also appeal to our leaders. We are here and we hope you see us. We can’t let our losses paralyze us.

Rather, it should give us more reason to invest in what we have left. Invest in our teachers and in education. More so, invest in those who chose to stay and give those who left a reason to come home.

There is so much happening in this country and around the world—good and bad. But at the end of the day, it’s still us who’ll decide what our ending is going to be.

Let’s choose a happy ending. Let’s work for a bright future. Let’s decide that we can, because just like in the story of Pandora’s box, there is always hope.

 And hope is in each and every one of us. My final challenge to you—never lose hope. Let hope die last.

Reading MJ’s just-in-case speech gave me jitters, like the kind of “kilig” one gets for reaching a goal, in this case — for being a part of another dream come true, of another LET success, of another hope for the youth of the country.

How hopeful are you of a better future for the country through education and new teachers like MJ?

MJ giving thanks at our Hawaiian-themed Victory Party for March 2012 LET Passers & Topnotchers, May 2012

*Marie Joe Pagaduan is a registered Chemist, a graduate of the University of the Philippines with a Certificate in Professional Education. On her first day at MindGym, she expressed her goal of topping the LET so that her picture can also be at the back over of MindGym’s LET review book, like her friend Dy-An Angco who was a topnotcher of the September 2011 batch. She reached her goal and has been seen by thousands of new teachers at the LET oath taking ceremonies and soon, will definitely be part of MindGym’s forthcoming LET books 😉

About Mo/am Alice

As Education Administrator/Director of MindGym, she tackles the center’s day-to-day affairs and gives its learners the warmth, care, and support that only the “heart” could afford to deliver. As one of the main coaches for MindGym’s Intensive Coaching for LET, she infuses practical lessons not only for LET success but for life as a teacher. She vows to be a lifelong learner. Follow her on Twitter.

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4 Responses to “A Challenge to New Teachers and the Government”, A Topnotcher’s Speech

  1. Teci Pulido 2012/06/28 at 10:02 pm #

    I’ve had the privilege to be a science coach in MindGym and to MJ in particular.
    Congrats again to MJ and to MindGym, particularly Coach Alice and Albert! Keep on building up teachers who will build up the future. God be with you more!

  2. jeferson Barrios 2012/06/30 at 9:26 am #

    pls get in touch with me.. can i know what are your techniques in passing the board exam and become the top 2 all in all . pls reply me at this(top) Eaddress. I am now taking my LET exam.

  3. Jason Paul C. Monlinong 2012/07/02 at 8:55 pm #

    Congratulations to Marie Joe Pagaduan. – From her UP Diliman Chemical Society family. =D