Randy Halasan is the only Filipino teacher who won this 2014’s Ramon Magsaysay award for his work as a teacher in Davao City.
He is teaching at the Pegalongan Elementary School, one of the remotest schools in Davao, which can be reached seven hours by bus, habal-habal, trekking Mt. Bangkilan, and crossing the thigh-deep Sinod River and the chest-deep Davao River.
Since 2010, Randy pushed for the school’s expansion and helped the local community become food-sufficient. He does not only teach, he is transforming and building a community.
In one of his interviews, Randy quipped,
If I only focus on education, nothing will happen; the children will continue to go hungry.
I believe that every teacher, like Randy, who made a difference and an impact in the lives of their students and their communities are FIT—Fun, and Interesting Teachers.
A Fun and Interesting Teacher is a total performer:
- Public speaker
- Helper, and whatnot
The multi-dimensionality of teaching requires a fit body and a fit mind. There’s no excuse for teachers who have only one “smart”. It is imperative for every teacher to practice all the eight (or more) smarts or intelligences as discovered by Dr. Howard Gardner.
Many teachers, especially in our public schools, spend countless of hours walking to reach their places of assignment. They carry heavy stuffs such as books, visual aids, and “props” to make their lessons interesting. Hence, to be physically fit is not an option but a requirement for every teacher.
Embracing the dual role of a teacher, as classroom manager and community leader, is easier to those who have the extra energy to do more than regular school assignments. Energetic teachers are easily spotted because everyone comes to them for help. Oftentimes, they are on top of the list of the district office or the local government unit to do extra assignments.
Teachers who are FIT can always do more. They are finishers and not only starters. They tend to be highly creative because they can explore their ideas freely and find time for continuing personal and professional development activities.
Study after study proves that to be FIT requires a genuine motivation, both intrinsic and extrinsic, and a fervent desire to improve one’s pedagogical and interpersonal skills.
To be FIT starts with discovering one’s own “unfair” advantage—tapping one’s hidden potentials and practicing these new found skills. After all, teaching is also self-discovery. There are techniques that teachers can utilize to increase their self-knowledge and their sensitivity to their learners’ lives and needs.
Teachers like Randy who understand the need to be well-rounded or be “FIT”, become an instant source of inspiration. They become highly influential because of their energy and enthusiasm. After graduations, they are the ones who are missed but never forgotten. They left a mark in the hearts of their students because they have accomplished more than what were expected of them.
With the big reforms in the Philippine educational system today, the more that teachers should strive harder to become fit and do more than the minimum requirements: to transform lives, to build communities, and to bring the Philippines to the world.
Teachers: Be FIT, DO more!
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