Rowena Garcia: The singing, storytelling science teacher
BAGUIO CITY, Philippines – Rowena Maynes Garcia, Teacher III in Baguio City National High School, believes that love and skills work together to produce a masterpiece. Having her share of hardships and joys in life, she keeps this philosophy in mind to make people around her – especially her learners – love learning and live life.
“Maganda po magturo si Ma’am Whengkie, sakto sa time. Naituturo niya nang husto ang lesson. Isa siyang ehemplo. Pangarap ko maging teacher dahil siya ang idol ko. Tinuturuan kaming maging positive sa aming dreams. Inspiring ang kaniyang mga kuwento, tula at kanta,” Grade 7 learner Jannica Campos Yassan shared.
("Ma'am Whengkie's teaching skills are great and timely. She's able to teach the lesson very well. She's a role model. I aspire to become a teacher, too, because she's my idol. She teaches us how to be positive in dreaming. Her stories, poems, and songs are inspiring.")
Teacher Whengkie loves telling stories she created to her students, reciting poems she wrote, and singing songs she composed. For her students, these skills make her an incredible science teacher.
She begins her classes by singing songs to set the mood and to make her learners feel that science is a subject one should not fear. Then, she tells stories related to the topics she discusses.
If her learners get involved in infractions of dishonesty, Teacher Whengkie gently reprimands them by reciting her poem, “Iba’t-ibang Mukha ng Tagumpay,” which makes them realize their wrongdoing and learn the value of honesty.
“She is an angel who came to our lives to educate every student she would meet and inculcate in our minds that we should not only be academically competent but also spiritually active,” wrote her former learners of Ednas School in Dagupan in their yearbook.
“As a teacher, she is a wonder woman, well-organized, jolly, and energetic. As a friend, she is loyal and can keep secrets,” Teacher Sharon Lyn Sindayen said.
Teaching it seems was Teacher Whengkie’s destiny, but it was not her first choice. She wanted to be a carpenter but her childhood adventures led her to become a teacher. She also shared how she would gather her playmates in front of a wall in their house and teach them the alphabet using charcoal. They would dance and sing, and her leadership qualities positively influenced people.
Teachers Margarita Martin and Judith Costales agreed: “Buhay na buhay sa lahat ng pagkakataon ang pagiging considerate ni Teacher Whengkie. Lahat ng magagandang katangian ay nasa kanya – active, mabuting leader, and approachable.”
("Teacher Whengkie is always considerate. She possesses all the positive traits: active, a good leader, and approachable.")
In 1999, Teacher Whengkie graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education major in General Science from St. Louis University. She became a CHED scholar because she was in the Dean’s List. The stipend and the tuition discount sustained her in college.
“One of the happiest moments of my life was when my dream came true, ang maging (to become a) teacher. I am the 4th of 6 siblings and I am the only one who finished a degree, thanks to my sister Irene who saw my determination and loaned the needed money to register at St. Louis. I did not waste the opportunity. Life was hard, we were poor,” Teacher Whengkie said.
Teacher Whengkie personifies a masterpiece of love and skills working together. She continues singing songs, writing, and reciting poems, and telling stories that bring positive impact to her learners and colleagues. She truly loves learning and lives life to the fullest.
“It was sheer sipag at tiyaga. Nakakamit ang tagumpay hindi lamang sa katalinuhan kundi sa iyong pagpupursigi at pag-priority sa pagtulong sa pamilya na maiahon sa kahirapan,” she concluded.
("It was sheer hard work and perseverance. Success is attained not only through intelligence, but also through determination and making your family rise from poverty a priority.) – Rappler.com
Melvin C. Magsanoc is Teacher III at the Baguio City Division of the Cordillera Administrative Region.