Ready to leave my mark

Angel Marie Ysik

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One of my greatest dreams is to build my own school for the underprivileged children in our province because I know that behind those innocent eyes, they too have dreams.

Angel YsikThe schools we have attended and the experiences we had may be different but all 53 of us among the 2013 Teach for the Philippines cohort share one thing in common. Our goal is to hone productive individuals who will contribute to the total realization of change and development of our country for it to become progressive.

I grew up in an urban community in Sultan Kudarat Province and like many other urban places, poverty is prevalent. During my younger years, I saw first-hand how poverty struck our community because of illiteracy.

A few wanted to pursue their education hoping that one day, they would land a job and uplift their families’ economic status. But the rest, due to limited opportunities, settled on becoming a farmer or laborer for the rest of their lives. And what really made me feel angry about this reality is that this has become an inter-generational problem.

What experiences they had will be passed on to their children — quitting school, bearing children at a very young age and the scenario continues. This results in a community of underprivileged children.

I know that it may seem so dramatic, but it is the reality. And only when reality strikes can we be more responsive.

Believing in education

POWER OF EDUCATION. On her first day of teaching, Angel Ysik teaches her students the values needed to succeed. Photo by Louie Arcilla.

When I entered college, I decided to work toward a degree in education, having in mind that by becoming a teacher, I can make a difference in my community.

One of my greatest dreams is to build my own school for the underprivileged children in our province because I know that behind those innocent eyes, they too have dreams. And those dreams can turn into reality when they are educated and skillful enough to face the challenges of the world.

I joined SIFE (Students in Free Enterprise) in college and I am thankful because, through it, I was able to start projects to empower community members, farmers, youth and children in different communities in our province. Though this advocacy seemed unrelated to my degree, it enabled me to reach out to other people’s needs by teaching them livelihood initiatives of our organization. Together with the members of the organization, we had implemented projects for the environment, livelihood and education.

Whenever I read quotations and speeches about education from great leaders both in education and other fields, I am impressed and hopeful for our country. But then, when I look back and see where we are right now in terms of our country’s educational standard, I must say we need to achieve education reform if we want to use education as a tool to achieve development.

We need to end educational inequity and start investing for the future of the nation. We can start it by giving the quality education that all children deserve. As the saying goes, “An education without compromises; an education that involves the totality of a person’s possibilities; and education that is inclusive, relevant and excellent.”

Giving back

I am a proud product of the public school system and it is now my turn to give back. It’s now my turn to help children realize their own dreams and prepare them to achieve them.

I know that as I journey to the world of teaching with my co-fellows, I will face many challenges such as piloting the K-12 curriculum, implementing effective classroom management strategies, planning lessons that are relevant and meaningful for students’ learning and increasing the Mean Percentage Score (MPS) of the school for the National Achievement Test.

More than these, however, I am challenged to be a model, team champion, coach and leader inside and outside of my classroom. The challenge of becoming a transformative teacher is just around the corner.

For now, all I can say is that I am ready for the school year. God blessed me to become a part of the pioneer cohort of Teach for the Philippines so I will see to it that I maximize and apply the learning experiences that I have earned from the two-month Summer Institute.

I commit myself to teach Filipino children. I am ready to leave my mark! –

Angel Marie Ysik is a fellow for “Teach for the Philippines.” At present, she teaches Grade 3 children in Krus Na Ligas Elementary School.


Profile photo credit: Jay Yao

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