A love of science from a young age can lead to exciting career paths possibly in medicine, chemical engineering, chemistry, astronomy, and many more. But a child often needs a guiding hand to lead her to this direction, and this is where teachers play a crucial role. That's why we have to profess admiration for science and research teacher Ma. Regaele A. Olarte.
We first learned of Teacher Regaele from the Metrobank Foundation, which annually recognizes the work of teachers. Teacher Regaele was one of 10 educators to receive the 2016 Outstanding Teacher award.
Working with the Department of Education, Teacher Regaele co-authored K to 12 learners’ modules and teachers’ guides for Grades 9 and 10 nationwide. She also served as writer for national achievement tests in Physics. And if that’s not enough to convince you, she’s also an inventor of several ingenious and highly practical tools and products.
The 32-year-old mom of two, who teaches grade 9 and 10 classes at Muntinlupa National High School, often encourages her students to use their newly acquired knowledge to come up with their own inventions. “It provides a practical and progressive learning experience for the students,” she told Smartparenting.com.ph.
Her students don't need to look far for a role model. Teacher Regaele herself is an inventor, and one of her works is “ashitaba powder.” It's used as a food seasoning but it also adds essential nutrients, like those found in vegetables, and can prolong the shelf life of rice. Teacher Regaele envisions her product as an aid to fight disease and conquer malnutrition in the near future especially for those in poverty-stricken communities.
Since there was sparse equipment in the school laboratory, Teacher Regaele designed her own version of a multipurpose alcohol stove. She uses ethanol, denatured alcohol, or rubbing alcohol, so it's safe, practical, economical, and environment-friendly, compared to the expensive and potentially dangerous LPG. The stove is multi-functional, with its built-in sliding pan, grill, and convertible oven.
Because her students get to use it often, the multipurpose alcohol stove design has had positive effects on her students. “They were amazed and were encouraged to work on their respective science inventions all the more,” she says.
Right now, Teacher Regaele is working on what she calls the “Sterile Rechargeable Electric Heating Spoon.” The spoon becomes a heating element so when you submerge it in a mug of water, it can quickly boil the liquid. This can be useful in times of natural disasters when clean water supply becomes scarce.
As a mom to Yoel, 5, and Yuri, 3, Teacher Regaele says the best way to encourage learning is by nurturing a child’s inquisitiveness. “We can lead our kids to lifelong learning by igniting their natural desire to explore and figure out things on their own,” she says. “It's important to determine what is capturing a child’s attention, or what skills he or she is trying to practice, and guide the child in exploring her strengths by giving her varied activities.”
Her own sons, she shares, love to play with every day house items like paper clips, fasteners or sticks, which they use to build bridges, buildings and cars. This simple activity already shows her sons’ potential, she adds. Constructing using tools and objects shows an interest in physics. It can also lead to career paths in engineering, architecture or even science and invention.
“We must go along with our children’s interests because it is where their imagination and creativity will work the most,” says Teacher Regaele.
A 2014 Outstanding Teacher of Muntinlupa City awardee, Teacher Regaele earned her Bachelor in Secondary Education degree from the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila and is currently finishing the requirements for her Master of Public Management at the University of the Philippines Open University.