September marks the official start of the country's National Teachers' Month, which will culminate in October 5, both the Nations Teachers' Day and the World's Teachers' Day.
Whether gadgets and video games are good for our kids is still up to a debate until know. We know for sure, however, that technology is a double-edged sword--there are both advantages and disadvantages depending on its use. This teacher's story proves that when used appropriately, the digital age can be used to engage the students to learn.
Throughout the 11 years (and still counting!) of dedicating her life to teaching the next generation, Dr. Katherine Faith M. Bustos, a high school English teacher in Nueva Vizcaya General Comprehensive High School (NVGCHS) in the town of Bayombong, has proven that technology can be a partner in learning, rather than a hindrance.
Part of Dr. Bustos's advocacy is combining old school teaching skills with digital tools to better engaged the 21st century learner. She calls it the blended learning approach, which promotes the integration of online and face-to-face environments. In line with it, she pioneered the development of the NVGCHS's English Facebook page, which became an online venue where the teachers and kids continue subject topic discussions outside the four walls of a classroom. By bringing the learning in the social media platform, it lead to the student's better academic performance. The proud teacher also revels in her student's successes, as she regularly shared their work on her Facebook page.
Another one of her brilliant teacher-student programs is the Tuesday Reading Clinic, which helped assess the students' reading proficiency level and improve their reading skills. In the program, a key factor to its success is learning through the collaboration of other students. The students help each other improve their reading skills, which also help foster camaraderie. For the past six years, Dr. Bustos has also been spearheading the Mini English Language Clinic in eight sites across Nueva Vizcaya, wherein 20 grade school students receive remedial tutorials each year. These remedial classes are unique in that they also integrate socio-civic activities such as medical missions, feeding programs, and providing school supplies for kids.
"The essence of being a teacher is learning hand-in-hand with students, discovering new horizons together, and enjoying things while the camera keeps on capturing moments of life," says the high school teacher who is also a mom to two boys. By considering herself as a student in life, Dr. Bustos became an example that her students to look up to. Learning for her is a continuous process and is better shared with her students.
Dr. Bustos is currently helping the Department of Education (DepED) as a trainer for its computerization program, where she introduced the use of web-enhanced learning activities (WELA) to grade school and high school teachers to help them better adapt to the ever-changing world of technology and use it to their advantage. The program will help them design online treasure hunts and web quests that will, in turn, capture the interest of the students.
Honoring her part in the region's education programs, Dr. Bustos was recently given the title Most Outstanding Master Teacher I (Secondary) by the Schools Division of Nueva Vizcaya. She had also have a Master of Education major in Language, Reading, and Numeracy and Doctor of Education major in Educational Management degrees from the Nueva Vizcaya State University in her credentials and is now currently finishing her Master of Arts in Education degree major in Early Childhood Education at Aldersgate College.
Nueva Vizcaya Governor Carlos M. Padilla also thanked her for helping the next generation. "Your selfless dedication to the teaching profession as manifested in your remarkable accomplishments became instrumental in your garnering one of the 10 slots in the recently concluded search," Governor Padilla wrote in a letter to her, according to the Nueva Viscaya website. As one of the ten awardees of Metrobank Foundation, Inc.'s (MBFI) Most Outstanding Teachers this year, she said in an interview with CNN Philippines that the recognition inspires her more to continue her desire of training more teachers and share her teaching experiences with others.