The Olongapo teacher who goes the extra mile for her students
There are no impossibilities for Eva Balbas Imingan, 41-year-old master teacher II at Barreto II Elementary School in Olongapo, and one of this year’s Metrobank Outstanding Teachers.
From childhood, Eva and her four siblings had been taught by their mother to work hard for whatever they want, even if poverty got in the way most of the time.
Thus, the siblings had to sell rice cakes and pancit noodles that their mother cooked to townsfolk in their barrio in Tumauini, Isabela. The money earned was used to pay for school supplies
and other needs.
To make their parents even prouder, the children strived hard to excel in school. They all earned scholarships which their mother only learned after the children graduated from high school. These little successes all the more made them determined to finish their college education.
THE TEACHER WHO IMPROVISES
It had always been Eva’s dream to be a teacher, not because it was the only course in college that she could afford, but of the mission she felt she was destined to fulfill.
“Nothing can compare to the fulfillment of being a teacher and being able to touch people’s lives. It’s a very noble profession. Maski nakatsinelas ka lang, pag alam nila teacher ka, lahat mag gu-good morning sa yo kahit attorney pa yan. It’s an honor to be one of the well-respected teachers in the community,” says Eva, an English teacher and also the district’s English and Reading coordinator.
In her 20 years of service, Eva made it her mission to be not just a good teacher but also a staunch advocate of a campaign to promote love for reading among children.
“When the Department of Education launched their Every Child a Reader Program three years ago, I was inspired to adopt it not only for the grade 3 level pupils but in my entire school. I brought reading materials and even introduced love for reading in the Grade 1 students who were still learning how to read. I even expanded the program to include reading in Filipino,” relates Teacher Eva.
Using funds from her own pocket, she developed improvised teaching devises such as the Reading Remediation Series to help schoolchildren improve their reading skills.
These include short story books which come complete with illustrations and in different font sizes to cater to the different reading ability levels of the children. The slow readers will first have to train reading with bigger fonts and later on advance to the smaller fonts when they have already improved their reading skills.
Eva also built a one-room Extensive Reading Center in their school which later on earned for them the “Best School Award in Reading” in 2007. She solicited books from friends, parents, pupils and local officials for the library.
To complement this, Eva initiated programs like the Read-Along Sessions and Brother/Sister Reading Remedial Program, where she taps parents, student officers and community leaders to come to class and read to the students.
“Pinatawag ko parents of my pupils to read with their child once a week sa aking class. Sa bahay wala man silang time, pero sa school I make sure na makakapag bonding sila with their child by sitting down with them once a week to read. Community leaders, on the other hand, even bring food when it’s their turn to read kaya nagiging feeding program na din. Tuwang-tuwa ang mga bata,” she says.
For teachers, Eva conducts in-service training for the improvement of their language and reading instruction. She also invites professors from top schools in Manila to give talks to the teachers in her area.
Seeing her accomplishments, DepEd hired Eva to be one of the authors and reviewer of the nationwide Teacher’s Lesson Guide for English for Grades 3 and 4. She was also recently
asked to join the Ateneo Center for Development (ACED) as one of its teacher trainors.
Prior to her winning the Metrobank award, Eva has already been a recipient of several citations such as the Division Outstanding Master Teacher, Division Outstanding Reading Teacher, and a Community Service Award.
Yet more than the awards, respect and achievements, Eva still yearns to excel in one more field — that is to be the best mother to her three children.
“I’m very passionate when it comes to my profession and family. I really set goals for myself and work hard to achieve it. It doesn’t matter kung kelangan ko maglabas ng sariling pera ko just to go the extra mile for my students. Ang gabi ginagawa kong araw just to do the reports at madalas wala ako sa bahay for weeks during trainings. Kaya lagi ko tuloy naiiwan ang mga anak ko. But I’m very lucky to have a supportive and understanding husband and children. Kung hindi dahil sa kanila, I cannot accomplish all these things. Kaya sabi ko sa mga anak ko, nakuha ko na itong outstanding teacher award, gusto ko naman maging outstanding mother!” concludes Teacher Eva. By RACHEL C. BARAWID - Manila Bulletin