Friday, March 24, 2023

Choosing to give a voice amidst the silence

“In the early years of my life as a three year old, awareness of how hard life is became a part of my growing up. I grew up with a mindset that whatever happens, I will not abandon my studies. Sensing my determination, my mother earned a living by washing and ironing clothes of our neighbors. I came to realize my mom had to wash and press thousands and thousands of clothes so I could finish my studies. But I did not pity myself. Instead, I kept a strong determination to battle on and promised my mother that she will not grow old and die as a laundry woman. Giving up or surrendering wasn’t in my vocabulary. The strong heart of my mother was passed on to me as she was my inspiration to strive to get us out of the predicament we were in. When I was in fourth year high school, I was deep in thought of what to do to support my college education.  Then, God in all His goodness, stepped in again. The Guidance Office in our school announced that the SM Foundation was offering scholarships for qualified students. I knew at that very moment that He was with me. All I had to do is to apply for the scholarship. Looking back, the retreats, monthly meetings and being able to work in SM as an employee, followed up by our project director boosted my self-esteem and opened my world to service. Since day one of my college days, I aimed to be a public-school teacher. I am happy with my work now as a High School Teacher for Deaf learners. I am so privileged that I am in this community and my heart is entwined with my students. I am not ashamed to tell my colleagues that I had a humble beginning and I thank SM Foundation for putting me where I am now. I owe these blessings to SM, Henry “Tatang” Sy, SM Foundation, Ma’am Nilda Bernaldez, and my fellow SM-Scholars, most especially, my mother. They are all the instruments to why I chose to give back to a special community and dedicate my life to being an effective SPED teacher.” ~Rosalie Macaspac, SM Researcher Alumna

Teaching encompasses service, vocation, and life's purpose, transcending occupations and professions.

Millions of Filipino teachers who serve as students' second mothers demonstrate this day and night. One of them is Rosalie Macaspac, a SM researcher alumna who decided to seek after a lifelong in a custom curriculum (SPED).

Life’s work
A less well-traveled route is to choose to teach, and especially to pursue SPED. Only about 4,000 of the over 800,000 public school teachers are in SPED, and Rosalie is one of the few who chose this route. The SM scholar alumna has been teaching SPED students her entire life for the past 21 years. By advocating for the well-being of deaf students, she wanted to empower special children and give them a voice.

She pursued graduate studies in special education and Filipino sign language at the Philippine National University and De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde, respectively, with a great deal of dedication and determination to acquire the necessary skills for her students.

She is currently a teacher at the Philippine School for the Deaf in Pasay, which is the only deaf school in the country that is owned by the government. She was in charge of the deaf students' numeracy skills training program here.

Embedding grit, greatness
It wasn't easy for her to become an educator. When she was three years old, her parents divorced, and her mother became the primary breadwinner.

When her mother spent half a year in bed, the weight on their shoulders got heavier. It actually increased her speed rather than decreasing her. She proceeded with her examinations with much assurance. They were able to survive with the assistance of her uncle, the Missionaries of Charity, and the puto bigas she sold.

She completed elementary school with passing marks, and was a reliable honor understudy in secondary school, notwithstanding having one centavo remittance and rice and espresso as dinners. With great standing, she had her psyche put forth on her next objective: setting off for college.

Rosalie Macaspac (left) interprets the contents of the program for her students.

She distinctly recalls submitting her application for the SM College Scholarship program at the SM Customer Service in Quiapo and learning on May 9, 1995, that she would be interviewed for the scholarship in MSE Building, room 214. Since then, the three-digit number has stuck with her forever. Macaspac was one of the SM scholars who had begun their college education as part of the scholarship program by June 1995.

She claims that the scholarship made her a more complete person. It set her on the path to success and provided the key to achieving her goals. She will always remember the SM Foundation's events, like the students' assembly, orientation, leadership training, sports festival, and annual retreat.

Rosalie at the Philippine School for the Deaf

Prior to educating, she originally filled in as a Product and Arranging Control-Representative at the SM Administrative center, which was then situated in Calle Echague, Manila. Following graduation from college, she got a job.

Working in DepEd has always been her dream, and she is proud of where she is today.

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