In time with World Teachers’ Day celebration, we have here a Filipino teacher teaching abroad as our special guest. With his courage and kindness, he was able to achieve his dream of broadening horizons, and now a passionate ESL teacher in Mongolia.
- How long have you been teaching abroad?
I’ve been teaching abroad for almost 2 years. Technically, I’m here for a year and 8 months now.
What made you decide to leave the Philippines and look for greener pasture?
It was my desire to explore more about life, and challenge myself further as to what else can I do other than teaching under the DepED umbrella that made me decide to work abroad. I thought that my professional growth would have been limited if I continued to stay in the hinterland schools of the Division of Bukidnon.
What, to you, must be prerequisites in going abroad?
In going abroad, I consider having a brave heart, strong mind, and English communication competence as pre-requisites for one who aims to work overseas. A brave heart would counter homesickness; a strong mind would keep you focused in what you do and on your duties; and English competence would make you employable person internationally.
How did you adjust to foreign land? Students? Culture? What challenges did you face?
Adjusting to foreign land, students, and culture is a matter of positive attitude and flexibility. We, Filipinos, are known to be optimistic and well-mannered. So adjustment in both the physical and social environment has not become such a total barrier. Nevertheless, I faced more challenges on coping with language differences. Living in a community that speaks strange language to you was hard especially that even in English the people couldn’t communicate intelligibly.
Compared to your workload, income and fulfillment-wise in the Philippines to the one you’re having in Mongolia, what would you say?
Here in Mongolia, I only teach 21 hours a week with additional 2 hours for club moderatorship. As to income, I just earn a little higher than the current Master Teacher 1 rate (Salary Grade 18). And fulfillment-wise, I feel more fulfilled here because I could maximize my teaching skills in English language teaching compared to my experience back then in the Philippines.
Was it hard, the adjustment? Why do you think so?
For me, adjustment wasn’t hard at all maybe because of my personality. I am too flexible brought by having been well-exposed socially even during my student leadership to employment years. Perhaps, it was hard at the first three (3) weeks due to language barrier.
As a foreign teacher, how do you share your own culture to your colleagues and students alike?
I show Filipino values and traits all the time such as: politeness, being hygienic, inclined to music, the virtue of patience, diligence, punctuality, and thoughtfulness. I believe that in those simple ways I was able to share the Filipino culture to my colleagues and students, as well.
What would you tell a kababayan who is planning to try his/her luck teaching abroad?
To all my kababayan who want to work overseas, think a number of times before making up your mind. Consult your loved ones and retrospect whether or not leaving the Philippines is worth a go.
World Teachers Month is September, right? How do you celebrate, and with whom?
We also do have world teachers’ celebration here similar with what we do in the Philippines like having big gatherings and stage performances, parties, and card/gift giving. All teachers in the country do hold varied activities in their respective localities, schools, offices and the like.
Parting shot to all Filipino teachers around.
To all Filipino teachers all over the world, HAVE A BLASTFUL AND MEANINGFUL HAPPY TEACHERS’ DAY! Be proud that you are one because our life is our legacy to the next generations. Mabuhay tayong mga guro!
Teacher Alfred B. Caamino, Jr., 32, a licensed teacher for more than 11 years now. He left serving in the Department of Education with the designation of Master Teacher 1 in the District of Talakag III, Bukidnon Division in pursuit for further professional growth overseas. He found his luck in Mongolia as an ESL teacher at Darkhan Empathy School (S.Y. 2018-2019), and teaching at Terelj Boarding School (S.Y. 2019-2020) with the same position. Also, he works part-time as an IELTS Trainer in EDX School, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. He finished Bachelor in Elementary Education with concentration in English, cum laude, and Master of Arts in Education major in Educational Administration, with special distinction in research. Due to overseas employment, he ended up earning 12 units for his degree in Doctor of Philosophy major in Educational Management.