Education is one of three areas of focus for the South East Asia Regional Team. Along with Youth Empowerment and Maternal Health, several of our personnel in the Philippines teach in one or more venues within a two mile radius of Tahanan. I recently spoke with Irish Dagami, who graduated from Leyte Normal University with a degree in teaching, about how she is putting not only her college education into practice but also the Word of God. The following interview highlights Lighthouse Preschool, Baras Elementary School, and the Tahanan Program for Assisted Studies (P.A.S.).
Could you tell us a little bit about each of the schools where you serve?
“Most of the kids at Lighthouse Preschool are 3-4 years old so I expect them to be hyper and playful. Our team needs all our energy! Some kids are shy, have short attention spans, or miss their parents. Despite these challenges they are sweet and apply what they are taught, if we teach it consistently to them.”
At Baras Elementary, Irish regularly tutors remedial students and serves as a substitute teacher. She communicated that the students at Baras are less dependent than the children at Lighthouse but require more structure. “I am more strict with them and impose rules and expectations that they need to follow, and they respond well to working in groups with me.”
“At P.A.S. I feel like an older sister to the students because I assist them or advise them on their studies. They already know what they are doing so I am just on the side for when they need me. The P.A.S. students really respect me and many are already mature in this age.”
How have you applied your education in these venues?
“At Lighthouse, I apply the art of teaching. I know that young kids are easily distracted so I make sure that I have a lot of activities and teaching strategies that will catch their attention and make learning fun.”
“At Baras the pupils are older, so I try to be a well-rounded teacher. I am not only concerned with their academic skills; I also expect them to behave properly, to interact well with the people that surround them, and to work hard to achieve their goals. I have diverse learners with different learning styles and intelligences. I use a variety of strategies that will cater to their needs. Lastly, at P.A.S., I apply creativity and make sure that our activities will be fun so they will enhance the specific skills they want to develop.”
How have you applied your biblical education in these three educational venues?
“The kids at Lighthouse provide different challenges, sometimes…they will cry… they will run outside… while you are in the middle of your teaching!” Irish said the fruits of the spirit is a prerequisite to working with children that age! “I’ve learned that God loves children. He even said, ‘What you do to the least of these is what you do to me.’ Knowing that helps grow my passion more and more in teaching.”
“I want the pupils at Baras to be educated and wise so that they have good opportunities in life. The Bible also helps me to know how to stand for what is right and beneficial for the student. At P.A.S., I coordinate with them and make sure that they are building good relationships with one another and try my best to model for them how they can become good students.”
Irish is an example of how obedience to God’s calling provides an opportunity to employ educational skills in service to the Lord, and how continued learning of the Bible amplifies those skills to benefit others. We are blessed to be surrounded with opportunities to meet practical needs of students in our Palo community. I ask that you join us in prayer, both for Irish as she works in these environments daily and for her students. Many of the educational needs in the Philippines require more than just a college education and good job placement. It is our hope that Irish and others working alongside her inspire more teachers to give of themselves to see their own neighborhoods develop.
Click the button below to learn more about Tahanan’s Program for Assisted Studies.