Elementary teacher gives back to her students

One of the sweet surprises during a World Vision-initiated unlock literacy training for teachers in Mindanao was having one of its former sponsored children, as a participant.

“It’s always a joy to see our former sponsored children shine in their respective fields. These small children from years ago are now World Vision’s partners in ensuring that children are provided with quality education,” shares Manuel Lim, World Vision’s program manager in Misamis Occidental in Mindanao.

Lim was referring to teacher Leah, 23, who is one of the millions of teachers across the globe adjusting to new ways of teaching because of COVID-19.

“It has not been easy. I have to constantly find ways to help my students,” she shares.

Leah is handling kindergarten and Grade 1 students, most of whom are still unable to read and write well.

“Based on my initial assessment, only 20% of my kindergarten pupils are able to confidently recognize sounds and letters, which is understandable because they are just starting to learn the alphabet. In my Grade 1 class, over 70% are slow or cannot read at all. It would have been best if I could teach them face-to-face because this stage is really crucial for their learning, but I understand that their safety should always come first.”

“I can also attribute this slow development to poverty. While many of the parents would have loved to focus on teaching their children, they are torn between providing for their needs and making time for the students’ modules. Some of them did not complete elementary level, so they also struggle in helping their kids,” Leah adds.


A former World Vision sponsored child

“I feel for the children because my family used to be in their situation. I am thankful we didn’t experience being in the midst of a pandemic when I was younger, but, I know poverty,” she opens up.

Leah comes from a family of six. She is the youngest among four. Her father used to be a motorcycle driver while her mother used to work as a re-packer of corn starch.

“I remember our house then. It was made of wood. The roof, all iron sheets, were several years old that whenever it rained, water would leak inside. We only had one room for all six of us,” she recalls.

When she was 9 years old, she became part of World Vision’s sponsorship program.

“I’ve always looked forward to May and December because those months meant new school supplies and spaghetti. Coming from a poor family then, being gifted with these things and foods was a big deal to me,” she smiles.

Leah has always been an achiever. She was in the top 10 of her class when she finished elementary. She was salutatorian in high school, and, in college, she graduated as an academic awardee.

“Having a good support system while growing up motivated me. Not only did I have my family around, but, I also had World Vision helping me. My involvement in different workshops, summer camps and leadership training contributed to the confident person that I am now.”



Giving back

Now that Leah is in a position to help others, she wants to give it her best.

“Looking back, I think World Vision’s work to help every child live life to the full, was ingrained in me. I want to make a difference in my students’ lives, like how my sponsor did in mine.”

Every quarter, Leah assesses the progress of her students. She would do house visits and spend time with the children, especially those who are struggling in their modules.

“Whenever parents go to the school to pick up their children’s module, I’d check on my students. For students whose parents are mostly out for work or who do not have the capacity to teach their children, I’d schedule a one-on-one session. It takes a lot of my time but I do not want them to be left behind because of circumstances that are beyond their control,” Leah shares.

Leah also didn’t forget her family.

“My goal now is to slowly renovate our house, have more rooms so that my parents are able to rest well,” she smiles.

She also looks forward to taking up her master’s degree and doctorate degree  in the next years.