Being a teacher goes beyond just practicing the profession in the four corners of the classroom. It also means fulfilling a role as a second parent to students, helping and guiding them even in matters not taught in schoolbooks. In the January 9 episode of Paano Kita Mapasasalamatan, a Sorsogon teacher selflessly extended her duties as an academic mentor and became a compassionate humanitarian for needy students and the elderly.
Michelle Rubio is only one of thousands of teachers in the country who has been challenged by the new normal learning mode. But despite the situation, the compassion and care that she has for her students still remain. In fact, she gave face shields and food packs to the families of her students. Moreover, she set up this “pinkdemic corners,” which serve as a mini library for her students. Children who live in the mountains are able to borrow reading materials from this mini library. Michelle comes from a family of teachers, which is why she really loves to serve others. She chose to teach in a public school because she herself was also a graduate of a government learning institution. She thought she can be able to help the students more, especially the indigent learners.
Education is definitely one of the things that teacher Michelle values the most because once in her life, she almost lost her chance to finish her studies. It was when she got into a severe jeepney accident, which caused an enlargement of her heart. The doctor told her that she needed to push back her high school studies to fully recover. Michelle didn’t have a choice, but with persistence and hard work, she was able to graduate.
One of the students helped by teacher Michelle was Manuel “Buboy” Dorado Jr. He’s not actually a student of Michelle but he went to the same school where she was teaching. She shared that she would always see Manuel sitting outside of the classroom. She found out that Manuel’s classmates had been bullying him because of the inflammation and fluid accumulation in his ear called “Otitis Media.” Michelle then decided to just have him under her class. Because she was very concerned about Manuel, Michelle had him checked by a doctor. Because of her care for her student, Manuel felt loved by the people around him including his classmates. However, an accident that happened to Manuel would greatly affect him. His leg was seriously damaged and he needed to undergo an operation. Michelle paid all the expenses for his hospitalization, including the surgery. However, just when they all thought that he was going to be okay again, Manuel was diagnosed to have chronic kidney failure. Even though Michelle gave Manuel and his family moral and financial support, especially with the hospitalization expenses, the boy succumbed to his illness.
Teacher Michelle’s compassion for other people truly went beyond the school. She was able to help not only her students, but also the elderly including Calixto “Lolo Quito” Escario. Michelle set up the Pink Seniors Pangkabuhayan, a livelihood program for senior citizens and the elderly, and Michelle chose Lolo Quito as its president. She helped the organization in establishing a rice retailing business for the elderly to earn much needed income. Moreover, Michelle decided to bring Lolo Quito to the hospital to treat his leg problem. She also covered all the medical expenses. Through Michelle, Lolo Quito was also able to rekindle his relationship with his son. Eventually, he was able to reunite with his family.
Another student Michelle aided was Janive Estabaya. Janive and her family were living in Manila before they were forced to fly to Sorsogon. At first, both Janive’s parents were working for them, but when her father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, her mom became the breadwinner. Janive, together with her father and siblings flew to Sorsogon while her mother stayed in Manila to work. However, later on, Janive’s cousin told her that her mother was already having an affair with someone else in Manila. Since then, her mother also stopped giving them money. The situation became really difficult especially for Janive and her siblings because they needed to work in order to survive. Her brother took over the responsibility of providing for their family and so that they can take care of their sick father. Their situation worsened when the pandemic began and Typhoon Tisoy destroyed their home. They temporarily stayed at their relative’s house.
But when Michelle knew about their situation, she decided to help them by giving them relief goods and everyday necessities. She even provided medicine for Janive’s father. It didn’t stop there as Michelle assisted Janive and her family to have a new place to live. Michelle asked help from the community to construct their new home. Since then, she has been looking after the family. Janive is currently staying at Michelle’s house so she can focus on her online classes.
Paano Kita Mapasasalamatan airs Saturdays on the Kapamilya Channel, Kapamilya Online Live, and A2Z Channel 11.