JTS Year 3:  Preparing our Future Teachers

The pursuit of applied knowledge and community service is at the heart of Juan to Serve, and it is a testament to GBF's commitment to nurturing the country's future servant leaders.

JTS Year 3:  Preparing our Future Teachers

The pursuit of applied knowledge and community service is at the heart of Juan to Serve, and it is a testament to GBF's commitment to nurturing the country's future servant leaders. 

Juan To Serve (JTS) is the servant-leadership program for scholars of the Gokongwei Brothers Foundation. On its third year, JTS focused on TeachSTEM scholars, education majors who are benefiting from GBF’s scholarships grants. JTS customized its program to equip and empower this cohort for the challenges they will be facing in the classroom.  

Last year, fifty (50) TeachSTEM scholars have undergone sessions on self-awareness to dig deep into their motivations to serve. They also discussed the challenges of the current education landscape, made real through school and community immersions.  

"Teachers are the roots of our educational system. They provide the foundation that students need to grow and thrive. They are the backbone of our society." -Mr. Lance Gokongwei 

In his warm and heartfelt welcoming speech, Mr. Lance Gokongwei extended a gracious greeting to the eager TeachSTEM scholars from different locations of the country. He emphasized GBF's unwavering commitment to education, and his delight in seeing the scholars embark on this transformative journey.  

"Together we can build a future where knowledge, empathy, and empowerment are valued in schools and communities everywhere." These words served as a rallying call, inspiring the two cohorts of TeachSTEM scholars to be catalysts for change and champions of a brighter, more inclusive future in education. 

JTS sessions are designed to empower the scholars with techniques and perspectives that will help them in their teaching journey. Mr. Tats Quiblat, Director of Ateneo Office of Student Activities led the self-discovery session for the scholars where he emphasized the profound potential of mindful teaching and a growth mindset in transforming the self and others. "I understand that you have chosen a profession that is very noble, very inspiring, but also...very difficult. However difficult the challenges you may face, never trade your purpose for what is immediate.”  

A session on empathy was led by Ms. Raquel Cabrieto and Hilary Ledesma of AHA! Learning Center where they gave the scholars an opportunity to engage in interactive games that stimulated real-life situations faced by today's Filipino students. "Being a new teacher, it is inevitable for you to make a mistake, because a mistake is part of learning". They talked about the importance of "shifting perspectives" as part of improving the skills of empathy. 

The scholars gained insights into the actual condition of the country’s public education system through the presentation of Ms. Justine Raagas, Executive Director of Philippine Business for Education. After the situationer, Teacher Sab Ongkiko, Master Teacher of Culiat Elementary School, together with two of her students, shared the challenges that most children encounter such as low self-esteem, bullying, competing tasks at home, low internet connectivity (during online class days) and the learning gap further widened by the pandemic. Their stories gave the scholars a more accurate peek into the life of a teacher. "As teachers, we need to constantly find ways for our students to learn and to consider their needs not just in the classroom but also outside of it."

The session concluded with previous GBF STEM Scholars who are currently teaching. They encouraged the current cohort of scholars to carry on despite the challenges.  "As a teacher, you are a beacon of hope, you will be the catalyst of change on what's happening in the community", Yul Villanueva, previous GBF TeachSTEM Scholar, summed up the session nicely.  

GBF continues to provide scholarships to support teachers in advancing their mastery not only of STEM but also of socio-emotional skills necessary to address the needs of their students. GBF believes that the holistic development of our teachers is key to impacting our education system.