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Ex-HK maid clicks as teacher with unique aid-raising tack for students

22 August 2020

By Vir B. Lumicao

Manlangit (left, in pink) with her fellow teachers facing new challenges because of the pandemic

A public high school teacher in Camarines Sur who used to be a domestic helper in Hong Kong has been making waves with her use of social media to mobilize netizen support for a lofty project.

Through sheer resourcefulness which many Hong Kong-based OFWs have honed during years of living by their wit, Grace Shiela P. Manlangit used Facebook to tap her online friends to enable her school to start printing self-learning modules for students.

The modules are packaged lessons in various subjects for the school year that every school has to print and deliver to students before the classes open. Manlangit says she and other teachers in her school need to produce some 200-page modules for about 800 students.
How to start printing the modules was a big question mark for the teachers of Tinawagan High School at the foot of Mount Isarog in Tigaon town, some 50 kilometers away from Naga City and about 430km south of Manila.

Manlangit led her co-teachers in launching on Facebook a crowd-funding with a twist, less than three weeks away from the originally scheduled opening of classes on Aug 24. It was a panic decision as there was no word about budget for the printing from the Department of Education.

On Aug 6, she posted an online appeal that read: “Ang magreact dito ay isang bayani. Tutal, napapanahon naman po ito, try ko rin po ito. Minsan lang po ito. Badly needed po ang reactions ninyo! Para po sa mga bata ito ng aming eskwelahan. Salamat po in advance!”
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The appeal’s principle is react and give, which Manlangit spelt out as: one “like” from the reader means he/she will donate one ream of A4 printing paper; one “heart” means 2 reams; one “laugh” equals 2 Epson ink cartridges of any color; one “wow” equals a bottle of hand sanitizer, face masks and face shield, etc., and a “share” means a printer donation.

“Seryoso po ito. Kailangan lang po. Ang inyo pong donasyon ay mapapakinabangan ng mga mag-aaral ng Tinawagan National High School,” Manlangit said.

By Aug 9, a friend had donated an Epson printer. Many other friends of the English teacher from various places including Hong Kong donated cash to buy reams of printing paper, alcohol, sanitizers, masks and face shields. Only printing ink was lacking by then.
Bounty from Manlangit's online fund-raising scheme for modular teaching 
Manlangit, a member of the National Organization of Professional Teachers  Hong Kong who in October 2016 went home for good to teach in her province, said she was overwhelmed by the response. On Aug 21, a friend sent her some more stuff.
“It rocks that I have such a supportive family and friends. Your kindness is immensely appreciated. God bless you all!” she exclaimed in a post with a photo of the printer and boxes of A4 paper.

She admitted she was ashamed to raise the flag for donations but said she had to overcome her shyness for the sake of the students. The DepEd bans soliciting from parents, she said. “Nahihiya man ako, kinapalan ko na ang mukha ko,” she said.

Manlangit said there would be no face to face instruction as long as the coronavirus crisis is not over, so, modular learning intuition would be used for this school year.


She was elated at the moving of the school opening to Oct 5. She said it’s just right because she and her co-teachers have yet to complete printing their modules.

The Tinawagan High School principal explained in a video DepEd’s social distancing modality in delivering education to the students.

First of these is the self-learning module, which entails packing the lessons for all subjects into seven modules.

Each module will be good for one week’s learning, the principal said. He explained that a quarter’s lessons are contained in each module. The modules will be distributed to the students, who will return them at the end of week to designated collections points.

Another modality is online instruction where a teacher imparts his lessons to his students via the internet using the same printed modules.
 
Some of the happy recipients of the online donation from Manlangit's family and friends

A teacher like Manlangit who loves her profession doesn’t mind the demands of her job.  

Her daily routine starts when she wakes up at 3:30am to prepare breakfast and the lunch boxes of her two sons. By 5am, she walks to the tricycle stand for a ride to the central transport terminal in Naga City where she takes a bus to Tigaon, traveling over an hour.


In Tigaon, she shifts to a “habal-habal,” or tandem-riding on a motorcycle, to Tinawagan, the location of her school. Arriving there at 6:30am, Manlangit prepares for her first class at 7:10 am. Then she has four more classes to handle before dismissal at 4:30pm.

“That’s the time for me to relax and sleep on the bus,” she said. “Home sweet home.”

Nearly 4 years on as a fulltime English teacher handling Grade 8 to Second Year classes, Manlangit says she considers student discipline as her biggest challenge. But she has managed to handle them with tact.

In spite of the early difficulties she faced,such as dealing with different student or teacher personalities, she has fallen in love with teaching that she vows not to trade it for another stint as an OFW. Besides, she doesn’t want to leave her two sons again.

For Manlangit, going back home is the best decision she has ever made in life.
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