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A salute to a Tayabas modern hero

by Kits F. Tabernilla

Tayabas City is a happy place for children. It may not be rich enough to treat its population the way other rich cities do. The happiness and peace that people here enjoy is something enviable.

Some children here don’t have the luxury of needed education that they deserve. Nevertheless, they help their families augment their income.

One Tayabense is not contented seeing these children being out of the school. She encouraged them to go to school.

This Tayabense is Mrs. Maria Gracia Rosas Naynes, 31, who has been an ALS Instructional Manager since 2006. Her life is a cycle of search and teach. She looks for children who are out of school and then takes them to the center where she teaches them to be productive and self-reliant.

She finds contentment and joy in her work with the children who would simply walk astray if not guided properly. In a way, she wants to and redirect to protect them.

“I believe that children are our future,” she said in quoting a popular song by Whitney Houston. “In my own little way, I want to be part of these children’s lives. I want to save them,” she continued.

“As ALS Instructional Manager, it is my responsibility to educate them. If I see children that are out of the school, I feel some pains in my heart. My conscience tells me to go and to help them” she said.

A graduate of BEED in 2003, she taught at Dominican Academy in Unisan, Quezon. It was here where she had an initial encounter with the children.  It was a training ground also for her two years of teaching. It was here where she found the meaning of her life with the children. “I felt they were all my children,” she said.

She started as volunteer teacher at Tayabas East Central School I and II from 2005-2006. It was painful leaving the children at Dominican Academy. However, she went back to her life again with the children when she worked at TECS.

Interesting to her was the literacy mapping where she looked for potential learners.

Her schedule has been very different from formal schooling. From January to October she teaches her ALS students at Pag-asa Community Learning Center in Lita Subdivision.

When her lessons with her students are done after 10 months, she would look for learners again. The fact that she frees her students from the clutches of poverty, vice and illiteracy makes her life fulfilled.

The ALS modes of teaching vary from person to person. There are instances when the IM allows his student to bring home the modules especially when the teacher finds out that his student is the breadwinner of the family. In cases when students drop from the class, the IM does child mapping to replace the students who did not attend anymore their classes.

There are many reasons why a student can’t attend ALS classes. Marriage is one dominating reasons. The youth now has other priorities. They have to work now for their families. Another reason is when a child has to help the family in the rice field.

Some parents are insensitive to their children’s needs. Some ask with mockery what their children would get from ALS. Some are afraid and suspect their children to be going somewhere instead of going to ALS.

In 2007, she suffered from stroke. This did not hinder her from working as ALS Manager.

In 2011, she passed the board exam. But she remained ALS teacher. She did not apply for a position in formal schools. She said ALS makes her happy.

Mrs. Naynes takes everything lightly. Her children have been giving her inspiration.

Tayabenses are very thankful they have the ALS teacher to take care of their children who cannot afford to attend formal schooling.

Mrs. Naynes is the modern heroine of Tayabas children.

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