Sitting behind her desk at the Department of Education Region IV-A Office, Agnes Rolle beamed as if she was right at home. The Chief of the Field and Technical Assistance Division’s smile was warm as she greeted her guests and colleagues. Her face, soft and aged yet her eyes held strength. Her words had force and wisdom, evidence that she has experienced a lot.

Rolle recently received a Loyalty Award for serving the Department of Education for 40 years. An outstanding feat, considering that when she was in college, she wanted to be a social worker and was already in her first semester in getting a degree in Bachelor of Science in Psychology. It was her adoptive mother who decided to enroll her in the Immaculate Conception College to become a teacher.

Securing a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education with Specialization in English in 1976 and becoming a multigrade teacher in the Division of Marinduque in the same year was the start of what she calls a journey of continues learning. That even at her current age, she continues to gain new experiences and knowledge.

“Ang akala ko alam ko na lahat. Hindi pa pala. Lagi kang may natutunan sa bawat sitwasyon. At sa bawat tao na iyong makakausap, may mga bagay ka na mapupulot,” she explained.

Her experienced as a multigrade teacher taught her how to manage her work, time, and the people around her.

When she was a Head Teacher at Pinggan Elementary School in Marinduque in 1996, Rolle recalled that she was very strict and wanted to make sure that every thing she wanted was in order. But being surrounded by different people changed her perspective. She found ways and means to easily communicate and interact with her teachers.

“You mix with people. You mix with the community. So you learn from them and grow from them,” she added.

For over 30 years, she was surrounded by the people of Marinduque. Come 2008, she was welcomed to “an upcoming modern kind of region” that is CALABARZON. A new set of people and a new set of learning awaited her in the regional office.

She has witnessed four regional directors’ leadership style and from all of them she learned a little something.

“Sa iba-ibang puno, may ibang style. Meron silang katangian na pwede mong gamitin pag-leader ka,” she explained.

According to Rolle, Dr. George R. Garma was relaxed and a people person. Dr. Paraluman Giron wanted her people to grow and learn a lot. Dr. Lorna Dino focused on developing the RO officials and employees’ leadership skills. While current Regional Director Diosdado San Antonio is strengthening the region’s research capabilities and the advocacy of TEA Governance.

All of the things she has learned in her 40 years have made a difference and impact to her life. She explained that even if you don’t know yet where to apply these lessons, there would be chances when you can finally make use of them.

A journey towards retirement

However, right now, she’s also in journey towards retirement. At first, she was having difficulty in imagining leaving the educational field as she has been committed and enjoying this job for a long time.

“Parang ang hirap tanggapin na magreretire ka na. Nasasaktan ako na parang tapos na ako. Parang ba useless na ako,” she expressed.

But she has come to terms with herself and is planning to retire by 2019.  When asked what changed her mind, she simply answered, “there is no other alternative but to get out.”

She added though that she still might venture in the educational field as a consultant. Her family, however, wants her to rest and stay in the United States for a while. One of her kids is planning to set-up a business and Rolle also plans in helping.

A legacy journey

Rolle continued that in her over 40 years of service, knowing that she has left a legacy and imparted her knowledge to others brought her one step closer to accepting her retirement.

She recalled a student who had difficulty in studying. She pushed this student to be better and is now an engineer. Or a student who had told Rolle that she was inspired to teach because of her.

She cites this as her greatest achievement. Seeing the people she has taught whether they are her students, her colleagues, the people under her supervision go through a tremendous transformation because of her has continuously brought her immense joy.

The FTAD Chief drew from this experience and feeling to advise all those working under DepEd to do the same.

“If you are an educator, you do not only lead by example but you also lead with a mind and a heart for the Glory of God. Hindi sapat na ginagawa mo. Dapat nasa isip mo, nasa puso, ginagawa mo. Live and savor the beauty that it is being an educator.” (Ma. Joan Paula Dino, PAU)