Preserving Filipino values and morals through the incorporation of arts and culture in learning is Teacher Edgar Elago’s lifelong mission. The Music, Arts, Physical Education, and Health (MAPEH) and Araling Panlipunan teacher thought it prudent to instill cultural awareness among today’s youth in helping them become morally grounded and productive contributors to nation building.
Teacher Ed has been in service for 10 years but his passion to mitigate the country’s problems through education goes way back to his childhood, when he witnessed youngsters had a brush with the law: “I became a teacher because I really feel the call of vocation, and I believe the only thing that can change the problems our country is facing is inclusive education.”
In winning as one of the 2017 Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Filipinos, Teacher Ed found that an ordinary person like him can do something to reawaken the youth’s and the community’s interest in and love for local arts and culture, while inspiring other teachers and public servants.
The educator from Magallanes National High School in Agusan del Norte advocates arts and culture in and outside the classroom by developing culture-based and localized instructional materials, which impact greatly on the children’s learning aptitude and fellow teachers’ pedagogy.
According to Teacher Ed, through the action-research that he formulated, he is able to help other teachers address the need for innovative approach in instruction by providing them with relevant trainings and seminars. In turn, learners understood and retained lessons better, “upgraded their performance,” and enrollment in the performing arts increased.
“Teachers from different parts of the country were taught and trained how to develop culture-based lesson exemplars and modules, localized visual arts, culture-based song composition, folk/ethnic dances, and dance drama-theater arts,” Teacher Ed shared.
To facilitate lessons in several subject areas, teachers use instructional materials made with local resources, including textiles and artworks, and make reference to tangible and intangible heritage and cultural icons.
As with similarly dedicated educators, Teacher Ed’s penultimate dream is to see his students succeed, and hopefully, share the impact he made in their lives with others by becoming productive members of their communities. To help make this a reality, Teacher Ed takes a cut from his salary to help fund the studies of some of his learners.
“I need to sacrifice financially because I want to help my students in terms of going to school because I really believe that one needs to be educated to cope with the challenges of the world. I sacrificed not just my finances from my meager income, but also the comforts of living for my family to give way to other financial needs of my students,” he disclosed.
Recognizing the hard work of his comrades in education, Teacher Ed has these words: “To my fellow teachers who are performing more than what our job requires and face challenges in mentoring students, it is okay and kudos to you all. We know that these challenges are intertwined with our chosen path, but don’t forget to continue developing yourselves so that we can do more for the community and our students. More importantly, let’s pray without ceasing to God for guidance and protection.”