Alumni Success Stories
Clarisse Villanueva Muyco, more popularly known as “Claire” to her family and friends was born in Antipolo, Rizal, but shortly after she finished high school in Manila she went home to Negros for college. Claire grew up in a broken family. She lived only with her siblings and mother. At a very young age, Claire knew she needed to help her mother in providing for their family. Unfortunately, due tofinancial constraints she wasn’t able to proceed to college right away. After a year off from school, she decided to study in CHMSC-Talisay and took up BSEd-English. She was a student aid of the NSTP office during her college days. After finishing their thesis in her third year, she worked as an online English teacher in Bacolod up until she finished her LET. She graduated in 2015 then took and passed LET in the same year. Claire learned and gained a lot of experiences from CHMSC. Though she may not have been a top student, CHMSC taught her that she can excel in other things. From being a one-year ROTC officer during her NSTP, to a student aid for the NSTP office and also joining research competitions in her third-year of college, Claire became rich in experience and learnings. She learned that excellence is doing your best and going beyond borders to achieve more. You can excel in anything, as long as you put your heart into it.
During the time she wasn't studying, she often read books at home. Then it so happened that her favorite authors were teachers. Claire got inspired by them and the way they talk about teaching. Hence, she told herself, why not be a teacher? To add to that, she always heard of CHMSC's good reputation as a Teacher Education Institution. Before she started college, she wanted to be a journalist or a field researcher for documentaries because she wanted to inspire people. It was a general dream of wanting to inspire. No specificities of why or who she wanted to inspire.
One day, while she was looking for a teaching job, Claire came across Teach for the Philippines. Reading about their mission, stories and how the teachers contribute to the students’ lives, it ignited the fire that was long kept unlit within her. She doubted herself for a second because they seem really big for her and she thought she didn't have any accomplishments to share; Claire wasn't a member of any organization nor was a top student, but she still tried her luck. The process wasn't easy though she understood the rigorous process because TFP really wants to make sure that you understand the work that you are applying for and that you really have the heart not just for teaching, but for serving the community as well. They do not recruit teachers or education graduates only, they look for professionals of other fields because they believe that education is everyone's responsibility. TFP needs to build a network of education advocates; it shouldn’t only be teachers that help the quality of education to improve. Initially, she didn't expect to pass the applications and even the Summer Institute Training because she did not have confidence in herself but TFP believed in her. Claire chose to become part of Teach for the Philippines because the work they do is not just love for teaching, but it's love for the nation and for the Filipino children. It has always been and will always be "para sa bata” at “para sa bayan" (for the children and for the nation).
Right now, Claire is teaching in Pamurayan Integrated School in Sorsogon City, Sorsogon as a teacher fellow for Teach for the Philippines. She never realized that she would find joy in the work that she does. She wanted to inspire people but now she is the one who is inspired by her students every day. Their stories and their simple smiles whenever they call her name reminds her of how blessed she is to be where she is now. She has chosen this path to hear more stories, be inspired every day, and to make a change by doing what she can do best—to teach.
Claire makes it look like teaching is an easy job but she acknowledged that every day is a challenge for her. She faces 40 different learners everyday who have varying needs not just in terms of knowledge, but with basic and emotional needs as well. The biggest challenge she faces every day is how to be the teacher these students need. Claire continued to ask herself, "How can I make learning fun for them so that they will learn to love it?”. Every day she prepares different lesson plans and each lesson needs to be contextualized, relevant, yet at the same time, fun for the children. As a teacher, she learned how to be creative and resourceful because learning should not just be fun, but the students need to know the purpose and relevance of what you are teaching in their lives for them to realize they need it. Knowing that whatever she is doing—and will do—will affect the lives of those children, it motivates her to do the best that she can in teaching. “This is what I can do now for them, might as well do my best in it,” Claire added.
In Teach for the Philippines, they have what they call "wins". May small wins and big wins. People often mistake "success" as something that is only big and great. However, success is simply being able to achieve your goals, be it big or small. It is the fruit of our hard work and commitment to what we are doing. She discloses, “In my classroom, seeing that my students are enjoying the learning, that's already a success for me, because that is one of my goals to begin with. What I believe in is that success is not an "ending”. Success is more on continuing to progress on your achievements. Success is seeing your passion in action”.
Taking it from her experience, the best advice Claire can offer is to be patient. We may grow impatient with time and opportunities but no matter how long they take --- years or even longer, it will be given to us, sometimes not just in the form of that we expect. Along with being patient, remember that whatever we are doing right now will greatly influence our future so never forget to continue moving forward with our passion. Don’t wait for opportunities to come, do something about them as well because passion without action is not passion at all.