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Michael Mercado

As a teacher, I am ecstatic about my students' future prospects. I am also excited to see how things would turn out for them since I am a living example of overcoming challenges. All I want for them to do now is to finish their studies, assist their families, and give back to their communities.

What is your job about?

I’m a regular faculty member at the University of the East - Manila. I teach students from the Basic Education Department as well as the college level. Some of the subjects that I handle include Music, Arts, PE, Health, Psychological Aspects of Sports and Exercise, Safety Education and First Aid, History of Arts, Teaching Music in the K to 12 Curriculum, Teaching PE and Health in the Elementary Grades, Visual and Performing Arts, as well as National Service Training Program (NSTP).

What is your background?

I was born into a humble family and grew up with many big dreams. With the help of the Payumo Scholarship Foundation and the University of the East College of Education, I was able to attend college. I studied and worked hard enough to maintain either a university or a college scholarship. Thus, I was able to complete my Bachelor’s Degree in Secondary Education Major in Music, Arts, PE, and Health. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to pass the Licensure Examination for Teachers on my first attempt, so I started working as an office clerk in the College of Education at the University of the East. With perseverance and resilience, I was able to eventually pass the board exam. Currently, aside from being a regular faculty member of UE, I am also taking up my doctorate degree in Educational Administration at the same university.

Could someone with a different background do your job?

Of course. There are a lot of people taking up Certificate in Professional Education who are able to teach. As long as they are dedicated and have the passion to touch lives, they will surely be able to teach effectively. However, the level of the students also determines the educational background of the teachers. For example, to teach in the basic education, they need to be licensed while at the tertiary level, they need to have at least a master’s degree. I will reiterate though that aspiring teachers may come from different backgrounds but may be able to teach as long as they earn the certification.

What should I do to succeed?

It’s not really about what you need to do, but more on what you ought to have. You should possess determination and dedication to accomplish whatever you need to. You have to love your job since many people dream of being in your position. As a teacher, you should always strive to look after the students’ welfare and how they will succeed. Having all of these qualities will practically ensure that you’ll be an effective teacher.

What are the skills needed for this position?

With all the changes happening around the world brought about by the pandemic, as well as the natural technological improvements, one needs to be adaptive and resilient. I also believe that my job has no boundaries – we need to be able to go above and beyond what is expected from us. As we all know, learning is a never-ending process; hence, we are lifelong learners. We need to be always aware of new developments in the teaching and learning landscapes.

Students are now digital natives. It’s a big adjustment for teachers like me who are not adept at using technology. That is why attending various training programs and webinars really helped me adjust and

adapt easily. The university has been very kind to provide all of the necessary assistance to ensure that teachers are well-equipped to handle the changes.

What’s the best thing about your job?

The coolest thing about my job is seeing my former students reach their highest potential, attain their dreams, and become successful. As a teacher, I am ecstatic about my students' future prospects. I am also excited to see how things would turn out for them since I am a living example of overcoming challenges. All I want for them to do now is to finish their studies, assist their families, and give back to their communities.

And yes, I do agree that teaching is a selfless profession, but hearing “Salamat,Sir” from the students is truly heartwarming and lightens all the challenges that come along with teaching.

What do you not like about your job?

Honestly, I can’t think of any. I don’t think there are any limitations since this is what I prepared for from the bachelor’s level up to where I am right now in terms of my studies. I have learned to be able to deal with anything that comes my way. While our main job is to teach students and hope they learn from us, we likewise learn from them. It’s a two-way street, as I always tell people. If anything, I think the challenge is to really be a good role model for students since they look up to us as their second parents.

What are the things to consider when choosing a job?

I think career growth should be a big consideration. When I look back on my professional career, had I been content with where I was when I began, I wouldn’t have made it to where I am right now – doing what I love the most.

In addition, you need to look for something that will make you happy. Currently, I earn modestly; I’m living a simple life, and I’m absolutely happy with what I am doing.

If you have a chance to give advice to the younger you, what would it be?

  1. To worry less - I used to worry a lot when I was younger. But considering my experiences, I learned that if I work selflessly, maintain my focus, and lift everything up to God, good things will come my way.

  2. Be humble and kind - These two factors are what I would call the keys to my success. Always keep your feet on the ground and treat everybody with respect and kindness.

  3. Have a grateful heart - Look back on your simple beginnings and remember the people that helped you reach your dreams. It does not only bring positivity but also contentment in our hearts.