Children have dreams too!

by Maricel H. Barahan
translated by Victor V. Amores
Volunteering, No.6

I am one of the youth who have dreamed of obtaining a wide range of knowledge for the improvement of our family life, but then, I was not able to finish a college degree. I only had one semester in college because my family could not support me financially. I stopped studying long ago and worked where work is available.

One of these is Learn and Achieve with People’s Instruction Support (L.A.P.I.S.), which I joined with much hesitation because I know that I am not that good in teaching though I have some notions about it. With no other options, I hesitantly attended the training seminar in Guiguinto for youth volunteers. There I came to know what the project was all about, what to do during my voluntary service, what was expected of me as a volunteer, and techniques for tutoring children in Grades 1 to 3.

January 5, 2004. This was The Day for it was the start of my voluntary service. I was lucky that my sister and I were assigned in the same school, the Tugatog Elementary School, which is near our residence. We were introduced to the teachers and to the school principal, Mrs. Nacu, who oriented us about what the school expected from us.

“Ma’am and Mika” by Jill Posadas*

My first session was a “knowing you” activity. I introduced myself to the children and they did the same. The session went smoothly. There were 30 pupils, all belonging to one section, who needed tutorial sessions. My sister and I divided them into two groups with each one of us handling her own group.

I observed that not all the children in my group could read and write. One child, she was called Mika, caught my attention. She looked like a mischievous child. She was wearing eyeglasses because of eye defect. As days passed, I became closer to them and they would sometimes call me “Ate Cel” or “Ma’am.” I felt happy that I could be called “Ma’am” even if I have not earned a degree in teaching. It feels satisfying, isn’t it?

One day our session was suspended because of a meeting and reset on the next day. One child approached me and said, “Ma’am, why didn’t you teach us? We want you to teach.”

I answered him, “I will teach tomorrow if you will read your lessons.”

“Yes, Ma’am,” he answered.

It could not be prevented that there children would turn mischievous during the tutorial sessions. I would call the erring child and ask him to read so that other children would not do the same things.

While they were having a break, Mika came to me and asked, “Ma’am, will you teach me to read? Because Ma’am Nacu said that if I could not read, I will not be promoted. I can read although it is not good enough.”

“Okay, you stay behind after our session and I will teach you.” Thus, I taught her after each session.

What was enjoyable was that she could be taught easily. Her teacher, Mrs. Judith, told me that Mika was slow in her reading development because of her defective eyes. Through my assistance, she learned to read.

I met her together with her grandmother. They told me, “Ma’am, your session is already over.” The grandmother told me, “Thank you, my daughter, for teaching my granddaughter. She will be in Grade 2 this coming school year!”

It is satisfying to think that I had contributed something to a child who, like me, has her dreams.

I miss the pupils because every time I see them passing by, they would always call me “ma’am.” They would always ask me when  I would teach again. I told them, “Even if I would not be able to teach you again, there would be other people like me to teach you. They are young people who, like me, hold with regard a little child with dreams.”


L.A.P.I.S. is a volunteer activity for the youth to help tutor grade school children who are slow learners. The children are tutored on English, Pilipino, and Mathematics. L.A.P.I.S. is a joint project of the Provincial Government of Bulacan, Department of Education and Barasoain Center for Innovative Education.

*Ms. Jill Posadas is a copywriter, freelance writer and freelance illustrator. Her projects included the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Workbook for Children and Greeting Cards for Museo Pambata. She has joined several group exhibits at the Galleries of Fine Arts, Ayala Museum and with Ilustrador ng Kabataan. She is a graduate of AB Fine Arts at the University of the Philippines.

According to Jill, her painting depicts the essay’s author teaching her student Mika how to read. Background colour suggests time to be around late afternoon/sunset. Bright spirals suggest beginnings of bright ideas or dreams or infinite possibilities that have been opened up for Mika now that she can read. How many more things will this little girl be able to achieve now, or how many of her dreams will she now be able to realize, thanks to the help of this particular volunteer teacher?

The Best Volunteer Experience Winning Essays, 2004
Pinoy-Rin Inc. and the PNVSCA

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