The best way to celebrate teacher’s day is to honor an educator who makes a difference in today’s world.
Josephine Villareal Nepomuceno known as Teacher Jojo in the world of special education society. From the province of Capiz, the third from the eight siblings , mother , wife , teacher , friend, coach , NILD Educational therapist, consultant , Director/Founder of Edu-càre Learning Center, Inc. formerly Learning Partner’s School, Inc. , board member of the ADHD Society of the Philippines , conference chairperson for national regional conferences and an advocate in ADHD society .
Zia and I were given a chance to have an interview with her and share more of her life and her advocacy.
As a child when her grandparents were still alive, every Sunday –
There would be a family get together for all of them. They would eat together as a family and used those times to bond with each other, that’s her happiest moments as a child. Giving birth to her only son was the moment she considered her greatest treasure.
Growing up it has been her grandfather and dad, whom she looks up to. As teacher Jojo was greatly influenced by these great gentlemen, she only realized it later on in her life they have been her role
model in serving people committed and followed the same track like them. Her late grandfather – the former speaker of the house during martial law and a congressman for fifty years. Her late dad – the former governor of Capiz. She would always join them during elections and just like other children of the politicians they would sing and dance during campaigns. They were the first grandchildren in her father side and most of the time they would always go with their grandfather wherever they go because they are very close in her father side. She even studied back in the province for a year during martial law.
During her childhood she can’t even recall any deep painful experience because the family was very happy , aside from the moment they travelled to Hong kong as a family,they are eight as siblings ;she was lost and found by the bell boy and returned her back to her family. But growing up the death of her grandfather and dad brought her the most painful experience to share. In the process of mourning and grieving they are not really planning to bring his dad back to the province because they experience already to her grandfather how tiring to bring them to so many places, but it’s the people of Capiz requested for them to bring the body back in the province. In that she even realized how her grandfather and dad were loved by many. People would come down from mountains , jeepneys an buses just to give respect and comfort to the family . In that she finds happiness and love despite of the families mourning they saw people touched by his dad.
“Kaya ako I’m happy with what I do, because
somehow related to what my dad and grandfather did.” teacher Jojo shared.
Many people and friends would describe Teacher Jojo as a jolly and lovely person, but there are also only few people would know that she is also “Masungit” .
“Pag may problema ako I can be so masungit na hindi mo ako makakausap” she describes herself .
Despite everyday’s life challenges what keeps her going is our Lord. Whenever she encounters problems she prays knowing you have someone like Jesus whatever happens . Being in the field of special education for 21 years, lots of people do bad things against her.
“ I asked the Lord to help me forget things. Kasi I believe if your heart is full of unforgivenes ikaw na ang ma –stu-stumble. Hayan mo na ,bahala na lang si Lord. Ako I just count my blessings and tend to forget. There must be a reason, so look at your blessings first . Don’t just try to forget , Forgive” she said.
In her career what keeps her going is her students . After her son was diagnose with ADHD she wants to give back to the people and help those with special needs to have an opportunity to develop. There are times she wants to give up then suddenly there would be parents coming to her and would thank her for making a difference in the life of their children.
“My son was born I already had a school , kaya nga pin-re- pare ako ng Lord. Inuna ni Lord na magtayo muna ako ng school”teacher Jojo added.
(Career and School )
After graduating Bachelor of Secondary Education, Major in Special Education ,it was her professor in University of the Philippines who inspired her to put up a school for special education.
“I wanted to work with older kids” teacher Jojo said.
“ Their brain is wide and different. Somebody in need of help and love. As persons we have the obligation to help them. Someone who has rights like other children or adult. They must be treated equally . They need to be accepted . Kaya nga nasa mall ako eh kasi they also deserve to be in a mall … atyaka may individual strength silaa… ” Teacher Jojo ‘s personal description of special needs .
There are higher and lower functioning . She envisions people with special needs by helping them find opportunity in the society. Building them holistically and helping them discover their own ability to contribute in the society.
“Like I have a student who is a lower functioning but you know he bakes thebest chocolate cookies” she shared.
“My Dream is to be a charismatic adult to my students.. somebody as a teacher, na naalala ka ng student mo na…yan…. yung nag make a difference in my life..”-Teacher Jojo.
Being in the field for two decades , it’s no joke and Teacher Jojo has no regrets putting up a school. Personally it changed her as a person and made her happy with what she is doing.
Giving herself in the society as a committed teacher helping people with special needs is her great contribution. She made her son as example of how proud she has become now. The more parents are involved and understanding the children better, there are so much possibilities to do and help . That’s why Teacher Jojo wanted to continue advocating for the special needs community .
The love of what she does and the passion from her heart allows her to make a difference and the strength that the Lord gives her . Most importantly how her family raised her. She grew up having a golden spoon in her mouth but they don’t grew up as brats .
“Remember history of the family is important. You are a person because of your family and how they nurture you as you grew up .Yung heart mo is pano ka din pinalaki.. Pinalaki kami na may utang na loob ka sa tao .kaya nga… ako nag decide maging teacher. We owe it to the people not the people owe us…that’s the thing I wanted our children to remember.” -Teacher Jojo shared
As a parent Teacher Jojo’s son John was her biggest success . As a teacher it would be her students , seeing them successful in their own unique ways and make a difference in the society. One thing that teacher Jojo shared to us was the importance of team approach. In sped the program there should not be only limited to student- teacher team . It has to be holistic approach and it has to be intertwined. The training of every individual. As a parent you have to know your child, you have to know what program your child shall undergo and how they should be involved. As a teacher you must be understandable if the parents accepted the child’s condition and most importantly is to know your parents, know the family because we have cultural differences . In the community and society to respect them equally.
Teacher Jojo’s piece of advice:
“You have to love what you do. Do your job not for the sake of money but because you love doing it. Teachers…. continue learning because they are so many updates. Ako I’m studying parin .. kailangan mag -aral ka padin in the speed of education ..kasi nagche- change ang world. Like now iba na ang technologies. Attend seminars. As a teacher you are supposed to take data of your students. You haveto put everything in order, even if you are regular or special education teacher it’s important to take data on your students. There is no one program that will work for this sped student number one that will work to student number two . Kailangan baguhin mo ,kasi the IEP hindi sya tutugma.Iba ang needs at reinforcement .”
Making a difference in the lives of her students every day . Teacher Jojo also wanted to reach other provinces to help teachers , parents and students by bringing consultancy , workshops and seminars to different parts of the Philippines. Right now teacher Jojo is currently active in her advocacy for ADHD ,
an upcoming event is being organize this October 21, 2017 at Baliwag Star Arena, Baliwag, Bulacan for the ADHD Congress 2017.
“I want to encourage the teachers to continue learning . Innovating. Volunteer work. Get to know people. Most importantly Love your job.” –Teacher Jojo Villareal-Nepomuceno