Clarissa Delgado

Redesigning teacher training to address the reality of students’ poverty and helping public school teachers become community leaders

The Problem:

The Philippine public education system is ill-equipped to deal with widespread student poverty and its consequences on learning outcomes by itself. As a result, only 13 in 100 Filipino students who enter first grade will complete their education. On a policy level, progress is hampered by the legacy of a complicated colonial past and an ever-changing political climate, hindering the fresh ideas and alignment needed to understand the system’s root problems and make long-term change for communities.

The Approach:

Teach for the Philippines is built on the shoulders of Sa Aklat Sisikat, a Filipino reading program started in 1999. In 2012, after more than a decade of listening to and working from the bottom up in public school communities across the country’s 7,107 islands, Teach for the Philippines adjusted its original strategy to a dual bottom-up and top-down approach to better address the broader twin problems of improving educational outcomes for 25 million Filipino children and diversifying political voices in the Philippines. In its current form, Teach for the Philippines recruits and trains both non-education majors and education majors who are not yet “licensed” by the system to teach in public schools. The organization’s contextualized teacher development curriculum has been measured to improve student learning outcomes. Moreover, it accelerates the path to licensure or permanent teaching positions and also equips participants to build individual and community resilience through best practices in trauma awareness and emotional first-aid, psychosocial support, and positive self-esteem. Finally, to bridge its work, Teach for the Philippines offers those who complete the two-year teaching program an extended one-year position assisting government offices, thereby transforming a teacher’s experience with classroom and community change into experience in policy—and enriching government decision-making with new voices and greater community alignment.

My civic hero:

My grandmother and my grandfather