Here's an excerpt of an article published on September 26, 2010 in The Philippine Star website entitled: Heroes in Our Midst: The Many Faces of the Teacher by Tish Martinez.
“A lot of of my colleagues have a hard time using the internet,” shares Zoilo Pinongcos Jr. of Leganes National High School in Iloilo. “But the web offers us a virtually unlimited source of information and it’s our duty to make use of it. Technology isn’t the enemy,it’s a tool.” Pinongcos, who has been teaching Math, English and ICT education for 24 years, pioneered a series of programs to help teachers go digital. “They are training programs that encourage fellow educators to apply ICT in the different subjects they handle,” shares Pinongcos. “Years ago, I started out as an English teacher but after some training in ICT, I realized that ICT had the potential to improve my teaching.
That’s when I set out to share this knowledge with my fellow teachers.” A certified Intel Teach National Trainer, Pinongcos conducts ICT-readiness training courses in collaboration with Intel for teachers from all over the country. The courses emphasize studentcentered instruction, critical thinking and collaboration.
“The program is designed for classroom teachers who have limited computer experience and helps them acquire basic technology literacy skills,” explains Pinongcos. “We adjust each session to the needs to the teachers, so they can get the hints and skills for teaching specific topics or subject.”
According to Pinongcos, there is no such thing as learning disability. “There’s only a teaching disability and teachers must work to find a students’ unique learning style to be able to teach them well,” says Pinongcos. Despite numerous lucrative offers to teach elsewhere and accolades received, Pinongcos says that his heart is set on serving his local community. Leganes National High School, whose student population numbers 1,678 students only has 53 teachers. “There is still so much to do here. I have so many dreams for my students. They are the reason I keep teaching.”
This year's four other teacher-honorees are:
Donald Dungog a Math and ICT teacher of Science and Technology Center (STEC) in Basak, Lapulapu City, Cebu;
Ma. Cristina Medina a Special Education (SPED) classes teacher to visually- impaired students as well as students with other learning difficulties in Laguna Resettlement Community School in San Pedro, Laguna;
Efren Bino of Mataas Elementary School in the rural island-barangay of Mataas, Bacacay, Albay; and
Ambeth R. Ocampo a Columnist and a Philippine history educator, in the University of the Philippines-Diliman, Ateneo de Manila University and De La Salle University.