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How 5 Teachers Empower Their Female Students | Edukasyon.ph
All Girls Corner

How 5 Teachers Empower Their Female Students

What’s the best lesson that one of your teachers taught you?

If you really think about it, your answer might not be technical like how to solve a complex math problem or how to properly conjugate verbs. While those may be valuable in your career or daily life, the life lessons that teachers give you usually make the bigger impact.

The most valuable lessons a teacher can impart to their students and to women specifically is empowerment. A teacher can demonstrate how a young woman can maximize her skills, instill in her the importance of taking action in all facets of her life, and ensure she never lets anyone step on her rights. By doing so, the teacher enables the student to feel in control of her life and reach for her goals confidently.

Five teachers tell us what it takes to nurture confident young women, and share their advice on succeeding in life:    

1. Jojie Restrivera, 22

Science Teacher, Senior High School 

University of Perpetual Help System-Jonelta

teacher Jojie Restrivera shares how she empowers her female students

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Do you think your female students are empowered? Why or why not?

Yes, they are because they have self-esteem to face challenges, and [they are] proficient in essential life skills. I encourage them to engage in school council and organizations that will train them to be a good leader.

What can you do to help young women become more empowered while they’re still studying? 

First of all, I will provide a safe environment where they can freely discuss their views and opinions, and I create opportunities for my students to engage in a challenging learning environment. As their role model, I will build a positive self-image for women, ensure that they will receive the support they need, and inspire them through my experiences.

What are the lessons or advice you can give young women that they can apply until after their studies?

A piece of advice: access what you are capable of and embrace who you are. Explore all aspects of your strength because it will guide you in choosing your career in the future. Lastly, always support and inspire other women.

2. Santiago B. Alday III, 28

IELTS and TOEFL Instructor for licensed medical professionals (PT, RN, RMT)

teacher Santiago Alday shares how he empowers his female students

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Do you think your female students are empowered? Why or why not?

Yes, I think social media is a factor. Before, female students are only expected to take the back-seat and passively participate, but in the age of social media, people are more aware of how women contribute to the society.

What can you do to help young women become more empowered while they’re still studying? 

As a teacher, [I keep in mind] the thought that students are equals, regardless of gender. If a student is a bright one, I let him/her shine. If they prefer to not participate, I push them to talk and include themselves. For women specifically, letting them know their value through lessons helps a lot. I did this even back when I was teaching in the college level. I incorporated gender empowerment in my literature classes and have a class discussion about the stories. This way, I draw experience and insight not only from where I am coming from, but also from my students.

What are the lessons or advice you can give young women that they can apply until after their studies? 

Never let anything or even a man hinder your personal success. You will always be the captain of your own ship, and you do you. Earning that degree doesn’t only add to your victory, but it also inspires others to follow their passion and grow.

3. Lynrose Jane D. Genon, 24

Assistant Professor, Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology

teacher Lynrose Jane Genon shares how she empowers her female students

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Do you think your female students are empowered? Why or why not?

To some extent, I would say that most of my female students are empowered in my classroom. They take leadership roles in class activities, they are independent learners, they speak out on issues, and I even have a group of students in my Peace Education class who created a social media campaign on street harassment against women. Education has liberated these young women. It has empowered them to speak their truth and be confident about themselves.

However, these students have a bigger community beyond the corners in the classroom where sexism and the “boys will be boys” mentality is ever present. Their journal would reveal stories of psychological, emotional, physical, and even sexual harassment experiences. And these stories would come out in activities that would focus on their personal stories in communication or peace education classes. These are realities that we cannot ignore. Some of our students are victims of the sexist culture and are raised in an unhealthy environment for women. So, there is also a significant gap in how empowered they’re in the classroom and outside the classroom.

Yes, my students would speak out and question the gender stereotypes being fed by social media primarily in classroom discussions, but I think we need more spaces. I mean conversations and training in the academe that would enhance the agency of our female students to call out sexist behaviors, to speak out against harassment  and challenge stereotypes outside the four corners of the classroom. The social penalty of doing so is real, that’s why most of the female students are afraid to do it. They are afraid to be tagged as “papansin,” “fame whore,” “maarte“, “feeling maganda,” and some are even worse.

We are also living in a generation where body shaming is very rampant, and I have observed that as one of the main struggles of my female students. Though conceptually we constantly challenge it—integrate it in classroom discussions, make them read feminist literature, it has to be integrated more in their everyday lives. The academe is doing significant work in challenging gender stereotypes, but we must be more aggressive in doing it.

What can you do to help young women become more empowered while they’re still studying? 

Make students read more works of feminist writers—Chimamanda Adichie, Jhumpa Lahiri, Arhundati Roy, Michelle Obama, etc. If you are a literature or writing teacher, you can make it as a springboard to your lessons. We can also provide more avenues to talk about challenging gender stereotypes and toxic masculinity. These are essential in changing the mindsets of these young women towards gender and their role in the community. And I think, most importantly, [our role] is to provide a nurturing space for these young women to grow, be confident about themselves, and capacitate them to be able to speak out against whatever injustices they might encounter in the outside world and maybe to speak out for women who are marginalised or who doesn’t even have a voice at all.

What are the lessons or advice you can give young women that they can apply until after their studies? 

Be part of a network of young women, or create one. Stand for yourself, and believe in your capacity to make a difference. Speak out against everyday sexism; we all have the obligation to do that. Love and take care of your body.

4. Christian Paul S. Sunga, 24

21st Century Literature Teacher, Senior High School (Grade 12)

Maliwalo National High School

teacher Christian Paul Sunga shares how he empowers his female students

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Do you think your female students are empowered? Why or why not? 

Female students are highly empowered, especially when it comes to reporting, debates, and performances. They highly show how capable they are by being the leaders of the groups and the main characters on most performances. They serve as the brains of the class, most of the time, and the candidates for Valedictorian/With Honors.

What can you do to help young women become more empowered while they’re still studying? 

I teach literature, so I make sure that whatever literary piece I use is suitable and equitable to all my students. Despite the gender-biased literature we have before, I include bias-free literature in my class today to promote both genders and lessen inequalities.

What are the lessons or advice you can give young women that they can apply until after their studies? 

No matter who you are or where you are from, you are powerful beyond measure. You are born to stand out and make a difference. Flap your wings, and you’ll never know how high you could possibly go.

5. Maria Jocelyn T. Claridad, MACDDS, 36

General Physics 1 and 2 Teacher, Senior High School (Grade 12), Paco Catholic School

Maria Jocelyn T. Claridad is also the HS Science Coordinator for the school. She’s been in the teaching profession for 16 years.

teacher Maria Jocelyn Claridad shares how she empowers her female students

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Do you think your female students are empowered? Why or why not? 

I believe our female students are empowered in all forms. Most of our student leaders are female, and they are the ones who spearhead programs and activities for their respective clubs and classes.

What can you do to help young women become more empowered while they’re still studying? 

I think classroom activities and performance tasks have shaped Paconians to be empowered.  Students were inspired to do things beyond their capabilities. The curriculum offering of Paco Catholic School is also geared towards gender equality. The elective in TLE provides equal opportunity for our boys and girls to be adept in ICT skills, Electronics, Food and Beverage, Drafting Skills, and Culinary.

What are the lessons or advice you can give young women that they can apply until after their studies? 

Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Be the change you want to see in the world!” This only tells us that if you are unsatisfied with what’s going on, then you can only bring forth change if you’ll begin that transformation. Our small steps can create a big ripple that will eventually change the world.  And finally, as I always say “ASPIRE to INSPIRE, before your EXPIRE!”

Want to read more inspiring stories on women empowerment or learn about opportunities for young females in senior high school and college? 

Visit Future of Young Pinays page now!

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