Friday, April 14, 2006

Filipino teachers help ease shortfall of special educators

Three years ago.

Upon learning that my sorority sister, Iris Llavanes, was able to leave the country and work in California as a Special Education Teacher, I immediately got the number of the agency where she applied and grabbed the opportunity.

CSKR International, at Greenhills San Juan, is the agency that I went to. The staff there was very helpful and supportive; Jackie, Gringgo, Michael…they were all professionals in what they were doing. Their point person in the US was Ms. Ligaya Avenida. She is a Filipino American educational leader in California who has spent her career with the San Francisco Unified School District since 1972. She earned her Bachelors Degree in Social Work from the University of the Philippines and later pursued and earned her teaching credentials and Masters Degree in Educational Leadership and Organization at the University of San Francisco. A 30-year veteran educator, Ligaya successfully rose from teaching in the classroom of San Francisco schools to serving as administrator in various capacities in the district. Her latest position prior to her retirement 2 years ago was as Director of Human Resources with the San Francisco School. She tied up with CSKR and came up with a professional staffing and training agency, which developed the International Teacher Placement Program. Her credentials made her reputable, we trusted her.

I can never forget my adventures and misadventures during the application period. I kept on telling myself, “I will do whatever it takes”.

I was surprised to see more than 500 eager teachers during the training at the Hotel Peninsula Manila last January 2003. Ms. Avenida’s recruitment program was becoming more and more popular to the Filipino teachers. In February 2003, after my face-to-face interview with the people from the HR Department of the East Side Unified High School District (ESUHSD), I was accepted to teach in San Jose, California. I anticipated and patiently waited for my H1B petition papers.

May 22, 2003, my heart sank when I got a call from Ms. Ligaya Avenida telling me that my slot at ESUHSD was gone because it was given to other Filipino teachers who were laterally transferred from other districts. So I was asked to choose between Florida and Washington DC. I was interviewed by Ms. Avenida at the Manila Pen for Florida that same day.

May 26, 2003, I drove to the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) amidst the strong storm “Chedeng” and the flooded highways. This was the most complicated interview I had in my life. We were interrogated through a video conference; it was awkward seeing yourself in one big screen and the interviewers in another big screen. There were a lot of interruptions because of the typhoon, and there was a two-minute communication delay. I successfully passed the interview to the DC Public Schools. I was going to teach in Washington DC… the world’s capital…the seat of power!

That's my story. Want to know the story of thousands of other Filipino SPED teachers coming to America now?

California districts are turning to the Philippines, which has a surplus of teachers, to fill their special-education vacancies. Filipino special educators in the U.S. can earn nine times what they would make back home. Bloomberg (4/14)


Luchie said...

Hello Teacher Sol! What a nice story and you are so lucky to be assigned there in Washington DC.
Happy Easter!!!

bing said...

Happy Easter, Sol!

nice story. that was one helluvah experience you had pala. but you made it, and you deserve it. keep up the good work.

NYC Educator said...

Welcome to the US.

And though I know little or nothing about you, I feel much better about you being in DC than I do about those awful politicians I keep reading about.

John Leyba said...

Hi Teacher Sol!

My name is John Joseph F. Leyba and I'm from the Philippines. I really do admire your passion and devotion in teaching. I once thought of becoming a teacher here in the Philippines but my dream to become a lawyer became more important. Hehe.

Anyway, I only sent a comment to ask for information. I am presently looking for a friend of mine named Tinay Kabiling. I typed her name in google and your site came up. I do hope you can help me get in touch with her provided of course she is the tinay kabiling im looking for.

The tinay im looking for is a graduate from DLSU-Manila last 2004 and went to the United States in 2004. She's a org com gradaute I think and does taekwondo.

Her full name is Maria Cristina D. Kabiling. and is 22 years old.

if this is the same Tinay that you know could you kindly connect me to her? Thanks a bunch. If not, I am very much honored to visit your web page and see such a great devotion in education. Mabuhay ka.


petite said...

hi, teacher sol! thanks for sharing your's good to hear a nice story about a placement agency that kept its promise...i've heard so many 'horror stories' of placement agencies that were 'palpak' or simply 'fly-by-night' that didn't quite deliver. i'm sure cskr international also appreciates the good feedback you have of them. :-)

robtherunner said...

That is an amazing story and I appreciate you sharing it with us. I am about to enter a graduate program with a focus on special education and look forward to stopping by more often.

Major Tom said...

Hi Sol. Your story is one sweet success story, as I remember your trials and struggles with your husband in your Digital Diary. This could just inspire a lot more Filipino teachers and for certain, they'd be heroes to our economy just like you...

Owen FV said...

im giving a link of your page to my cousins, who are teachers back home. hope they get something inspiring from it.

have a nice weekend teacher sol!

vina said...

hello. this is my first visit to your blog, and i am thankful. it is refreshing and inspiring. it was always either doctor or teacher for me, but i became neither. i still ask myself sometimes, "what if...?"

then again, one can always teach in as much as one can always learn - in this school called life.

i'm looking forward to more of your posts.

Anonymous said...

Looking for a job in Hawaii... where the hulas never fail... where the sunset is spectacular...

Promethean Planet


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