Filipino overseas educator Clarinda Mendoza Estrella has recently received the Gawad Sulo Award for Eminent Alumni 2021 from her alma mater Philippine Normal University. The award is only given in recognition of all outstanding and deserving individuals in various fields, including education, for their contributions to the Philippines and the Filipino citizenry.
“Nakakaiyak, nakakakilig, nakaka-proud,” Estrella, 51, and is currently working in Doha, Qatar for almost a decade now as the executive coordinator in an international offshore school, said.
A graduate of Bachelor of Science in Education Major in English, with Specialization in Values Education, and Master of Arts in Education Major in Educational Management, the Filipina educator also provides administrative and educational coordination support for the school educational programs and related functions.
Estrella admitted that she has always longed to be of service to her fellow kababayans in her best capacity as a teacher. Despite having 24 years of teaching experience in the Philippines, she has decided to try her luck abroad. The call of the teaching profession urged her to join the Filipino Institute-Qatar as a volunteer trainer. “My vision to serve has synchronized with the Filipino Institute’s commitment to providing professional programs to Filipinos in the Middle East. The graduates of the Filipino Institute attain individual renewal and professional advancement that can empower them to stand on an equal footing with other professionals so they can contribute to a society that is compelled to transform,” she said. Estrella, since 2017, has been teaching basic certification courses in English, Human Resources Management diploma courses, and Master in Business Administration classes.
She also revealed that her involvement in the Filipino community in the host country through the Advocacy in Education and Teacher Education was one of the stringent criteria to be chosen as a recipient of Gawad Sulo for Eminent Alumni 2021. The award is conferred upon select PNU alumni who have manifested profound commitment to upholding the university’s core values of truth, excellence, and service. “As one of the awardees, I believe I have shown an exemplary competence, remarkable dedication, and compelling leadership in my field of specialization, which is a true embodiment of the ideals of Inang Pamantasan,” Estrella said.
Touching students’ lives
She added that teaching is one of the most fulfilling careers as long as one puts her heart into it. “My former students’ personal and professional growth have instigated my yearning to keep educating, motivating, and inspiring more students to aspire for their personal and professional advancement. I firmly believe that the best way to find oneself is to lose oneself in the service of others,” she further added.
“Teaching is about cultivating my craft and skills, having a passion for it, and conveying that passion to my students. It is about motivating my students to learn, which should be done in a manner that is relevant, meaningful, enjoyable, and memorable,” she said adding that this profession gives her the opportunity to touch the lives of her students and contribute to making their future brighter and more productive.
The seasoned and altruistic educator said she was inspired by Martin Luther King’s popular quote, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question: What are you doing for others?” She said that with this mindset, while teaching at the Lyceum of the Philippines University, she joined its pool of volunteer trainers and implementers of the Alternative Learning Systems (ALS)–a parallel learning system that provides a practical option to the existing formal instruction for out-of-school youth and adults.
“I felt a sense of inexplicable commitment and contentment seeing my ALS students, ranging between 16 to 72 years old, learn and dream big for their future,” she added.
Her commitment and service to teaching ALS earned her an Outstanding Contribution–Facilitator, Learning Intervention of the ALS in 2011.
Estrella was also a secondary teacher for 19 years in the Sisters of Mary School-Boys Campus and became a college instructor in Trece Martires City College and Lyceum of the Philippines University, thereafter.
“Being an OFW is not for the faint-hearted. I am certain that we will all go back home with our goals achieved and hopes realized in no time. We are already in the process of turning our sweat into a bright future, hold on to our dreams, do not give up, kaya natin ‘to!” she concluded.
This story has been featured on the 12th issue of The Global Filipino Magazine. To get a copy, you may contact Mr Orli Gayeta at +971503196856. If you have an inspiring story or know someone with one, please send an email at email@example.com.