21 February 2022 - A teacher’s passion for teaching begets students’ love for learning. This was proven by a civil servant from Sorsogon City who took up the challenge of making his students fall in love with Mathematics, a typically dreaded subject.
Markson B. Mejia, a former teacher at Celestino G. Tabuena National High School, introduced a variety of teaching tools and methods to spark the interest of students on Mathematics and dispel their fear of numbers. He created a fun learning environment where students could memorize and apply formula and problem-solving techniques through games, puzzles, and jingles.
He was both methodical and inclusive in monitoring and ensuring his students’ progress. He launched his advocacy project, “No More Dyscalculia, Kayang-Kaya ang Mathematika”, to help students with numerical learning disabilities. Through diagnosis of his students’ level and learning needs, he was able to identify the appropriate strategy for high performers and slow learners alike.
As a result, Mejia’s students were able to see progress in their grades. Their math skills also helped them prepare for higher education. Even in college, his former students still remember the jingles and puzzles that helped them understand important mathematical principles.
“Laging sinasabi nila Mathematics daw ay napakahirap na asignatura. Kaya naman gumawa ako ng maraming kaparaanan upang mapadali ang pagkatuto ng ating mga mag-aaral,” Mejia narrated, adding, “Nagkaroon ng malaking impact ‘yung mga nabahagi ko sa ibang mga guro na materials sa pagtuturo ng Mathematics. Ito ay nakatulong para ma-achieve namin ‘yung zero non-numerates sa aming division.”
During the pandemic, he created ways of engaging students outside the classroom. He used Facebook to continue deploying math quizzes or word problems, and gave out prizes such as prepaid credits out of his own pocket to entice students to learn math even at home.
Mejia reached out to sick and indigent students who found it difficult to continue their education because of their circumstances. He provided grocery packs and learning materials, and monitored their progress.
He devoted extra time to students needing special attention, like in the case of a student with a heart illness who was bullied for doing poorly at school. He would go to her house after work hours to help with her modules. The student eventually regained interest in her studies and her parents described her as happy and energetic with her newfound learning competencies.
“Kapag bumabalik sa akin ang mga mag-aaral at sasabihin nilang – ‘Sir, salamat po. Nabago n’yo po kami, nabago n’yo po ang perspective namin sa buhay. Modelo po namin kayo, kaya patuloy po kaming nagsisikap na pagbutihin ang pag-aaral para makatulong kami sa aming pamilya. Balang araw magiging mabuting mamamayan rin po kami sa ating komunidad.’ – iyan ang rewarding moment sa akin, ang maging inspirasyon sa ating mga kabataan,” he said.
Now an Education Program Specialist II at the Department of Education-Sorsogon City Division focusing on the monitoring and evaluation of public and private schools and learning centers, Mejia attributes his strong sense of community and love of education with his own experience growing up, and his parents giving their all just for him to finish his education. In return, he is now also providing for his family.
Mejia’s dedication to his craft and selfless display of public service earned him the Outstanding Public Officials and Employees or the Dangal ng Bayan Award in 2021. He was picked among hundreds of nominees of the Search for Outstanding Government Workers.
The awardees were recognized in a virtual program last 15 November 2021 held by the Civil Service Commission (CSC), the agency administering the government’s Honor Awards Program, aired on the CSC’s Facebook Page and YouTube channel. It featured a total of 41 awardees from 2020 and 2021—12 who were conferred the Presidential Lingkod Bayan award; 11 who received the CSC Pagasa award; and 18, the Dangal ng Bayan award.
Markson was awarded the Dangal ng Bayan, which is conferred on an individual for performance of an extraordinary act or public service and consistent demonstration of exemplary ethical behavior on the basis of observance of the eight norms of conduct provided under Republic Act No. 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees. Recipients of the DNB receive a gold-gilded medallion, fiberglass bronze trophy designed by National Artist for Sculpture, Napoleon V. Abueva, cash reward of PHP200,000, and are entitled to automatic promotion to the next higher position.
Meanwhile, the Presidential Lingkod Bayan (PLB) is conferred on an individual or a group for exceptional or extraordinary contributions resulting from an idea or performance that had nationwide impact on public interest, security, and patrimony. PLB awardees receive a plaque signed by the President of the Philippines, gold-gilded medallion handcrafted by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, cash reward of PHP200,000 per individual awardee or PHP100,000 for each member, and are entitled to automatic promotion to the next higher position.
The CSC Pagasa is conferred on an individual or group for outstanding contribution/s resulting from an idea or performance that directly benefit more than one department of the government. Recipients of this award receive a plaque signed by the CSC Chairperson, gold-gilded medallion handcrafted by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, and cash reward of PHP200,000 per individual awardee or PHP100,000 for each member of the group awardee.
The CSC is once again looking for exemplars in public service who can be nominated to the 2022 Search for Outstanding Government Workers.
All government workers in the career and non-career service including appointive barangay officials may be nominated. Employees who are under job order or contract of service are excluded from the coverage of the program.
Posthumous nomination is also accepted for public servants who died in the line of duty or in the pursuit of their official duties and responsibilities. The nomination must be made within 12 months from the time of death.
Deadline of submission of nominations is on 31 March 2022. Nominations must be submitted to the CSC Regional or Field Offices. Guidelines and other pertinent information are available from the CSC website at www.csc.gov.ph.
Watch the Lingkod Bayan Diaries featuring Teacher Markson Mejia on the CSC YouTube channel.