By Linda Bolido
When Muntinlupa Councilor Raul Corro read about the Mentoring the Mentors Program (MMP) in the Inquirer, he immediately decided he wanted his city’s schools to be part of it.
Corro, former media person and teacher and head of the city council’s committee on education, is always on the lookout for initiatives that will improve the quality of instruction in Muntinlupa schools.
“I have always prioritized teacher training,” Corro said. “Although there are many problems in education, I believe that investing in human resources is more important than spending on physical facilities.”
For the MMP, Corro’s active involvement is trailblazing. Although Muntinlupa is only the second city in Metro Manila to join the MMP bandwagon, it is the first local government to initiate its teachers’ participation in the program.
Corro is also actively working with the city division to ensure that as many teachers as possible are trained.
Stella Delgado-Rufino, MMP special projects director, points out that Corro coordinates and works closely with the Division of City Schools acting superintendent, Dr. Dominico Idanan, in the conduct of MMP workshops for teachers.
In his speech at the most recent MMP workshop, the second for teachers in just one month, Corro said, “Quality education begins with quality teachers. It is my firm conviction that we must continuously train our teachers, mold their character, develop their leadership skills and their total personality in dealing with their fellow teachers and in mentoring their students in order to attain quality education.”
Corro, who arranged scholarships for some Muntinlupa teachers at Ateneo de Manila University, said “scholarships would only benefit a few,” while the MMP training would be useful to more people, particularly students.
The councilor said, by investing in the training and development of teachers, students would be better educated and trained, ensuring them a brighter future.
The MMP was initiated by the Foundation for Worldwide People Power established by Inquirer founding chairperson and Ramon Magsaysay Award winner Eugenia “Eggie” Apostol.
It recognizes the need to help improve and enhance the skills of teachers, particularly those in public schools. Teachers learn that the education of their students means more than just mastering the 3Rs (reading, writing and ’rithmetic) and learning the skills to practice a profession, perform a job or pursue a career.
Now being managed and implemented by the Marie Eugenie Institute of Assumption College, MMP aims to make teachers better and to turn them into role models who will impart to students values and virtues to make them better persons, lifelong learners and, more importantly, informed, thinking, patriotic and law-abiding citizens able to make the right choices and decisions to help make the Philippines a country everyone can be proud of.
The program focuses on changing the akin (mine) mentality to the inclusive amin (our) mindset. It promotes the integration of the teaching of desired behaviors, values and attitudes into all subjects, instead of as a separate class, so they will not be easily ignored and forgotten.
Idanan said Corro arranged for the MMP to conduct an orientation session in November for local school officials and principals. During the session the administrators prepared an action plan on how they would pursue the changes they wanted to see in their schools.
But the officials’ enthusiasm was not immediately shared by the teachers. At first, Idanan said, teachers thought “the training would be the same as previous ones” they had participated in.
Initial feedback from first-group participants in an MMP workshop held at the Muntinlupa Central Elementary School suggested that they found the session different. “They learned they were really changing their perception about education, how students learn and how to manage people,” Idanan said.
Teachers also learned they should not only teach subject content but should develop lifelong learners who are more creative and critical.
Corro is so sold on the MMP that, in his speech at the most recent workshop, he announced, “I have devoted a major part of my budget for this Mentoring the Mentors Program and it is my commitment that we will continue this program for other batches of teachers, including college students taking up education at the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Muntinlupa.”
The councilor wants education graduates to be introduced to the MMP method before they become teachers.