“CONVERGENCE as defined by many authors is actually coming into one or togetherness for quality practices. With the sharing of our mentors, with all your lessons learned and your reflections, we could say that you have shared your best and you have gained the best from Benguet State University.”

This was according to Alexandra S. Sad-ang addressing the second batch of SEA Teachers accommodated in the University from January 9 to February 1, 2019. Sad-ang is the CTE faculty in charge of this year’s SEA Teachers. The SEA-Teachers project refers to the Pre-Service Teachers Exchange in Southeast Asia by the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO). The project generally aims to provide opportunity for pre-service student teachers from universities in Southeast Asia to have teaching experiences or practicum in other Southeast Asian countries and gain a broader regional and world view of education.

BSU accommodated nine pre-service interns. The interns from Indonesia are: Khairun Nisa of the University of Lampung; Agnevianty Vida Palupi and Yunika Cahya of the Islamic University of Indonesia; Imam Taufiq and Nadia Ayu Refani Putri of the Universitas Negeri Padang; and Fitri Kurnia Dewi and Siti Aminah of the Universitas Ahmad Dahlan while the interns from Thailand are Intira Seethi and Piyaphon Pinthong of Chiang Rai Ratjaphat University. While these interns are the second batch of SEA Teachers accommodated by BSU, they belong to the 7th Batch deployed by SEAMEO.

For their stay in BSU, the nine pre-service interns taught Physics, Economics, English and Biology. They were mentored by Rachel K. Maguen and Yvonne B. Tabdi of the Elementary Laboratory School and Ariston B. Canayon, Imee C. Cuadra, Agustin R. Nang-is and Cecilia B. Samonte of the Secondary Laboratory School. Selected CTE students were assigned to the interns as “buddies” while Supreme Student Government officers came up with activities that exposed the interns to Filipino culture.

“BSU students really respect us, they know we are still learning (studying) but they treat us like real teachers,” Siti Aminah, one of the interns said in an interview recalling how surprised she was when students would stand up and greet her good morning.

The interns described BSU students as polite, participative, open-minded, kind, friendly and excellent. They shared how the BSU students would try to reach out to them despite their not-so-fluent English. Piyaphon Pinthong shared how students made him learn a few more English words while Intira Seethe found them very helpful like when they assist in setting up the LCD projector.

A send-off program for the interns was held on February 1, 2019 at the Strawberry Hall. During the send-off program, one of their mentors, Imee C. Cuadra lauded the interns’ heart and passion in teaching.

“I was really impressed with your batch for preparing so much. We only gave instructions and what surprised us is you do not even depend on your buddies. Our pupils wanted to come and see you, meaning the attachment is there–they love you already,” she said.

Cecilia Samonte, CTE-SLS mentor praised their efforts to overcome the language barrier with smiles and gestures.

“They observed the class then acquainted and familiarized themselves with the students at once. They maximized the use of powerpoint presentations; they are respectful, humble, generous and patient,” Samonte added.

Aside from keychains and wonderful memories, the interns said that they will bring home the teaching methods that their mentors shared with them such as the volcano activity, presentations and role-playing. They also spoke of sharing bits of Philippine literature to their students back in their countries.

“I hope that you were able to develop your teaching skills and pedagogy and we really hope that your buddies or counterparts also have learned from you as far as teaching skills are concerned,” said CTE Dean Imelda G. Parcasio.//JSTabangcura