Michelle Rubio, a grade school teacher at Calao Elementary School, Sorsogon City, Philippines, uses innovative techniques and out-of-the box strategies to make learning fun and engaging for her students. This includes creating a “Techno-classhome” where pupils use microphones to recite in front of the class and boost their self-confidence, turning her car into a “Reading Car” where she would take reading lessons and broadcast them on Facebook so parents could watch their children study, and creating a “Resort for Learning”, a part of the school stuffed with beach umbrellas, a hut and other props to create the semblance of a beach resort, and a mini library with wifi which proved invaluable for distance learning during the pandemic.
While play makes learning fun for her students, Michelle is careful to build in learning testing and improvement components to her innovative school equipment – the “Resort for Learning”, for instance, has the ability to display PowerPoint presentations built in, features six reading stations geared for children of different abilities and featuring specific themes - Read and Spell, Shopping of Words, Read-Stop-and Dance, Pair-Reading and Pathway Reading. Michelle is careful to see how each child progresses through each one, with oral reading tests and songs used to learn phrases ahead of reading and recognising them in print. The Resort concept is so popular schools in neighbouring districts have created their own, based on Michelle’s original model. Michelle is keen to share her ideas with fellow educators via social media and also at conferences, both nationally and also overseas.
Thanks to the motivational learning environment, with students striving to do well in their studies so they can graduate to Michelle’s class, her pupils have won several awards in district level competitions and she was recently the recipient of an award for Best K to 3 Teacher Implementing Early Language Literacy & Numeracy Program.
Throughout her career Michelle has shown compassion and care her students and their families. She has taken some of the poorer children into her own home to look after them when their parents cannot cope. She has paid for hospital expenses and surgeries for some students and parents who became gravely ill and could not afford the cost themselves.
During the pandemic intrepid Michelle has been supplying face masks and face shields to over 300 learners and visited poorer families in her community to deliver similar items, and free food packs, crossing rivers, going through rice paddies, and across a rickety bamboo bridge to reach them all and supervise the distribution of the packs from 8:30 in the morning until 4:00 in the afternoon. She set up reading stations and supplied laminated reading materials to help parents in home instruction for their children during the lockdown. Michelle set up a livelihood program for senior citizens and the elderly, helping the organization in establishing a rice retailing business for the elderly to earn much needed income.