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7-May-2012 Helping Students to Succeed by Teacher Jessie Matienzo

Self-Esteem is one of the special subjects offered at CENTEX that makes it different from other public schools. It helps students develop their personalities, learn conflict resolution skills, build self confidence and gain good interpersonal skills.

Robelle belongs to the first batch of CENTEX graduates and is an incoming senior at the Technological Institute of the Philippines. She regularly joins us in visiting the homes of Kindergarten applicants in Manila.

Minorka, Christine and John Macneil, our Batangas high school scholars, often visit CENTEX and devote their free time helping out in the cafeteria serving their younger brothers and sisters during snacks and lunchtime. These generous acts are habits that students have learned from their Self-Esteem class.

In the Self-Esteem class, we do interesting and collaborative activities such as storytelling, role-playing, games, arts and music, and team building exercises. In these past two years, I have experienced how some children have discovered their talents and how these have made a significant impact on their young lives.

I remember Paula, a Grade Two student who once had a speech delay. (Note: The names mentioned in this article have been changed.) When she was in Grade One, she was very introverted. To help her overcome this, I asked her to lead some group activities. I assigned her to read books at home and later share the story during Self-Esteem class. Little by little she gained confidence. Today, she is able to share her experiences and express herself with ease during classroom discussions.

Ryan is a third-grader whose teachers often noted his lack of effort and misbehavior. After one of our roleplaying activities where he played an outcast, he confided that he could portray the role well because his classmates disliked him. I advised him that if he continued to misbehave, he would miss out gaining new friends and achieving good grades. A month later, one of Ryan’s teachers shared the great improvement in his behavior. He was more focused in class, friendlier with his classmates and more serious with his lessons. I see that he has gained confidence and feels more secure about himself.

Most of the time, we wonder if we have imparted something to our students. Sometimes we find them doing things that disappoint us. Little do we realize that they value what we have taught them. Letters (like the one in the accompanying photo) are clear indications that they have acquired not just academic learning but something more essential - character. And this is what moves them to give back to CENTEX when they are older.

Robelle is just one example. She inspires other youth in her community and supports her mother in their small food business. As more CENTEX students go through the Self- Esteem program, I am certain that there will be many students like her in the future.

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