People who want to become teachers need to pass the Licensure Exam for Teachers or LET. The test is held twice a year and although many make it, there is also a great number of people who don’t.
The test is not easy, as it is common to see some individuals take the test multiple times. Some get discouraged and end up pursuing a different career.
But one persistent individual did not give up on her dreams of becoming a professional teacher.
Nelma M. Dahimulla graduated from Bachelor of Secondary Education, major in Agri-Fishery arts. It took her eight attempts to finally pass the LET. She tried over the span of four years and did not quit. The first time she failed, she took it lightly and was still optimistic.
“My first take naka 68 lang ata ako dayyy. masakit sobra pero madali lang man makamove on agad kasi inisip ko ‘ah wala ‘to first time ko kasi kaya nanibago lang siguro tapos wala pang review.'”
She got to the point where she was short of less than one percent to pass the exam, having scored 74.20%, 75% being the passing score. This was when she really felt down, she was so close but yet so far. She blamed herself for studying on her own instead of going to a review center. She said that teaching is her passion and that her family has always wanted this profession for her.
“gusto ko to maachieve at mas maging proud pa ang parents ko sakin at magawa ko ang gusto kong gawin that is to inspire other people through my profession. I love teaching others and giving inspirational advice. So yun nga bagsak pa rin ako kasi puro ako self review at sa mga post na reviewer sa Facebook lang ako.”
After getting tired of failing, she decided to enroll at CBRC (Carl Balita Review Center). She said that the review center helped a lot, as they do not just teach academics, but also how to have faith in God. The instructors make their students feel like they should not quit and are worth it, even if they have failed many times.
“Believe sila samin at saludo sila sa tapang naming mga Repeaters na kahit paulit-ulit na bumagsak kami still bumabangon parin kami para lumaban. Sobra talaga ako naiyak that day as in.”
The instructors always remind their students the reasons they should pass their exam. She enjoyed her experience there as she made new friends, too.
Before the day of the exam, she did a lot of praying and employed all the techniques she learned at the review center. Nelma had renewed confidence as she took the exam for the eighth time.
May 25 came, the day when the results would be released and Nelma was nervous the entire day. When her mother notified her that the list was out, she immediately went online to look for her name on the list. The internet was slow and she kept on refreshing the page until she saw her name,
She described it as almost having a heart attack due to being too happy. This was life changing for her and her family.
“Alhamdulillah pasado na ako!! muntik ng sumabog puso ko that day. haha sorrry naman na … overwhelming ang feeling eh 🤣 at sobra pa nung masabi ko sa parents ko na pumasa ako beshhh.. Priceless ang Mukha nila. yun ang mas nagpasaya sakin kesa sa result hahaha grabe sila.”.
She urges people, that are struggling to make it in life, to just believe in God and that He will give you what you need at the right time. She scored a 78.40 and is now a licensed professional teacher.
The Reunion – 14 Years after HS Graduation
Just some days ago, I chanced upon a heartwarming video from Gabay Guro of a child being passed from his mother to a very long line of teachers.
The video came with the caption, It takes around 200 teachers to take us to our dreams. How many have you thanked? Show support to teachers by thanking them! #GabayGuro
Yes! I will thank our teachers! We should thank our teachers!
So, I arranged for my brother, Ian Bertoldo, and I to visit the school to thank the teachers who had been instruments for us to reach of dreams. Two of my high school best friends Monique Ellado-Neri (with her son) and Gelend Talahuron also came along, to join our happy reunion with our teachers.
My supportive husband, JO2 Bobby Adalia, and our two kids, Zedi and Dani, also came along to witness this momentous event.
The Poor, Hopeless Kids
As children coming from a very poor family whose main problem was whether we will have food for the next meal, obtaining a college degree was a huge dream which seemed unattainable, impossible.
For how could we even hope of going to college when we could barely afford the next meal? We barely had money for lunch, definitely no money for snacks, and only just enough for the fare to school – the fare home was another problem.
We had to meet school requirements, yet it was extremely difficult. Projects had to be passed late because we could not afford them. I remember having only 2 pairs of uniform for the entire 4 years of high school!
Teachers to the Rescue
Hopeless about the future, teachers at the RTPM Dumaguete Science High School were there to the rescue.
Somehow, they were able to understand that we were too poor to pay for projects on time; thus, we were given time to pass them a little late. They knew we could not afford the right shoes (black for the regular school uniform, rubber shoes for PE) to wear; thus, we were allowed to wear canvas shoes (I am quite sure those cost P99 that time!).
The Scholarship Program
The teachers recognized how poor we were, so when then Dumaguete City Mayor Felipe Antonio Remollo allocated funds for 3 scholars in the school, my brother Ian and I both were selected as recipients. Every month, we were given P500 which we had to collect at the City Hall.
It was Mrs. Elvie Alam-Alam who would process the payroll, then tell us the money was ready for pick-up at the City Hall. Our teachers would allow us to go to the City Hall with the other recipient. Of course, that had to be within school/office hours.
Mind you, that was not an easy thing to do. We had to walk at least a kilometer to reach the highway, so we could find a tricycle that would bring us to the City Hall, some 5 km away. Still, the teachers knew there really was no other way, so we were allowed to go out every month.
It was also around this time that our family became recipients of a house from the Habitat for Humanity. We had to pay for it every month, but it was the first house we could ever call as our own!
By the time I was in fourth year, though, I became somewhat depressed. It was hard to think about what lies in the very near future. Less than a year from then, my classmates would be in college. I wonder how my brother and I would fare. Our mom would always say it is the Lord who will give us a way, yet would never give any other answer than that when asked if we could go to college.
The public university’s tuition costs at least P5,000 per semester. With my brother and I both attending school at the same time, how could our parents even afford P10,000 a semester? That’s P20,000 a year, in school fees alone! How about our fares, food, projects, uniforms, etc.?
We could barely eat, how could we ever afford college, anyway?
Then, our father died in October that year. It seemed like the end of the world for us. I felt sure there was no college education for me and my brother. We probably have to find work after the school year ends, so we can have money to meet our basic needs. Just imagine how truly depressing that had been to 16-year-old me!
It was during the last year of high school that the teachers really came to our rescue. Depressed and hopeless, they stepped in to provide words of wisdom and guidance.
Perhaps they had an inkling about how we felt after losing our father so suddenly. So, despite me incurring weeks of absences, they gave plenty of allowances in school work and projects. I could just remember how I begged Ms. Ma. Heidi Duran to accept my project – 1 month late! Thankfully, she took pity on me.
Mrs. Felilia Jatico and the late Ms. Ferolina Agir were among those who gave the most valuable advice about getting a college degree. They said that working after high school instead of going to college might give us money for our needs but it will be a temporary solution.
Do not think about the immediate future. Think about the long-term future.
Do really want to get stuck to a low-paying, less-than-minimum-wage money received by people who were not able to finish school? Think about your family in the future.
You are intelligent, you can make it to college with scholarship programs. There are plenty available for poor yet deserving students like you.
Go for it! We have faith in you, your abilities, and your intelligence. Just work hard. Surely, you will reach your dreams.
The College Leap of Faith
Remember the P5,000-per-semester school? That was a public school, but there are very few scholarship programs available there.
So, the excited me, the motivated me, the one who heard the very inspiring words from our teachers, actually took a leap of faith. Instead of enrolling in that public school, I enrolled at Silliman University – a prestigious private school.
What crazy thing happened, anyway? Silliman University cost around P25,000 per semester. Why did I even try to enroll there when my mother could not even afford the P5,000 school?
Well, for one, the teachers said I could do it – that there was a huge chance I would get a scholarship. My cousins and aunts also said there were plenty of scholarship programs available then.
It also helped a lot that I got a 99% rating in the entrance test. The teachers gave me a huge “Go for it!” approval. The depressed, hopeless suddenly became overconfident. So, I told myself I could do it.
I asked my mother to secure the P5,000 for the down payment. She was worried that we will be in deeper debt and I could not finish the semester, yet I had this crazy feeling that I could actually get a scholarship.
A family friend working as dorm manager in the university also took me in as desk assistant, providing me with free lodging inside the campus plus a working student job. She also recommended me as food server at the school cafeteria for free meals. Food and lodging were taken care of, so I did not have a problem throughout the semester.
Plus, my extra earnings in both jobs were able to cover the rest of the tuition fees for the first semester, plus a little extra for the second semester’s down payment. I was also able to ‘earn’ extra money in academic scholarship from my first semester’s grade.
Before the second semester ended, I was informed that I was chosen as recipient of the Bob and Metta Silliman scholarship, which pays for FULL tuition and all school fees – for 4 years! So, I was able to withdraw my earnings from my two jobs to help my family.
Meanwhile, it was our mother’s sister who paid for my brother’s education.
I felt there is a need to share this back story, because if not for my motivators, I wouldn’t have gained the courage to take that huge leap of faith!
To make a very long story short, my brother and I were both able to graduate from college.
Although I graduated and obtained a license as Chemist, I later quit my job at Taiheyo Cement Philippines, Inc. (Grand Cement ) in Cebu to start a new family in Dumaguete.
Today, I work as freelance writer and editor for several websites, including The Dailypedia, RachFeed, Kicker Daily News, Buzz Flare, 2ngaw, and Toongaw. I had also previously worked for 6 years as writer for Haven for Writers/The Write Brew.
Meanwhile, my brother works as Journal Account Officer at SPi Global here in Dumaguete.
Thanks, RTPM Dumaguete Science High School teachers (SY 1996-1997, SY 1997-1998, SY 1998-1999, and SY 1999-2000) for helping us reach our dreams! I am fully aware that I will never be the person that I am now, without your guidance.
Thanks to #GabayGuro for highlighting the importance of teachers in every person’s life.