UST Alumni Association celebrates National Teachers’ Month with College of Education Dean Pilar Romero

In celebration of Teachers’ Month this October, the UST Alumni Association Inc. (UST AAI) and Carl Balita Review Center TV (CBRC.TV), presented “Values Education in the New Normal” on October 4, 2020, the day before World Teachers’ Day.

For the first episode of CBRC.TV’s series “Bridges,” hosts radio personality Dr. Carl Balita, a Class of 1991 graduate of the University of Santo Tomas College of Nursing, and CEO and president of Dr. Carl E. Balita Review Center, and UST AAI President Dr. Evelyn A. Songco interviewed the special guest, UST College of Education Dean Pilar I. Romero, Ph.D.

Songco, also a graduate of the UST College of Education, stressed the timeliness of the topic of Values Education, saying that “With this flexible learning during this pandemic, the partnership between school and home was given more emphasis, especially because values formation really begins at home. The teacher accompanies [the students] in this journey and they will be partners because values formation is always a ‘work in progress.’”

Dean Romero added that, “We have been so bombarded with the idea of teaching our young people resilience. That has often been the emphasis now. But without hope, resilience is nothing. It is hope that we should be teaching them. We are in difficult times, but with hope, we know that this will not remain forever. When we say hope, it’s not just ‘waiting for good things to come,’ but no. We are talking about active hope and teachers can impart this to their students if they themselves are positive and hopeful.”

Upon being asked by Balita to share examples of how teachers can share this value with students, Dean Romero said that when she uploads materials for her students, she also includes greetings and small pep talks.

“In that way, you do not only talk to them about official or academic matters, you also talk to them about snippets of life and you can inject hope into your lesson. You maintain that positive stance so you can also communicate that to your students. This is very different from the concept of toxic positivity [or the insistence on ineffective overgeneralization of a happy, optimistic state across all situations, which invalidates the range of authentic human emotional experiences]. No, we are aware that times are hard. We don’t deny that. We just also trust that these will not last and there is a bright future ahead. It may not be now, but the certainty remains [that this will pass],” explained the Dean.

Balita, an educator, well-known entrepreneur and radio personality, agreed and recalled a lesson that was taught by Master of the Order of Preachers and UST Chancellor Very Rev. Fr. Gerard Francisco Timoner, III, O.P. in one of the talks he attended. “I learned from him that ‘Hope is the radical refusal to believe in God’s ‘limited’ power. With hope, we refuse that God’s power has limits.’”

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