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I’ve recently started pursuing my license in teaching, so I am taking the 18 units to qualify for the Licensure Examination for Teachers. I enjoy being back in the classroom, after a decade of exploring various roles in education. It is refreshing. It is also a rare front row seat into the experience that prepares many for a lifetime in the classroom.

Before I dive into that, let me very briefly share my background. After graduating from university, I spent two years teaching high school English in Ozamiz City, Misamis Occidental in Northern Mindanao. Two years was what the school could afford me teaching without a license, yet it was an environment that encouraged and supported me such that I was convinced that education was the field for me. After the two years of teaching, however, I decided to explore other pursuits related to education but not in the classroom. I did research in education reform for a policy think tank, worked with a company that specialized in work flow consulting and enterprise resource process solutions in India for two years (a job that also gave me the opportunity to go to East Africa for a few months for a client), returned to the Philippines to work in a non-profit start-up recruiting young people for the teaching profession and advocating for what many consider an eroding profession before joining a team focused on education solutions where I am now.

In short, my career in education grew from a positive school life experience to something broader and more idealistic—to affect the Education environment of the Philippines at large. Many will consider this an untraditional path but my upbringing was anything but conventional. My parents augmented my education with travel, uncensored media exposure, mainly reading, and many interactions with people who would teach me a lesson or two or three about life.

As I did not earn a full bachelor’s degree in Education, I have to take 18 Education units to qualify for the LET. But beyond that, I hope to learn more as I prepare for a teaching license required by the Philippine government before one can return back to the classroom. My objectives are to:

1. Join the community of people in the profession through the normal professional pathway;
2. Look at the quality of educational programs in the country;
3. Apply a design-thinking approach to issues in education as encountered by education programs of the country;
4. Examine the philosophy and psychology of teaching as currently explored by education programs in the country;
5. Experience how practitioners pursue the Licensure Exam for Teachers (LET); and,
6. Explore the significance and effectiveness of the LET as a performance indicator for teachers.

The question that I hope to explore during this period is whether or not the foundation of good teaching comes from a development of mindset or skill set and which is the focus of a teaching certificate course. I applied for a the 1000-TCP program of PBED and qualified for a scholarship to take the teaching certificate course at a top university. At the end of this period, I am supposed to apply to Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) and take the LET.

What is the LET?

The Licensure Exam for Teachers (LET) is the professional licensing qualifier for those wanting to be a teacher. It is required for those who want to enter the public school teaching force, in particular, but has also become the standard for private education. After two decades of implementation has been criticized for highlighting the quality of education graduates produced by the nation’s colleges.

The LET is was founded in 1994 as Republic Act No. 7836, or An Act to Strengthen the Regulation and Supervision of the Practice of Teaching in the Philippines and Prescribing a Licensure Examination for Teachers and for Other Purposes.
In preparation for the LET, the question that is foremost in my head is “What is the foundation of good teaching: The development of a teaching mindset or of a skill set?”

I am interested in exploring this for several reasons.

First, what makes a good teacher? My current work is focused on finding, developing, and maintaining what we call the “Irreplaceable”— qualities that distinguish high-performing teachers. What are the factors that contribute to the development of high-performing teacher? What qualities do high-performing teachers possess that can be learned and developed?

Second, what should good teachers be teaching? In the 21st century classroom, what teacher traits make for student learning? In a classroom of digital natives, are teachers helping students learn enough for jobs that may not yet exist.

Third, do education programs in higher education institutions (HEIs) adequately prepare teachers for student learning?

Over the next few entries of this blog series, as I explore these questions and more, I will share references, articles and sources about teaching from all over the world that have an impact on my own learning. Although this series is mostly for me to satisfy my own curiosity and help me reflect on my experience, I hope it will help provide insight into the education make-up of the Philippines.

[Sources under the cut]

Philippines, Constitution. “Board of Professional Teachers – History.” PRC Official Website. PRC Official Website – Professional Regulatory Boards, 22 Sept. 1976. Web. 30 July 2014. <http://www.prc.gov.ph/prb/default.aspx?id=38&content=224&gt;.

Dela Cruz, Rolando. “The licensure examination for Teachers: Solution or anomaly?.” Yahoo News Philippines. Yahoo! News, 2 May 2013. Web. 30 July 2014. <https://ph.news.yahoo.com/licensure-examination-teachers-solution-anomaly-164153228.html&gt;.

Godin, Seth. <www.sethgodin.com>

The New Teacher Project. <http://tntp.org&gt;

Pazzibugan, Dona. “‘Test would-be teachers before they enter college’.” Inquirer News. Philippine Daily Inquirer, 23 Mar. 2014. Web. 30 July 2014. <http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/588229/test-would-be-teachers-before-they-enter-college&gt;.

Pazzibugan, Dona. “LET-ting them be what they want to be.” Inquirer News. Philippine Daily Inquirer, 20 May 2014. Web. 30 July 2014. <http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/412545/let-ting-them-be-what-they-want-to-be&gt;.