"Ako ay gurong hindi nagtuturo upang mabuhay. Ako'y gurong nabubuhay upang magturo.”
Teacher Rex De Jesus-Bibal or T.Rex, as he is fondly called, was born in a small barrio in Oriental Mindoro where even electricity supply couldn’t reach, up until he was in high school. is parents, whose lives depended on farming, struggled just to send him and his six other siblings to school. He vowed to step out of this situation and make a difference in their lives through becoming a professional teacher.
Nothing stopped him from being true to his promise. He finished both elementary and secondary schooling as the Class Valedictorian. Despite the discomfort of leaving his family, he pursued college at the Philippine Normal University (PNU) in Manila where he exuded all his passion for studying. Every time he would be discouraged, he would look back to where he came from, think about his parents and their thankless farming, and reminisce on his childhood days when he dreamt without restraint.
His hard work started to pay off as he emerged academically and became a recipient of five scholarship grants. In 2014, he obtained his Education degree as Magna Cum Laude and the top of the Faculty of Arts and Languages class at PNU. One of the scholarships he received was the Australian Government and Philippine Business for Education’s 1000 Teachers Program (1000 TP).
Rex claims to owe his success to his family, his teachers, as well as to 1000 TP, now expanded to a wider teacher education scholarship program called Scholarships for Teacher Education Programs to Upgrade Teacher Quality in the Philippines (STEP UP).
“This scholarship was not the typical scholarship grant which only extends financial help,” says Rex. “I They help in full circle. Aside from the free tuition and allowances, they give benefits which no value of money can ever buy.”
It complements the university in training us to not be just ordinary teachers but outstanding teachers-- in content, pedagogy, professionalism, nationalism, and integrity,” he adds.
“PBEd provided us mentoring sessions that really helped me in becoming more inspired and more dedicated towards my studies and future career. My superb mentor sharpened the saw in me. She also monitored my progress up until I became a licensed professional teacher. Gratefully, she became my mother during the times I was miles away from home.”
The scholarship provided Rex and the other scholars free educational and cultural tour, and mentoring, along with a series of professional development sessions with multi-awarded and outstanding teachers in the country as part of the mentoring program. “These mentors highlighted that great teachers are not born, they are made,” Rex recalls.
Today, Rex is on his fourth year of service in the Department of Education, teaching English at Calamaba City Science High School. He claims that the influence of 1000 Teachers Program lingers. He is eager to pass on every bit of it forward to each Filipino student seated in his classroom. Rex had accomplished notable contributions that yielded significant effects to himself, his learners, and his community.
“Generally, a teacher lives for service and dies in service. He spends almost half of their lifetime mastering lesson plans, school forms, home visitations, grades, instructional materials, gardening, deworming, counseling, not to mention he is, of course, teaching. All of these entail sacrifice – time for family, friends, relationships, and self. Nevertheless, he still stays, for the fulfillment is beyond compare,” declares Rex.
A teacher who wants to spark change, Rex regards educators as people who touch beyond academics. They help build character among their learners-- enough to transform the world to an amazing one we all dream it to be.