By Joyce Ann Isidro
Dr. Torregoza is an extraordinary woman: a receiver of a multitude of awards, such as the prestigious Outstanding UNESCO Club Educator, which she received in 2019 for her years of work as an advocate of monitoring and evaluation; a holder of multiple titles, currently working as the Education Program Specialist II in Schools Management, Monitoring, and Evaluation in the Division of Legazpi City; she received her doctoral degree from Bicol College in 2013 with her dissertation entitled “Readiness of Public Secondary Schools on the Implementation of Grade 7 Curriculum under the K to 12 Program,” regarded as excellentisimus with a rating of 98%; she graduated with flying colors in Arellano University in 1990, finishing college as a Magna Cum Laude in Education; but beneath the titles and certificates is a woman with a heart of gold, genuinely dedicated to making the world a better place as a passionate advocate of education.
Before Dr. Paraluman Menorca-Torregoza fulfilled all her goals and achieved her long list of accomplishments, she worked as a nanny overseas. Like most OFWs, she did it so she could help and provide more for her family. Working overseas, truly, is not an easy job. It is isolating and lonely. But her experience abroad was an important one, Paraluman—or, as she is very fondly called, Roma—shared. The experiences she’d gained working as a childcare provider in a foreign country contributed greatly into the person she has become. There, she learned a handful of lessons, such as the value of time, money, and personal health, but the lesson of discipline, to her, was one the one which held the most gravity. Working alone miles away from her home, mingling around a group of people who are immensely different from her, and learning how to deal with having to be exposed to different people every day are just a few of the reasons why being an OFW is not an easy job. But from what Roma so kindly shared, this job was the one that had the greatest impact on her.
“Being an OFW played a major role in my growth as a person because it made me realize that not all lessons can be learned in the four corners of the room,” she said.
Her experience working abroad as a childcare provider greatly influenced and molded her perspective, especially why she firmly believes that the most important components of good education is passion and compassion.
After two years, Roma decided to go back to the Philippines to continue her work as an educator. Being a teacher, she said, is a challenging job. The path she had to take to get to where she is now is long and winding; she had to shed blood, sweat, and tears to become the successful, accomplished woman she is today. Nonetheless, she never forgot to treat the people – especially the students – that she met along the way as humans.
“…as a teacher, we are the molder of the minds and hearts of the learners,” she shared.
“Being a teacher is not easy because it takes a lot of passion, dedication, and patience to become one. We always aim to influence our learners to become better persons and good citizens of this country.”
Now, she works in Legazpi City, Albay as an Education Program Specialist II in Schools Management, Monitoring, and Evaluation. It involves the collection, analyzation, and monitoring of data about the implementation of policies, plans, and programs in different schools.
“I am very passionate about this because it has provided me an opportunity to know more about the performance of schools through data. I learned how significant data is because it serves as the basis of policy making that could be of great help to the school towards improvements and achievements of learners,” she said.
For Roma, the most important lesson she learned as an educator is that if you want to become a teacher, you have to believe in the potential of every student you meet as you are given the responsibility of being the maker of tomorrow’s leaders. After all, the good leaders we have today wouldn’t be half as great if not for the teachers who mentored them during their time.
Perhaps the most important lesson we can pick up from Paraluman is her resolute belief that the end-goal of a good education is not only being academically competent, because more than brains and wit, what our world needs the most are students who are genuine and compassionate.
Her advice on aspiring and fellow educators? “Be the ‘KEY’. Keep Educating Yourself. Continue to share your knowledge and wisdom. Be an inspiration and influence your learners to be better because the lives of the future generation lie on our hands.”
Outside the four walls of the classroom, Roma is a mother and a wife. In their free time, her family raises disaster relief funds, and recently, they gave away bags of rice to frontliners in Legazpi (Read: Family spreads love together, bonds together). It further proves that Roma isn’t just a teacher, for she and her family are people who has a heart for the masses and the marginalized.
As advocates of global citizenship, we can take a page or two out of Roma’s book. While we strive to educate every individual about the different issues surrounding our world and our country, it is just as important to cultivate kindness, understanding, and compassion in the hearts of each citizen. In a society where academic excellence is highly valued, Paraluman’s philosophy is a reminder that we are humans before we were achievers and academics. The right motivation for the things we do shouldn’t be glory or praise, but the desire to lend a hand to the people who need us most.