Filipino Teacher in USA - Short Story part 1


Lessons of an Imported Teacher

Prince George's County needed teachers. Mabel Ventura left the Philippines to fill the gap -- and earn a paycheck to help her family back in Manila.

Lips pursed, Flora Gaskin took a step toward the 130 new Prince George's County teachers sitting in the lecture hall. Mabel Ventura was perched in the last row, but even she leaned back as if pushed by the force of the towering woman's voice.

"No." Gaskin repeated, her dark curls shaking.

This, the former Prince George's school principal told the group, was how firm and confident they must be in their classrooms if they were going to survive the school year. The new teachers had been recruited from the Philippines, where such stern voices aren't usually necessary.

This was the fourth year that the county had hired teachers from the Philippines, an increasingly popular source of manpower for U.S. school systems. In Prince George's, the Filipinos were scattered throughout the county, teaching pre-kindergarten through high school, and all topics, from special education to math, science and gym. Mabel, a 46-year-old petite mother of three, was assigned to teach first grade at Samuel P. Massie Elementary in Forestville, where six other Filipino teachers -- one-fifth of the school's classroom instructors -- were posted.

To many school officials, Filipino teachers are ideal job candidates. The mostly female recruits speak English, hold advanced degrees and pass internationally recognized teaching exams. And they see the salaries offered here as small fortunes. But for all their enthusiasm and experience, they first have to learn how to manage unruly American students.

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