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A Teacher's Discovery

It all started in the dorm. I happened to be the dorm volunteer who was assigned to the seniors’ floor, and there I met the founders of ISIP (Integrating Science in the Philippines). I always see them huddled, discussing about their great plans of changing the landscape of the country by getting the youth to appreciate science. From time to time I get involved in their discussions that go all the way from coming up with a corporation, to supporting student researches. On one typical conversation with them, I exclaimed, “If you need me on anything, just tell me. I will do what I can. Never did I know that this will change my life.

Later that month, I had a conversation with Pau, one of the founders. They were in need of an adviser to assist them in a science camp that they had envisioned. I was surprised; I haven’t really had a lot of experience supervising an entire camp, let alone a camp with me as the only adult! However, he held me accountable to my statement, so I said, “Ok, I’ll do what I can.”

The science camp had Discovery as its central theme. The plan was to have high school students from different walks of life (public and private, Grades 7-10, from all over the country) discover the scientific method through lectures, workshops, and games. This will then culminate in a project pitch, where they can somehow apply what they have learned in a project which will address an environmental concern. In all the activities, the recent graduates of Pisay served as the organizers and facilitators, while teachers were there to supervise the events.

While in the camp, I was just amazed on how much these students, both the organizers and the participants, had accomplished. The participants bonded quickly, and they showed that hunger to learn more. They were able to form friendships in the short time that they were in Pisay. On the other hand, the organizers, young as they are, were able to conceptualize and facilitate in workshops and activities. They did an excellent job in demonstrating to the participants that age is not a limitation for them to be able to come up with a successful science camp. 

In some moments during the camp, I thought I was witnessing two different camps: a camp where students learn about science and apply them in life, and another camp where future leaders got their training in handling people, situations and stress. It was such a weird feeling that, young as I thought I was, I felt really old. They all showed zeal (they just had so much energy, I barely kept up with them), idealism (the feeling that everything is possible),  and passion (they were all willing to give their best in everything). I learned loads from my interactions with them. Not only did I have the chance to make an impact in the lives of students, they were also able to make a lasting influence in my life. I got to know who I am, what I can and cannot do, my responsibilities as an educator to inspire the youth, and how to manage events such as camps. Truly, I was able to discover a lot at Discovery.

- Mark Ayaay, Teacher 

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