Filipino teachers in Thailand are known to be practical hard workers and undoubtedly flexible in terms of dealing with the intricate situations in their respective workplaces. In fact, one of the Caucasians I personally know kiddingly described a Filipino teacher in Thailand as “someone who has always something to prove.” And in a very subjective point of view, every Filipino teacher in Thailand DOES have something to prove both in a positive and in a negative way that is. There are those Filipino teachers who feel the need to bring themselves up and then brand themselves as ‘somebody.’ Such attitude is obviously self-rewarding, and may appropriately and sarcastically be labeled with my Caucasian friend’s description. However, it is inspiring to know that despite of the unusual social status (lower than the farangs (westerners) we get from the Thai society where in we are placed in a hierarchy, there are those Filipino teachers who truly are able to do something fruitful for the benefit of the Filipino teaching community and for the foreign teaching community as a whole. I have to say that these Filipino teachers do not need to prove something for they already are proven. And I can name a few of the many.
Ms. Hedda Joy Tady Tan
Hedda works in one of the prestigious International schools in Bangkok. She ‘abandoned’ her nursing degree and devoted her time in mastering the arts and crafts of teaching English as a second language. Her informative articles on the techniques and strategies in teaching English as a second language can be found at www.heddatan.com. In her article called “My Game Plan” she wrote:
“Remember, as a teacher, there is tremendous power in you to make or unmake a child, and thus, an individual. Take good care of that power, and use it to shape remarkable minds!”
Teaching in an International school requires ideal standards of teaching. Thus, much time is devoted in preparing, planning and implementation of their lesson plans. An ample time is also self-imposed for their own professional growths. An International school teacher just like any another teacher needs to abreast himself with what are new and effective in the field of teaching. What makes Hedda WANTED in the teaching profession is her desire to learn new things related to her profession and her unselfish sharing of these contemporary bodies of knowledge. She is even more NEEDED in the community due to her undying energy in making herself available for meet-ups with almost all Filipinos with different careers in Thailand; and her strong support to individuals who have potentials to be leaders and supporters is exemplary. Hedda is popularly known as ‘Madam H’ of the Siam Pinoy Online Community. Together with her other half, they started this Filipino online community almost ten years ago. Now, they continue tilling this important cyber abode along with the rest of Filipinos who find it a ‘home away from home.’
As one of the core leaders of the Filipino teaching community, she empowers the Filipino teachers through her intelligent writings, inspirational talks and persistent leadership. In her one of the talks during the workshop for Filipino teachers in April 2008, she challenged each and everyone to continue upholding and safeguarding the image of Filipino teachers in the Kingdom by arming themselves with professional competence and quality teaching performance. She brought a very timely inspiration by retorting:
“Do not be intimated from our western counterparts…instead learn from them for they’ve got something that we can learn from…do not shy away from making yourself and your career better just because a general stereotyped-negative feedback on how we use the English language in teaching echoes around the country especially in the big cities…instead show them that you are brave enough to overcome your single weakness with your numerous strengths in teaching.”
Many Filipinos in Thailand are inspired by her verbal encouragement as well. The motivation of starting this blog came from her and her husband, Master J ( the owner and webmaster of Siam Pinoy) which proves that they do inspire others just like me to harness their potentials.
A few attempted to downgrade their spirits but all of them failed. Hedda and Master J founded an institution here in Thailand…an institution that is far from the grasps of self-motivated individuals! Siam Pinoy – the undoubtedly top online Filipino community in Thailand…a child they bore and others adopted as their own.
Hedda Tan…a caring mother….a hardworking teacher… a community leader…and most of all, a dear friend!
Hedda and I during our very first Filipino Teachers'Workshop held in Chiangmai: