The teachers here would happily place any white person in their classroom and watch them teach. This would never happen in the UK, qualifications are compulsory to be able to teach a subject such as English and Maths. Or a teacher who is being trained would at least be observed.
The teachers at my work placement respect me a lot, they'd place me in a classroom with a class and leave me to teach. They say they learn from me, they even ask me for my help. Filipino teachers are so different from the teachers I've had back at home. They sleep during their breaks, they think adding students on Facebook is okay, they're generally much more relaxed with everything. Maybe that's just from what I've seen so far, but the education system in the UK is very strict and formal. I stick to my timetable, but students usually walk in 10 minutes later as I try to look for the teacher and they're about 20 minutes late. Classes are so informal, I begin to worry about the slow pace that the students are working at.
It was my first lesson with grade 7 teaching maths, and I observed the lesson before teaching. It was the first time I had watched the maths teacher teach, and she was hopeless. Her FSL wasn't very good, and she was rushing ahead of herself. I was impressed to see that she was teaching a subject as advanced as ratio and proportion to grade 7, but they did not understand. At all.
She asked me to take over, and I tried my hardest to explain ratio. They couldn't work it out because they didn't understand division. I began to wonder why the teacher went as far as ratio if the students didn't understand division.
I decided to scrap the whole ratio and proportion lesson and focused on division. The students finally understood.
I went up to the teacher and explained that I couldn't teach ratios if they couldn't do the basics. They have to understand the basics first. She looked absolutely exhausted, and thanked me very quietly.
Today is my counterpart's birthday and she turns 23. I gave her a card this morning and she was over the moon. The family cooked us all spaghetti (finally something without rice, although rice was an option, I didn't take it of course!) along with coke and royal (Filipino version of Fanta). My counterpart was telling me about the text from her father, mentioning that he would post her birthday present tomorrow. She showed me the text.
I was shocked.
In the text, the father asked how old she was today.
Never in a million years would I ever think that my own father would forget my age. But then of course, deaf people are neglected. Maybe that is the case - she did mention that communication was a big problem in her family. I just find this kind of heartbreaking, I couldn't imagine a limited amount of communication between me and my family, so little that we're drifted apart enough for them to forget my age.
But she's the most happiest person I've ever met. She's been through the most hardest of times but I've never once seen her unhappy.
I often ask deaf Filipinos whether their families are deaf or hearing. All of the ones I've asked are hearing. And when I explain that my family is deaf, they're always shocked and ask why.
"Were your family ill?"
And then they always apologise. Apparently having a deaf family is a bad thing. A punishment from god. I always explain clearly that's it's not. I'm happy, having a deaf family is a good thing.
A lot of Filipinos say they are deaf because they were ill when they were young. I feel this is because parents give them that excuse to avoid embarrassment. Even deaf parents do the same; they were taught that deafness is a bad thing.
So many times, I've wanted to drag the Filipinos to the UK and see what the western culture is like - how we feel about our deaf identity and that we are proud of it.