Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy personally welcomed a group of J1 and special ed teachers from the Philippines.
Before becoming Alaska governor, Dunleavy spent nearly two decades in the Northwest Arctic communities, working as an educator, principal, and as a superintendent. This is why the governor understands the J1 teachers’ sacrifices of leaving their families in the Philippines to come to America and make Alaska their new home. “You are gonna see things and experience things people never experience,” Dunleavy told the teachers.
Andrea Tajale was among the recent batch of educators in Anchorage. She says, it’s a dream come true for her to teach in the United States. “I want to see the diverse culture that Alaska has,” Tajale notes.
Tajale is working at an elementary school and teaches children who have delays in learning in areas such as reading, writing, math, as well as behaviour and social skills. These children have difficulty in coping with general educational settings and environments. “We need a lot of strategies. The children in the Philippines are different from here. There are more factors that need to be addressed.”
Meanwhile, Aia Baylon, another Filipino J1 teacher, says her journey to the US was challenging especially with the country’s different school regulations.
“I have 14 kids, iba iba ang differences, iba iba ang level. Mostly na-autism spectrum disorder sila. Mahirap mag-communicate sa kanila kasi hindi sila masyadong vocal… Isa pang pakikitunguhan mo kung paano mo pakikitunguhan ang mga magulang ng mga bata (I have 14 kids with various differences at different levels. Mostly they fall under autism spectrum disorder. It’s hard to communicate with them because they are not that vocal… Another thing that you have to handle is how you will deal with the parents of the kids),” Baylon adds.
Alaska is among many US states affected by a national teacher shortage due to the pandemic. According to Nelson San Juan, Fil-Am deputy commissioner of the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development, at least 100 teachers from the Philippines have been brought to Alaska in the past few months. However, San Juan says dozens of J1 teachers are still needed to work in villages and other cities in what is dubbed to be America’s last frontier.
Alaska, J1 teachers, special ed teachers, Filipino teachers, teacher shortage, TFC News