Hate math? CSC awardee made dreaded subject lovable for learners

A civil servant from Sorsogon City employed a variety of teaching tools and methods to spark the interest of students in Mathematics and dispel their fear of numbers.

Elementary school children wearing face masks sit in a classroom on Natuna island in Riau islands province on 4 February, 2020. (File photo MANILA BULLETIN)

Markson B. Mejia, a former teacher at Celestino G. Tabuena National High School, took up the challenge of making his students fall in love with Mathematics, a typically dreaded subject and managed to create a fun learning environment where students could memorize and apply formula and problem-solving techniques through games, puzzles, and jingles.

In a statement, the Civil Service Commission detailed how Mejia was both methodical and inclusive in monitoring and ensuring his students’ progress. CSC said that he launched his advocacy project, “No More Dyscalculia, Kayang-Kaya ang Mathematika”, to help students with numerical learning disabilities. Through diagnosis of his students’ level and learning needs, he was able to identify the appropriate strategy for high performers and slow learners alike.

As a result, Mejia’s students were able to see progress in their grades. Their math skills also helped them prepare for higher education. Even in college, his former students still remember the jingles and puzzles that helped them understand important mathematical principles.

“Laging sinasabi nila Mathematics daw ay napakahirap na asignatura. Kaya naman gumawa ako ng maraming kaparaanan upang mapadali ang pagkatuto ng ating mga mag-aaral (They always say that Mathematics is a very hard subject. That’s why I made a way to make it easy for the students to learn),” he said.

“Nagkaroon ng malaking impact ‘yung mga nabahagi ko sa ibang mga guro na materials sa pagtuturo ng Mathematics. Ito ay nakatulong para ma-achieve namin ‘yung zero non-numerates sa aming division (The materials I handed to math teachers made a great impact in their teaching. It helped us achieve zero non-numerates in our division),” he added.

During the pandemic, CSC saidt that he created ways of engaging students outside the classroom. He used Facebook to continue deploying math quizzes or word problems, and gave out prizes such as prepaid credits out of his own pocket to entice students to learn math even at home.

Mejia also reached out to sick and indigent students who found it difficult to continue their education because of their circumstances. He provided grocery packs and learning materials, and monitored their progress.

He devoted extra time to students needing special attention, like in the case of a student with a heart illness who was bullied for doing poorly at school. He would go to her house after work hours to help with her modules. The student eventually regained interest in her studies and her parents described her as happy and energetic with her newfound learning competencies.

Now an Education Program Specialist II at the Department of Education-Sorsogon City Division focusing on the monitoring and evaluation of public and private schools and learning centers, Mejia attributes his strong sense of community and love of education with his own experience growing up, and his parents giving their all just for him to finish his education. In return, he is now also providing for his family.

Mejia’s dedication to his craft and selfless display of public service earned him the Outstanding Public Officials and Employees or the Dangal ng Bayan Award in 2021. He was picked among hundreds of nominees of the Search for Outstanding Government Workers.

Markson was awarded the Dangal ng Bayan, which is conferred on an individual for performance of an extraordinary act or public service and consistent demonstration of exemplary ethical behavior on the basis of observance of the eight norms of conduct provided under Republic Act No. 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees. Recipients of the DNB receive a gold-gilded medallion, fiberglass bronze trophy designed by National Artist for Sculpture, Napoleon V. Abueva, cash reward of P200,000, and are entitled to automatic promotion to the next higher position.

The CSC is once again looking for exemplars in public service who can be nominated to the 2022 Search for Outstanding Government Workers.

All government workers in the career and non-career service including appointive barangay officials may be nominated. Employees who are under job order or contract of service are excluded from the coverage of the program.

Deadline of submission of nominations is on March 31, 2022. Nominations must be submitted to the CSC Regional or Field Offices. Guidelines and other pertinent information are available from the CSC website at www.csc.gov.ph.

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