Posted September 21, 2011on:
I stumbled on this documentary on PBS last night. The Learning is the latest creation of Ramona Diaz (remember Imelda?). It documents the lives of 4 Filipino teachers and their journey to Baltimore, MD to teach inner city public school children. As each of their stories unfold, we are shown the very real and very painful costs of migrating. Apart from spending about $7k to come to the United States, there is the stressful cost of leaving young children and spouses behind – the cost of breaking an otherwise intact family unit for better financial opportunities in the U.S. Armed only with their staunch traditional Filipino values, their love for their craft and their fantasies of the American Dream, these 4 teachers learn that the only way to survive the harsh realities of Baltimore is to hold on to these same values, to their love for teaching and to each other. Check out the trailer below.
Apparently, the United States is aggressively recruiting teachers from the Philippines. I just find it ironic how they came to the Philippines more than 100 years ago to “evangelize” us with their English speaking education system and now they’re back in the Philippines recruiting. You can catch the interview of the filmmaker here.
If you can get hold of this documentary, I highly recommend you watch this. While I cannot imagine the humility and pain they feel shepherding American children when they left their own children that need shepherding themselves, I can connect with that feeling of motivation to keep going even if you really aren’t sure where this will lead you. I can connect with the loneliness and alienation, that feeling of not belonging. Yan ang buhay OFW! So let’s make these 4 teachers, Dorotea (love her!), Rhea, Grace and Angel (representing other teachers, nurses, caregivers, etc. that are abroad) Kiki and lala land’s heroes for this month.