I have a passion for explaining things.
I bet that sounds funny, and it is, but it has always been true. When I was in third grade I joined (and won) my first essay writing competition ever. From then on, I became fascinated with how I can make stories mean so much more by using the right words. So I grew up learning the crafts that allow me to weave stories and let people know of what I think and feel – basic journalism, poetry, theatre, story-telling, and debate. I’m not the best story-teller there is, but story-telling is my best skill. I am thrilled whenever I see people listen intently to what I’m saying, and am humbly overjoyed when I see their eyes light up, like I finally helped them make sense of something incomprehensible.
This passion led me to the craziest career decision I have made thus far – I taught in a public elementary school for two years via Teach for the Philippines, right after graduation. Don’t get me wrong, I loved and still love the entire experience. I have probably read at least fifty stories to my kids; visited at least sixty homes in the community; learned about the lives of at least a hundred teachers (many of whom are still close friends); and lived through at least 400 tough weekdays hoping that my enthusiasm will show in every bit of my work so that I can encourage my kids to chase their own dreams. These numbers represent my motivation for two years. On the other hand, while I did a lot of what I loved, that is sharing and listening to stories, I also met face to face with the horrors of the country’s public education system. I cannot specify these without at least some righteous anger, so for now it would suffice to say that I had a hard time coping with everything about the system except teaching per se. I stayed for what I loved anyway. Last April, I officially graduated from the fellowship, convinced that by God’s grace, I will work for high quality and equitable education, regardless of my next profession. This will be my advocacy.
Soon after graduation, I began my full-time research job at the University of the Philippines Los Baňos. On the side, however, I volunteered in organizations that work on education and literacy. It was during this time that I also bumped into what would be my first Ed Tech project. I became a Subject Matter Expert for Social Studies with Quipper School. It was a fantastic experience! Although at first I was intimated by the workload, I worked with an amazing team who gave me advice, training, and lots of support. Within a couple of months, our team was able to finish all the materials for Grade 10 Araling Panlipunan. I learned a lot as a teacher and writer; more importantly, I gained respect for the education technology industry. I realized that although the platform is easily accessible to students, on the back end it takes hard work and love for such endeavours to be fruitful. Because the teacher or content maker and the students will not be able to meet personally, foresight fuelled by genuine care for the users is extremely necessary.
Around the same time, I got introduced to Jon, one of Zookal’s CEOs, through a friend who works at a technology company in Singapore. We had a quick chat about what Zookal wants to do in the Philippines and voila, I found my dream start-up. That’s how my journey with the company began. Right now I’m working as Head of Content, but life is full of wonderful surprises – I have learned new things about editing, managing human resources, and recruitment, in just a couple of months! I can hardly wait for the next ones J
Here at Zookal, we believe that high-quality educational materials should be made affordable and accessible for everyone. Through our free app available in both Android and iOS, right now we offer 20,000+ review questions for high school and college entrance tests, as well as for licensure, that people can use to prepare for their big dates. I hope you all download the app and #JoinTheZookalArmy!