Arturo DeLuna, who taught first-graders at East Campus during his three-year stay, has already returned to the Philippines. Four other teachers will soon return home. The following is a Q&A about Mr. DeLuna's experience at Varnett.
Q: How would you describe your three years at Varnett?
A: I consider my time at Varnett the most challenging yet very fruitful three years of my
career as a teacher. I had to make lots of adjustments during the first few months, considering that I came from another country where many of teachers' routines and practices are somewhat different from the ways things are done in the United States. However, with the help, guidance, and motivation of my fellow teachers and administrators, I was able to learn things much easier and faster.
Q: What is the most important thing you learned while being in Houston?
A: Accountabilty. Teachers play an important role in the learning and well-being of the youth. I've also learned that Filipino and American students are similar and different in many ways. Houston is also one of the many places in the United States where Filipinos may find a second home.
Q: What is your most memorable moment at Varnett?
A: I enjoyed all the big events in Varnett but I will always remember the Cinco de Mayo of 2012 when I was on the front page of Houston Chronicle (Chronicle photo at right).
Q: What lasting impression would you like to leave on your students?
A: I would like my students to remember me as a teacher who loves them and someone who kept insisting on making them change their behavior for the better that would allow learning to take place.
Q: What are your plans after you return to the Philippines?
A: I will make up for the years that I had never been with my family. I will also continue my work as a teacher and share my experiences and knowledge I have learned from the teacher exchange program that I participated in.
Q: Anything you would like to add?
A: I would like to express my sincerest appreciation to Dr. Annette Cluff, the administrators and staff for giving me this experience of a lifetime. I was living a dream when I worked for Varnett.
Bottom Photo: The five teachers who have or will soon return to the Philippines after working at Varnett for three years are, from left, Nenita Santoyo, Rebecca Llera, Arturo DeLuna, Maria Advincula and Laarni Ancheta.