Like grandmother, like grandson

In Philippine culture, adults focus on children, rarely on themselves. Only after his grandmother passed away did current Faculty of Education student, Michael Quiambao, learn she had been a nationally recognized teacher in Bangued, Philippines. She lived to see him enter university, knowing he wanted to become an educator.

“My lola (grandmother) was my biggest supporter and motivator,” says Michael Quiambao. “She was proud of me going to the University of Lethbridge.”

Michael Quiambao's goal is to be a role model for his students.

Quiambao’s grandmother started him on his teaching journey. Along the way he met more mentors.

“I was a visible minority in a Caucasian area,” he says. “I didn’t see the importance of my own culture. In junior high I had low self-esteem, but a teacher saw something in me and took the time to know and encourage me. Without him I wouldn’t be where I am.”

Quiambao names other educators who inspired their students, fuelling in him a desire to do the same. In 2014, the kinesiology major completed his Professional Semester II (PSII) in Brooks, Alta., with teacher mentor Jared Hofer.

“I learned a lot from him,” says Quiambao.

Hofer put students first, and was there for them beyond school hours.

In Brooks, Quiambao helped with the badminton team, the ‘Iron Chef Cookoff,’ and preparing free lunches for students. He has worked with the YMCA and the Boys and Girls Club (on a farm to experience rural life) and at SAIT to learn about the trades.

“I’m trying to sponge everything I can by putting myself in new environments,” says the lifelong learner, who even tried bull riding.

Today, he realizes the importance of all cultures and strives to carry on the community involvement his grandmother instilled in him.

“One of my biggest goals is learning Tagalog, my language.”

Quiambao hopes to be an approachable teacher who affects students the way his grandmother and others affected him.

“I want to be a role model.”