by MARY NICOLE P. MIRANDA
DESPITE THE many jobs he had, the call of teaching and inspiring students always prevails in John Dale Trogo’s heart. As a Filipino professor, his mission is to equip his students well. This does not only end at the four corners of the classroom and does not limit to the pages of the book; he makes sure it starts from within their roots — their true Filipino identity.
His stepping stones
John Dale Trogo is a Filipino professor at the University. He is also a member of the faculty in the College of Education. Before becoming a professor, he was a trainer in various review centers for the Civil Service and Licensure Exam for Teachers. He also worked as a junior researcher in GMA network, where he was able to travel to different places around the country. He is currently handling the Filipino 1 courses for some of the programs in the Faculty of Arts and Letters. Now that he has transferred to a new environment, he expected that he would have difficulty adjusting. However, he was pleasantly surprised with professionalism and friendliness of the Thomasian community.
“Actually dito sa UST nakakatuwa kasi kahit senior faculty, ‘yung propesyunal na trato sa bawat isa ay maganda, kasi dito sa Educ [College of Education], mararamdaman mo talaga na ‘yung professionalism sa bawat isa at ‘yung community ng mga guro. Noong una, nakakahiya pero noong ilang linggo na lumipas, ang sarap sa feeling na talagang ‘yung mga katrabaho mo ay tinitignan ka bilang parte ng komunidad nila,” he joyfully says.
Every time he goes to his classes in St. Raymund’s building, he would bring a bright and energetic aura in the classroom that gives the class an extra push for his lectures. Trogo’s sessions ensure that students would be able to learn something new while still managing to enjoy the class. Considering that his subject could be difficult for some students, he sees this as a greater challenge for him to experiment with his teaching strategies.
In his time teaching in UST, Trogo always finds joy in interacting with his students. He shares, “Malaya kayo at kritikal kayong mag-isip [ang mga Tomasino]. Hindi kayo ‘yung sumusunod lang sa kung ano ‘yung sinabi. [K]ailangan magkaroon ng interaksyon at kolaborasyon sa bawat isa.”
Work under pressure
As a former trainer for the Civil Service and Licensure Exam for Teachers, he was able to pave his own way to becoming a professor in the University. In fact, he shares how UST eventually became his second home and how he felt welcomed by his co-Thomasian professors.
“Masaya, pero siyempre, hindi sa pressure eh, kailangan mong makisabay sa kung ano ‘yung dapat na ginagawa ng buong komunidad. Kasi nanggaling ako sa ibang paaralan eh, so iba ‘yung kultura. Ngayong pupunta ako dito [sa UST] iba din ang kultura. Kailangan mong sumabay sa kultura na meron dito na nakita kong pinakamaganda sa lahat ng napuntahan kong paaralan”, he delightfully says.
He is grateful that he made the right choice to teach in UST because the people from, the students, faculty, and staff, are truly united. This sense of harmony he felt encouraged him to fully immerse himself in the Thomasian community.
As a Filipino professor, Sir Trogo is very passionate in showing his students the essence of the Filipino language by showing them the country’s rich culture and heritage. He carries this passion to his shared advocacy of keeping the Panitikan courses in tertiary education.
“In-enlighten namin ‘yung mga tao na bakit pa kailangang tanggalin ang Filipino. [B]akit kailangan tanggalin ang wikang Filipino eh una, mali kasi konsepto ng ating pagiging globally competitive. Ang ibig sabihin kasi natin dito ay paggamit ng wikang Ingles para maging trabahador o servant ng mga taong namumuhunan sa Pilipinas which are mga English people. Ang nangyayari, kailangan magaling muna sa pagsasalita ng Ingles para makasabay ka. So may misconception na kapag globally competitive, kailangan magaling sa Ingles,” he thoroughly explains.
Trogo is also a member of Tanggol Wika in La Salle, an organization that advocates to keep the Panitikan and the Filipino language in the tertiary education. With this, he now has a platform to take the necessary actions in addressing such issues.
Without a doubt, new beginnings can be frightening. However, for Trogo, these are opportunities to explore new horizons. Fueled by his passion for teaching the Filipino language, he vows to always instill in his students nationalistic pride. With UST as his new home and Thomasians as his new companions, Trogo cannot wait to turn his dream of having a country unified by language and culture into a reality. F