SM Scholar Alumna pursues a career in
Teaching surpasses the realms of jobs
or professions–it encompasses service, vocation, and life mission.
Proving this day and night are millions
of Filipino teachers who stand as second mothers to students. One of them is
Rosalie Macaspac, an SM scholar alumna who chose to pursue a career in Special
Choosing to teach, especially pursue
SPED, is a path less travelled. Out of over 800,000 public school teachers,
only about 4,000 are in SPED, and Rosalie is one of the few who took the path.
For 21 years now, the SM scholar alumna has dedicated her life to teaching SPED
students. She wanted to empower and give special children a voice by advocating
the welfare of deaf learners.
Rosalie Macaspac (left) interprets the
contents of the program for her students.
With much dedication and determination
to have the right skills for her students, she pursued graduate studies in
special education and Filipino sign language at the Philippine National
University and De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde, respectively.
She currently teaches at the Philippine
School for the Deaf in Pasay, the only government-owned institution for the
deaf in the country. Here, she spearheaded the numeracy skills training program
for deaf learners.
Embedding grit, greatness
Her journey to becoming an educator was
not easy. Her parents separated when she was three years old, and her mother
became the breadwinner.
“In the early years of my life as a
three year old, awareness of how hard life is became a part of my growing up. I
grew up with a mindset that whatever happens, I will not abandon my studies.
Sensing my determination, my mother earned a living by washing and ironing
clothes of our neighbors. I came to realize my mom had to wash and press
thousands and thousands of clothes so I could finish my studies. But I did not
pity myself. Instead, I kept a strong determination to battle on and promised
my mother that she will not grow old and die as a laundry woman,” she said.
The weight on their shoulder became
heavier when her mother became bedridden for half a year. Instead of slowing
her down, it did the opposite. She continued her studies with much
determination. With the help of her uncle, the Missionaries of Charity, and the
puto bigas she sold, they could get by.
She finished primary school with good
grades, and was a consistent honor student in high school, despite having one
centavo allowance and rice and coffee as meals. With good standing, she had her
mind set on her next goal: going to college.
“Giving up or surrendering wasn’t in my
vocabulary. The strong heart of my mother was passed on to me as she was my
inspiration to strive to get us out of the predicament we were in,” she
“When I was in fourth year high school,
I was deep in thought of what to do to support my college education. Then, God in all His goodness, stepped in
again. The Guidance Office in our school announced that the SM Foundation was
offering scholarships for qualified students. I knew at that very moment that
He was with me. All I had to do is to apply for the scholarship,” she recalled.
Rosalie (fifth from left) and her fellow scholar alumni
take a photo with SMIC Executive Director Harley Sy (third from left)
She vividly remembers sending her SM
College Scholarship program application at the Customer Service of the SM in
Quiapo and how she learned on May 9, 1995 that she would be interviewed for the
scholarship in room 214 of the MSE Bldg. The three-digit number has since
become unforgettable for her. By June 1995, Macaspac was among the SM scholars
who had started their college education under the scholarship program.
According to her, the scholarship
helped her become a well-rounded individual. It was the key to the realization
of her dreams and paved the way to success. The activities provided by SM
Foundation, such as the scholars’ assembly, the orientation, leadership
training, sports fest and annual retreat, were very memorable for her.
“Looking back, the retreats, monthly
meetings and being able to work in SM as an employee, followed up by our
project director boosted my self-esteem and opened my world to service,” she
Rosalie at the Philippine School for the
Before teaching, she first worked as a
Merchandise and Planning Control-Clerk at the SM Head Office, which was then
located in Calle Echague, Manila. She was hired immediately after college.
Working in DepEd has always been her
dream, and she is proud of where she is today: “Since day one of my college
days, I aimed to be a public-school teacher. I am happy with my work now as a
High School Teacher for Deaf learners. I am so privileged that I am in this
community and my heart is entwined with my students.”
“I am not ashamed to tell my colleagues
that I had a humble beginning and I thank SM Foundation for putting me where I
am now. I owe these blessings to SM, Henry “Tatang” Sy, SM Foundation, Ma’am
Nilda Bernaldez, and my fellow SM-Scholars, most especially, my mother. They
are all the instruments to why I chose to give back to a special community and
dedicate my life to being an effective SPED teacher.”