Rainier David interviewed Theology professor, Ms. Stephanie Puen, recipient of the Best InTACT Professor award for Teacher’s Appreciation Week 2015.
Rainier David (RD): Hi Ma’am! First of all, congratulations for winning Best InTACT Professor.
Stephanie Puen (SP): Thank you!
RD: So it means you’re InTACT Faci po this year? What block po yung ini-InTACT Faci po ninyo?
SP: Yes. T4, the ME block.
RD: What’s that like?
SP: Pinili ko talaga. I asked if I could get an ME block because I really wanted a block that I could really help in, in terms of their college life—questions about the program and about their fit into the program. Because usually, that’s what’s hard. Some of them are there because their parents picked the course for them. [I’m] helping them adjust [to things] like figuring out kung gusto ba talaga nila to stay in the course or not.
RD: Do you believe you deserve this award po, Ma’am?
SP: Honestly, no. This is my first semester to be an InTACT Faci. I was honestly surprised. Parang kasi nakita ko na lang biglang nominated ako. Tapos okay. Then nakita ko na lamang na panalo ako. Tapos sinabi ko, “Huh?” Tapos nagulat din ako. I’m happy! I’m flattered, and I think ‘yung block ko ‘yung nag-nominate sa akin. I’ve seen other InTACT Facilitators who’ve been there for a long time, and I know they’re also good. There’s a part of me that says, “If I could, I would share this with them as well.”
RD: You already said that you felt happy about this and that you felt flattered. What else did you feel regarding having the award?
SP: I was surprised. I didn’t know I would actually be nominated, let alone win. I really did not expect [it]. I mean, it helped me. At least, I know that I’m helping someone. It helps me to continue what I’m doing. This is my first stint in InTACT, and I wasn’t sure about myself if what I was doing was okay. Was I really helping these freshmen? Does this award confirm it? It helps once in a while to know you’re on the right path.
Kumbaga, feedback ni’yo siya sa akin, and it helps me to continue. I’m actually making an impact in student other than my Theology classes.
RD: How do you make things different sa inyong InTACT?
SP: A lot of activities. And I really work well with my SF, my student facilitator. I’m the homeroom adviser, and you have a student facilitator, ‘diba?
RD: A batchmate po.
SP: Batchmate mo, so 3rd year siya. He works well with me. We’re a good team naman because it may be my first run, but when I ask him, “Hey, can we do this?”, or “Can we do this instead?”, he’s very accommodating. [The dynamic] really helps in getting the students to open up, getting the students to enjoy and getting students to, at the very least, see why we’re doing this whole InTACT class.
Why bother going to a one-hour class everyweek? Aside from the whole bonding experience with the block, it’s where you can just ask your questions, especially if you’re adjusting to college. You can ask us and relax; an avenue of sorts for letting things out since it’s an adjustment time. It’s a transition time. I let InTACT be that space for them.
For my block, sobrang stressed sila sa Math at sa Filipino. InTACT becomes that time [for them] to take a deep breath, [to take a] step back. “How are things doing?” aside from us teaching: “Oh, Ateneo rules and regulations,” “Oh, this is what we need to do,” “This is the Ateneo culture.” Aside from those, we just give them a space to be them.
RD: Oh I see po. Obviously, your students were the ones whom voted for you to win this award. What do you want to say anything to them?
SP: Thank you. I’m definitely going to continue doing my best for them, the InTACT class. I’ll definitely continue being an InTACT homeroom adviser because I know it helps. It fuels me to continue innovating and to continue thinking how can I help these students—not just now, but for the future batches [as well].