Teacher Nemie: A Story of Learning and Teaching Perseverance
February 22 2024

Teacher Nemie: A Story of Learning and Teaching Perseverance

Parents will always be a child’s first teacher, even more so if said parent has been a teacher first and foremost. Teacher Nemie’s life is the embodiment of learning and teaching, for herself, for her children, and her students. 

Teacher Nemie has been teaching for 16 years and counting, and she is currently teaching Grade 1 students in an elementary school in Tacloban. Education is a huge part of her life, something her mother in SOS Children’s Villages has instilled in her the value of raising her four sons. 

The road to being a teacher was a long and arduous one for Nanay Nemie, one that she initially did not choose. 

Nemie was 12 when SOS Children’s Villages took her in after she lost both of her biological parents. As she lived in her new home, her new mama, Mama Rufina, ensured that Nemie focused on her education, and for that to be her main and only priority. Her mama didn’t even let her and the other children in the house do chores a lot if it meant they got to focus on studying. 

Not only was Mama Rufina determined to make sure Nemie didn’t fall behind in their studies, but she also saw potential in her. Nemie didn’t originally want to take a degree in education. But her mama insisted that she take the course because she sees that Nemie has what it takes to be a teacher. Nemie heeded her mama’s wish to pursue an education degree. She decided to see what the course offers and decide for herself once she graduates. 

When Nemie reached high school, she decided to live independently through only her hard work. Through learning how to save money, and living on only her saved money without asking help from anyone did Nemie learn how to be responsible for her own life. Even if she got into the good graces of her relatives in the area, Nemie worked her hardest to prove to SOS Children’s Villages that she could stand on her own two feet. “I will uphold my decision to live independently because I chose this life.” 

Her hard work paid off well after graduating from college. Teacher Nemie became the first person from SOS Children’s Village Tacloban to pass the LET, and her achievement inspired many others in the village to follow in her footsteps. Even after graduation, Nemie continued working hard so that she could be self-sustaining. From filing her application to LET all the way to becoming a teacher, Nemie persevered and steered her ship. 

Teacher Nemie is currently teaching Grade 1 in an elementary school in Tacloban. Her dedication to teaching is vibrant both in and out of work. Image by Koleen Dionisio.

Nemie’s first teaching job was at a private school. She is what they would call a “dancing teacher” because of her lively and animated way of teaching and her effectiveness and efficiency. “It’s a good thing I heeded my mama's words”, was what she thought when she realized that she had the knack for teaching that Mama Rufina saw in her. 

Her dedication to being a teacher was also reflected in how she raised her four sons. In everything they do, Teacher Nemie and her husband always impart life lessons to them. Whether they do chores or have simple conversations at the dinner table, they always make sure there’s a lesson to impart. They’re preparing their sons early for when they have their own families in the future. 

Teacher Nemie is also heavily invested in her sons’ education, especially in their youth. Right now, her husband encourages their sons to take a course in medicine because they can provide for it. 

She would pin all their medals to a dedicated spot on their wall, to motivate their children to keep striving in their studies. Maybe her children won’t see her and her husband’s efforts yet, but once they grow up to stand on their own feet, they will know why their parents work hard for them. 

And the children do see their parents’ efforts to raise them. “The children will absorb what their parents show them. In return, they will reflect those actions.” Because their sons are always given encouragement and the right amount of pressure to achieve, because they have parents who commit to raising them to be their best selves, Teacher Nemie has built a loving family and home. 

She would fondly talk about how her sons still see her and their father in their futures. They aim to expand their house so that everyone has their own space to be, and her sons would happily pitch in ideas that can come from a child who is more than happy to dream high. Her children grew up optimistic, compassionate, and knowing how to face difficulty in stride. Teacher Nemie knew what it was like to lose her parents, so she made sure to give 110% to make sure her sons were very loved. 

Being a parent makes you your children’s first teacher. Loving your children means teaching them what they need to do to be their best selves. 


Article by Franchesca Palomo


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