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Sir Macs: Of leadership, travel blogs, and Starstruck

Monday, May 4, 2015

Mr. Jan Erwin Macam is the Administrator, Human Resources Manager, and Registrar of the Malayan High School of Science.

Mr. Jan Erwin O. Macam, or “Sir Macs” as students would fondly call him, is the current Admin Officer of Malayan High School of Science. For seven years, Sir Macs has been liked by most students because of his bubbly attitude. Get to know his life after school, his interests, his insights on things of some sort, and what makes him cry.

1. What is your usual schedule from waking up to sleeping?
Every day, I go straight to school. After school, there come my other activities – for example, meetings with the Rotary. When I come home, I browse the Internet and social media accounts; I monitor the Facebook accounts of MHSS. I often spend time with high school friends, because right now we are planning a reunion.

2. What’s your designation in the Rotary?
Before, I was the Rotaractor. I became President of the Rotaract Club of Manila Metro, in 2010. Two years after, I became the District Rotaract Representative, which covers Manila, Pasay Cavite, Occidental Mindoro. Again, two years after, I became the Chairman of the Multidistrict Information Organization – meaning I govern all Rotaract clubs of the Philippines. Just recently, we chartered a new club, the Rotary Club of Metro Escolta – I am a charter member and acting as sergeant-at-arms.

3. Why did you join the Rotary Club?
I was the President of the College of Education Student Council at UST. And I was finding a venue to continue the practice of my leadership skills, luckily, my co-teacher in Southridge before, a member of the Rotaract Club, introduced me to their organization. I saw a great similarity between Rotaract and the Student Council, so I was inspired to join.

4. Have you initiated projects with Rotaract? What was the project that had the biggest impact, or the most unforgettable project for you?
Yes, during my tenure as President. The most noble of our projects was termed “Big Kuya” that is a literacy project done every Saturday. We taught values formation to elementary kids, straight for six months. After which, they had a mini-graduation. As a result of the success of this project, we had the lessons made into a module. I was happy because I saw improvement in the children. Through this project, we were able to provide them with orientation about values and character.

5. From what school did you graduate? What was your course?
I graduated from the University of Sto. Tomas, with the degree of BS Secondary Education, major in English.

6. How long have you been teaching?
Yes, right after graduation, I spent my first two years of teaching at Southridge. After that, I applied here at Malayan in 2008. I taught English here from 2008-2013. Today is my seventh year here. During my sixth year, I was the acting Admin. When I first became admin, Dr. Vea permitted that I teach English while discharging my role as admin. This year, I should not be teaching anymore, unless the need arises.

7. Why did you like to become a teacher? Was this a passion of some sort?
There were two things that I really wanted to do: to become a journalist or a teacher. That is why when I applied for a degree in college, I only had two choices. It just so happened that I was both waitlisted in my Journalism option in UP and UST. So, I took it as a sign that I am more for teaching.

8. How do you define teaching?
For me, teaching is more of sharing what you know, sharing your wisdom to the students. You just don’t teach to impart knowledge, but also to have an impact on them, to inspire. So most of my classes, specifically literature-based, are related to daily life – how they can adapt to a specific situation based on the literature.

9. Have you established friendship with the students? Were there any feedbacks that their lives have been touched by you?
One thing students would tell they love about me is my comedic attitude – my class is really happy. I think they will always remember the “JEPZone” – Just English Please Zone. In my class, the students are not allowed to speak in Filipino. Many of them say that because of that practice, their confidence to speak the language was developed. The alumni will always visit me here or message me on Facebook saying, “Sir thank you, because I can use our lessons in high school.” One memorable experience I had is with a varsity player who became my student. I was never expecting that this varsity player would remember our lesson on business letter writing. When he had a business letter lesson in English at NU, his work was the only one correctly written, because he remembered our lesson  – which led to his exemption from the Prelim Exams. This and many others were experiences I remember.

10. What is the most rewarding thing about your Admin job?
This job has endowed me with maturity – maturity in decision-making, dealing with issues. Before, I was only teaching, but now I see the bigger picture on how the school is run. The most rewarding experience for me is the learning.

11. Did your experiences with the Rotary equip you better in handling the Admin job?
Yes, most definitely. I was able to attend several seminars and trainings with the Rotary, seminars about customer service and management, which helped me perform my duties well.

12. What are your hobbies and interests?
Actually, when I am not in school, besides Rotary, I’m into sports. But because I gained weight, I’m now not into the more physical sports. Lately, I’m learning billiards. So you will always see me in billiard places. I also love reading blogs, travel and food blogs, because I want to become a blogger myself. I will attempt to blog. I might start next month, with travel as subject. I realized that I’ve already been to many places here in the Philippines and I am planning to return to all of them this year. I also plan to go abroad this year, I’ve been to Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, I think going abroad is the next step.

13. Any more hobbies?
I dance, I love to dance, but I’m a frustrated singer. Before, I joined contests. As a matter of fact, I joined Starstruck because I wanted to become an artist. I like soulful music. I want to watch movies – specifically Brad Pitt movies.

14. How do you deal with difficult people or situations?
One thing I learned, first with people, is that you should cool their heads first before talking with them. You just have to deal with them professionally; don’t let emotions get the best of you. With difficult situations, I would always seek advice of Dr. Mateo before making a decision. If he’s not available, I would consult former colleagues at Southridge and friends at UST. I also read books, self-help books, especially when there are legalities involved.

15. What is your greatest asset as an educator?
I’m very much open to the students when it comes to them making mistakes. I always encourage them by saying that it’s alright to commit mistakes as long as you correct it. As a teacher, I have always been inspired by the story titled “Three Letters from Teddy.” I would say my greatest asset as an educator is my openness to my students and I letting them take part in the process of learning. On a more personal note, I also have a colorful personality and a good command of the English language. In my English classes, I never speak Filipino.

16. What makes you laugh? What makes you cry?
What makes me laugh – simple things like pick-up lines, especially from Miriam Santiago. I always laugh at her jokes. I laugh at simple jokes, awkward moments. What makes me cry – moments you wanted to achieve something but you weren’t able to. You could have achieved it, but there were other factors out of your control that hindered these from realizing.

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