A Gen Z from Taytay, Rizal received praises from the online community after he shared his life as an intern SPED teacher.
21-year-old Clarenz Sunny Nalaunan found his passion and happiness in teaching kids with special needs as early as high school.
“When I was in high school, I have classmates mga deaf po sila. From there, parang nagkaroon lang po ng magic na nakita ko sila, they are talking to each other, sila-sila lang, and ako gusto ko pong pumasok sa world na meron po sila. From there nag-ignite po ‘yung passion ko sa pagtuturo ng mga batang nakakaramdam na hindi sila belong,” Clarenz told The Philippine STAR.
“I find it amazing, I find it wonderful na they are talking to each other in a different language, in a different form. As an explorer and as a learner, who loves the idea of education, of learning, parang gusto ko rin po ‘yung matutunan. Gusto ko rin pong maka-penetrate sa kanilang mundo,” he added.
Growing up, Clarenz dreamt of being a teacher someday. He added that he knows how it feels to be indifferent after he became a victim of bullying when he was young.
“Kaya naman po ako napunta sa landas ng SPED ay dahil I’m an advocate for inclusivity. When I was a kid, I [was] a victim of bullying. I experienced firsthand how it feels to be excluded. Parang walang batang pumapansin sa ‘yo, like you’re different from other kids,” he shared.
His parents are both hands on with community work. That is why at an early age, he already participated in different activities.
“Almost half of my life, I served kids, and I served community, na-realize ko na service is something that I am passionate about,” he said.
He is currently a fourth-year special needs in education student at Our Lady of Fatima University Antipolo.
According to Clarenz, his assignment to the SPED class was unexpected.
“Together with my classmates, napunta po kami sa SPED Department, dahil doon po mas kailangan ng tulong. Doon po mas kailangan ng support, ng mga tao, ng manpower. So from that experience, being with the kids, doon po talaga nakita ko po ‘yung mundo po na ginagalawan nila,” he noted.
Clarenz is now in the middle of his internship at the Francisco P Felix Memorial National Highschool and he is now more eager to do his best for the kids.
“’Yung pagiging SPED teacher po, it requires a lot. A lot of patience, a lot of understanding, effort, and also, love for the kids. ‘Yung sign language po kasi it is more than just the technicality of the sign. It is like exposing yourself, like being with them. Kailangan po facial expressions, importante po siya para ma-convey mo po ‘yung message,” Clarenz stressed.
“When you’re standing in front and seeing the kids say that they understand, it’s another level of fulfillment. I’m beyond words. Parang wala pong salita na makakapantay po sa nararamdaman ko. Natututo po sila, sumasaya, ngumingiti,” he added.
Clarenz hopes to inspire more people to try considering this teaching path to help individuals with special needs.
“If you are one na capable na magmahal, umintindi, at magpasensya, piliin mo rin ‘yung course. Marami po sa mga bata na natatakot din po kasi. ‘Yung special education, it is a very different course, kakaunti, very unique. ‘Wag kang matakot maging kakaiba, kasi kung hindi ikaw ‘yung maniniwala sa dream mo, eh di sino?” he said.