NAGA City, Jan. 29, 2015 – Before the “Pope Francis fever”, there was joy and zeal emanating from an educational encounter when an inspirational speaker reminded more than 700 Catholic educators about their calling to transform young people into better versions of themselves.

According to Bro. Roberto “Obet” Cabrillas, who gave the keynote address for the recent 5th annual CEACAL Teachers’ Congress at the Unibersidad de Sta. Isabel (USI) Auditorium on Jan. 9, educators are “phenomenal people.”

Inspirational speaker Bro. Roberto "Obet" Cabrillas gives the keynote address for the 5th annual CEACAL Teachers' Congress at the Unibersidad de Sta. Isabel (USI) Auditorium, Jan. 9, 2015. (Photo: Natalie Hazel Quimlat)

In a the speech themed “The Transformative Role of Catholic Educators in a Changing World”, Cabrillas, one of the most in demand motivational speakers in the country, said teachers’ remarkable contribution in the field of Catholic education as “builders, reformers and healers” cannot be underrated.

Better versions

Even Pope Francis cannot stress the importance of quality education enough, said the speaker, more popularly known as ‘Daddy O’. Teaching means going out of oneself and into the streets to teach, to enlighten and to bring the joy of the Gospel, said Cabrillas.

At the heart of the lay preacher’s message is the ordinary word: teacher. The author of Spell out your Love and Tanong mo kay Daddy O redefined the common term, giving it a deeper and more profound meaning. According to him, the word, TEACHER, is an acronym that stands for the most important characteristics an educator must have:

  • T-ransforms
  • E-mphatizes
  • A-ccepts
  • C-ares
  • H-armonizes
  • E-mpowers, and
  • R-estores

Cabrillas explained that what makes a teacher an agent of transformation is not his syllabus or his lesson plans, but his attitude towards his vocation as an educator, his ability to bring out “better versions” of his students, while being one with them.

Keep extending yourself

He said the noblest profession is not a day-to-day job but is life itself; life to the fullest. Hence, the act of educating, Cabrillas stressed, must be “life-giving.”

In addition, the speaker emphasized the need to focus and target the six life quotients, not only in transforming students but more so in restoring and healing them. These life quotients are the IQ (intelligent quotient); EQ (emotional quotient); SQ (spiritual quotient); AQ (adversity quotient); WQ (wealth quotient); and PQ (physical quotient).

Cabrillas exhorted that “teachers [should] be agents” of a child’s development.

“A great teacher inspires and the key is to keep extending yourself,” he said. (Natalie Hazel Quimlat/CBCPNews)