Going beyond the classroom walls with The Pisara Tales

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For many students, it can be kind of awkward to get to know your teacher on a more personal level. Many go about their lives never really getting to know their teachers well, or about the teaching profession in general. Today, in a time where distance learning is becoming the norm, it’s become even harder to know your teachers as overall learning also can become a struggle under these conditions.

With The Pisara Tales podcast, Jay-Em Estrella aims to promote learning and help bridge that gap between students and teachers. On his podcast, Estrella talks about his thoughts and experiences as a young millennial highschool teacher–from his backstory, to challenges he’s faced, and about the teaching landscape here in the Philippines. 

Through The Pisara Tales, Estrella chats with his audience with the intention to both educate and express himself. On air, tone is casual and light, and very approachable, expressing himself as who he truly is-someone who likes people, and likes teaching. 

Sometimes, he invites guests to come chat with him and the audience about different topics. The topics can range from giving advice to their audience about anything, to the different experiences of his fellow teachers in their different fields of expertise.

Behind the podcast

Growing up, Estrella wasn’t much of an art kid, but he’s always wanted to create content somehow. Inspired by listening to different radio shows and podcasts such as Good Times with Mo Twister, Adulting With Joyce Pring, and The Ringer Podcast Network, he decided to set up one himself. “I like how they were very informative and that I could listen to it while multitasking,” Estrella recalls. On his podcast, he finds himself talking as much as he wants, and he invites anyone who’s interested in learning is welcome to come listen to him.

“Whenever I make my content, I try to aim it towards educators or students, or basically anyone who is interested in learning,” he shares to us. “I don’t present myself as a resource speaker, as I do not have enough knowledge, experience, or expertise yet, but I do want to present my thoughts as I learn more in my career as an educator. “

Meeting Sir Jay

From a young age, Estrella has always been taken with all things science and technical. His father had an engineering degree, and his mother had a degree in commerce. He got into chemistry in his third year of highschool in Philippine Science High School, which led to him studying BS Chemistry in the University of the Philippines.

What first lit the fire in him to teach was when he was required to do community service in high school, and he decided to teach his old elementary. It was a simple job; he stood in for his old teacher, administered an exam, and checked papers. It was his first teaching experience, but he didn’t think much of it until he entered college. 

In college, he served as a tutor for his organization, helping people with their science requirements. He was also called by an old teacher of his to help in training and tutoring high school kids for academic competitions. Together, these experiences relit the fire in him and helped him realize he could have a calling in the education field.

Towards the end of his college years, he was at a crossroads; he was starting to consider shifting to education, but he also wanted to pursue a job in the food chemistry side. To satiate his curiosity, he decided to take electives in both fields to see where he could go from there. 

In his Intro to Guidance Counselling elective, as he had a deeper look into what being a teacher could be like for him, it fully dawned on him that teaching could be a viable career option. His resolve was strengthened when his professor said that he could pursue a path in teaching if he wanted to. “Bagay daw ako maging teacher, nasa aura ko daw,” Estrella shares in one of his episodes. “Like I had this aura with me na I had the cadence of a teacher when I delivered myself.”

(She told me I was fit to be a teacher, she could see it in my aura.)

Estrella gained confidence from her words, but ultimately decided to finish his chemistry degree and take the boards. He took up two jobs related to chemistry, acting first as a research assistant before moving over to working in a lab. However, during his two jobs, he realized that chemistry is a somewhat introverted field, and for an extrovert like him, being cooped up for long periods of time was very taxing mentally; he preferred to be on the field, talking to people and getting to know their stories.

After he left his lab job, he decided to pursue teaching professionally. Estrella can now confidently say he’s in a better place, and that he’s found where he wants to be in. Currently, Estrella is in his second year of teaching science to high school students, and he believes that he has never been happier. 

He knows teaching isn’t for everyone, as the education field isn’t the most well-paying field yet is one of the most stressful ones out there. Amidst all the challenges, however, Estrella considers himself blessed that it was his calling. “I believe this is where God placed me to be,” he expressed in his podcast, “I believe that this is where I could glorify Him, and I believe this is where I could use my talents for His glory and for the purpose of serving people, serving this nation, and helping others be better than what I can be.”

With The Pisara Tales, Estrella hopes to use his skills and talents to educate people from all over the nation. “I do hope to keep working on this podcast as I progress through my career as a teacher,” Estrella shared. “I hope it reaches people who might be interested in the career as well, and maybe they could think about their own teachers or their own environments, because for me, teaching is fun.”

You can listen to The Pisara Tales over on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Anchor, and RadioPublic. You can also check out their Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more information. 

Visual by: Chloe Gaw

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