The annual Daily News’ Hometown Hero Award held in New York City earlier this week, Wednesday, recognized a middle school Filipino teacher, Ramil Buenaventura, for his unconventional and excellent teaching methods. This is the third time in a row that he has been recognized for his work.
Buenaventura is an Algebra teacher for 7th and 8th grade students at the Renaissance Charter School in Jackson Heights, New York City. He received the Hometown Hero Award in New York City. The 44-year-old Mandaluyong native was nominated for his creative approach to teaching and the impact he has made on the life of his students. He reportedly raps and sings some of his lessons, and really takes time to get to know his students.
In the write-up by Daily News, Buenaventura was described as an inspiration.
“For his inspiring life story and energetic, creative approach to teaching, which has changed the lives of his students, the seventh- and eighth-grade teacher at Renaissance Charter School in Jackson Heights is nominated for a Hometown Heroes in Education award,” the organization wrote.
Cynthia Nixon, actress popularly known as Miranda in the worldwide hit television series, S*x and the City, was one of the presenters and lauded Buenaventura for his work.
“We honor you for raising the bar and for helping define what real opportunity means for your kids and for the entire system so that we can ensure that every single child receives the high quality education he or she deserves,” Nixon reportedly said.
The event was well-attended by public officials and celebrities. Buenaventura said that it makes a difference for educators like him to be recognized. It inspires people like him to do better, knowing that their efforts do not go unnoticed and that their community supports what they do.
“Even celebrities would know the work of a teacher, and the whole community supports the teacher and if the community supports the teacher, the teacher will be at his or her best,” he said.
Queens-based Buenaventura came to the United States as one of the 169 Filipino teachers that became a part of an exchange program that Mayor Michael Bloomberg created. He was a teacher for about 13 years in Manila. When he realized that it was becoming difficult to support his family on his salary, he decided to take his chances and pursue a career abroad. The perfect opportunity presented itself in a newspaper ad about an international teaching post. Buenaventura said it was a life-changing opportunity.
When he got to New York, his starting salary was six times as much as what he made back in Manila.
“I feel like I won the lottery. It changed my life,” he told the Daily News.
Buenaventura says that informal classroom / discussion setting of the classes in New York suited his personality. He enjoys creating films, songs, and other multimedia presentations for his students because it helps them connect better to what he is teaching.
The Hometown Heroes Award aims to inspire New Yorkers, especially educators, to be heroes in their respective communities.