Professor Frederick Quiambao has always been dedicated to an enthusiastic and dynamic way of teaching. In fact, Quiambao knew being an educator was his destined career path, and he has many terrific elementary and middle school teachers to thank for that realization: “They have all shared a part in my becoming the teacher I am today,” he said.
Now an Adjunct Professor for the Masters of Science in Teaching Program at St. Thomas Aquinas College (STAC), Quiambao’s drive to help his students succeed is strongly aligned with the School of Education’s mission. Developing passionate educators and lifelong learners committed to inclusive learning in the classroom is what the program aims for: “What makes the School of Education at STAC distinguishable from others is the diverse faculty in the program. We come from a wide-range of professional and cultural experiences,” said Quiambao.
As an alumnus of STAC’s MST program, Quiambao knows the challenges his students face as graduate professionals, and also understands that their coursework will definitely prepare them to become successful educators in the field. Quiambao takes every opportunity to learn, which has allowed him to do more in his profession. Becoming an Adjunct Professor, he explained, has only added fuel to that fire and desire for continued growth. Being a Graduate Assistant at the time he attended the program, Quiambao observed his professor’s professionalism and camaraderie. It goes to show that faculty in the School of Education at STAC truly support one another and want to see their students succeed. “They modeled to me what success in education looks like and collaboration is definitely a key element,” expressed Quiambao on the importance of teamwork. The best part of working as a faculty member in the MST program is being able to work with a former colleague and friend who is now his mentor for the course he is teaching, GESP 2601 Exceptional Individuals, to which he said makes his experience more rewarding.
Quiambao is also an Elementary School teacher and is currently facing the obstacles of the COVID-19 pandemic. It has changed the way we live, interact with one another, and the way educators approach their teaching. However difficult it may be, his passion and love for teaching continues to motivate his students: “STAC’s program assisted me in being where I am today… I’ve grown as an educator in my school district by being a curriculum writer for my grade level, mentoring new faculty in the school, and holding a position in my school’s hiring committee for new members,” he expressed.
Remote learning has highlighted the importance of technology integration in the classroom. “Remote Learning has allowed for some meaningful experiences with my students, but nothing can replace the physical classroom. However, presenting in a virtual format has put my Master’s degree into full practice… and remote learning brings technology in the classroom to a whole new level,” expressed Quiambao. Since remote learning presents a challenge during these times for both students and teachers, Quiambao strongly believes teachers need to focus on having students want to sign in and join virtually. “The learning should continue to be relevant and enjoyable.”
During days of distant learning, Quiambao finds happiness and energy when he sees his students smiling faces: “it doesn’t hurt to bring some humor into my classroom, too, virtual or in person.” Quiambao loves STAC student’s willingness to learn and accept any challenge, and wants to remind students that this change during the pandemic is only temporary. “If there’s anything that I can say to encourage my graduate students, is that if they look around, there are so many job opportunities. The longer this pandemic continues, I can only see more opportunities available from teachers who might be reaching retirement,” expressed Quiambao. Although remote learning is not an ideal way of teaching, Quiambao mentions that it’s a great way to demonstrate to a school district how quickly one can adapt to remote teaching and use technology innovatively and effectively. He believes self-reflection is important for professional development as a teacher: “Reflect upon your lessons and focus on just one area to improve upon for the next time.”
With the many inspiring teachers and professors to model after, Quiambao seeks ways to incorporate the strategies he enjoys most in the classroom. One of his favorite strategies used with all of his students is playing “devil’s advocate” to guide discussion and support critical thinking. “Being an educator, we need to always see and understand all sides of the story. We may agree to disagree, but we must at least understand,” expressed Quiambao. Being a mentor to aspiring teachers as well as student teachers gives him the ability to share his experiences as a former student. The most rewarding part of his career he states, is seeing his former students in the profession of their choice, able to reminisce as adults.
Quiambao embraces inclusivity in the classroom, which remains part of the School of Education’s mission when developing professional educators. He takes the time to discuss the importance of inclusivity, and culturally responsive teaching in his elementary school classroom. “I make sure I say each of my student’s names at least once every day. I feel like when a student hears their name, they feel noticed and included. In addition, I’m including my culturally diverse children’s literature into my classroom,” said Quiambao.
Culturally responsive teaching is also another practice that the School of Education faculty prepares all students in the program for. Quiambao still remembers not feeling comfortable initially embracing his culture in the classroom until he read the book Culturally Responsive Teaching and The Brain: “A former professor suggested it, and I’m forever grateful since it’s opened my eyes to ideas I already knew, but didn’t feel comfortable doing.” For his students to grow, he has to practice what he preaches to all his students - as all teachers should do as well: “It’s important for my students to know that it’s those experiences that make us who we are and what makes us stand out from others. Those experiences give us depth of character and knowledge of others similar to us whom we can empathize with,” he stated.
When Professor Quiambao isn’t teaching, he enjoys singing songs, watching broadway shows, and traveling to see family and friends.
“Teachers need to show how welcoming they are to all students of different backgrounds. If there’s one idea that students have told me, it’s that they’re not afraid to be themselves in my classroom... yes, I’ve actually had students tell me those words before and it was so rewarding to hear.”
~ Professor Quiambao, Masters of Science in Teaching