A rapping and dancing Filipino teacher is nominated for prestigious US award

(Todd Petrie/ Flickr/

(Todd Petrie/ Flickr/


J. D. Salinger once said, “You can’t stop a teacher when they want to do something. They just do it.” 

A Filipino Algebra teacher in Queens, New York seemed to follow the Catcher in the Rye author’s advice to heart.

Ramil Buenaventura, a seventh- and eighth-grade teacher from Renaissance Charter School, is nominated for the Hometown Heroes Education award launched by the New York Daily News.

Buenaventura grew up and finished his graduate studies in education here in the Philippines. He was already teaching in Manila for 13 years when he answered an newspaper advertisement and eventually aced the recruitment interview.

“It was hard to support my family there (in Manila),” he told the NY Daily News.


(Screencap via New York Daily News)
(Screencap via New York Daily News)


He started as a rookie teacher in Math at Intermediate School 192 with a salary that was six times the amount of his Philippine salary.

“I felt like I won the lottery…It changed my life.”

He found the relatively informal classroom culture of US schools suited to his appealing and relationship-based teaching style, so he went on teaching Algebra with songs, dances, short movies, and music videos to engage his students in learning.

Aside from his fiery passion for teaching, Buenaventura wants to give back to the students since he is now living the American Dream.

“By teaching, I can contribute to this country. I want to give back to the students, because I’m living the American dream.”