On January 22, 2022, Charles Darwin Magdaluyo – Mr. M to his students – was named the 2022 VyStar Duval County Teacher of the Year at the 31st Annual EDDY Awards. This celebration is a time-honored tradition lead by the Jacksonville Public Education Fund to elevate Jacksonville’s leading teachers.
The Rotary International sponsored Magdaluyo, who was one of Duval County Public School's 180 Teachers of the Year. After being selected as one of fifteen semi-finalists and narrowed to five finalists, Magdaluyo was identified as being the district’s top example of an educational professional and a true difference-maker.
Magdaluyo is in his fourth year of teaching Anatomy & Physiology at Ribault High School, where he has also taught Biology. After studying at the Philippine Normal University, renowned for its educational degree programs, Mr. M came to Jacksonville and began teaching one week later. However, his entrance into education was not as straightforward.
As the oldest sibling, Magdaluyo’s parents often asked that he look after his siblings. His default “babysitting” mode included playing teacher. Although he knew in his heart he wanted to teach science, he initially pursued post-secondary studies in graphics technology based on his parent’s encouragement and his exam scores. After one year of study, Magdaluyo admitted to his parents that he would not be happy unless he pursued teaching as his chosen career pathway—and true vocation.
Once Magdaluyo settled on this decision, his enthusiasm and commitment has not waivered. The quality of his instructional methods and his approach to student centered learning make his classroom one in which students easily can feel comfortable and engaged. He says, “A teacher nurtures through their content, but also by teaching character and 21st century skills. Show students your energy and you’ll see it in return.”
Often, students think that their teachers chose their profession because they were themselves outstanding students. However, Magdaluyo shares that he was not the best student as a child, but that he witnessed his teachers working diligently on his behalf. He understands the stress of not always understanding the classroom material. As a result, he insists on creating a physical classroom environment of belonging. A few of his strategies involve creative bulletin boards, classroom seating arranged into teams, and interaction while students problem-solve in real-time.
The start of his teaching career was not picture perfect. Magdaluyo said he reflected after each day to determine how he could more effectively interact with each student. His daily analysis combined with the mentorship provided by his administrators and fellow teachers improved his classroom management skills and teaching style. He says, “You don’t learn from your experiences. You learn from reflecting on your experiences.”
Magdaluyo enjoys teaching subject matter that is difficult but also connects to social issues, such as mental health. He teaches students to arm themselves with facts so they can think critically and be socially aware rather than rely on misinformation.
Magdaluyo’s teaching philosophy requires that he considers the whole student and their development both in and outside of his classroom. “Students can be strong in mind but also in character to create a better community,” he says. As such, he incorporates what he calls the “Three Gs” into his classroom: goal setting, growth mindset, and grit. He encourages his students to set goals, believe in themselves, stay productive and persist through obstacles.
“This is not just a job. It is a vocation. You burn out if you do something you don’t like,” says Magdaluyo. As such, his influence reaches beyond his classroom. He helps other international teachers feel comfortable in their new surroundings through learning communities.
Truly, succeeding in the educational career pathway requires the Three Gs from those who wish to pursue it. Perhaps, like Mr. M., teaching is for you.