Teaching is indeed the noblest of all professions. Their impact on someone extends far beyond the four corners of a classroom. They are more than just an educator-- they are our mentor, a confidant and a friend rolled into one.
Meet Armyr Encarnacion, a 29-year old educator from Our Lady of Caysaysay Academy (OLCA), a film teacher and a storyteller.
Sir Armyr is a Batangueno Mass Communication graduate from Lyceum of the Philippines University in Batangas. His fate led him to education after a series of rejections in the media industry.
“Actually, I was frustrated because I felt for a long time that I was not good enough. Kasi andami kong ina-applyan na media companies noon, pero wala talagang tumatanggap sa ‘kin. And I started doubting myself. Of course I needed a job so I really had to apply and gamble. When I knew that OLCA had a job opening for Senior High School teachers back in 2016, and since malapit lang din siya dito sa amin, I have decided to give it a try and luckily, nakapasok ako.”
While enduring the heartbreak from not being able to enter the creative industry, little did he know, God is preparing him for an even more fulfilling role. Something that he is really passionate about.
“At first, I started teaching English 9 and then Contemporary Philippine Arts, which is really close to my heart kasi mahilig talaga ako sa arts in general. I love film, I love music, I love visual arts, kahit ‘di ako love talaga ng visual arts pati ng dance. Doon ako nag-focus and doon ako nabigyan ng pagkakataon na magcoach ng students sa competitions when it comes to filmmaking.”
“I was very happy because the school principal is supporting me. The principal always believed in me. Mas masaya ako dahil mas nagtitiwala ang mga bata because they felt like I’m bringing something new to the table. As a Mass Comm graduate myself, teaching and guiding aspiring filmmakers is absolutely one for the books.”
Armyr admits that teaching young student filmmakers was never an easy journey. While honing and guiding students in every film festival that they would participate in, he also has to widen his perspective on how he can positively impact and help genuinely those young kids towards their dreams.
“Aside from the fact that I was able to share my story and at the same time meron akong trabaho, tapos nakakapag-transfer pa ako ng skills sa mga bata, I think, that’s the most rewarding part. Sabi nga nung principal lagi namin, magaling ka kapag yung skills mo na-transfer mo sa mga bata. Pero kapag between you and the student, tapos ikaw lang yung magaling, di ka pa rin magaling.”
For almost five years of mentoring young filmmakers, Armyr is grateful to have influenced and inspired a lot of kids to pursue what they are most passionate about.
“ What makes it even more fulfilling kasi as a teacher is kapag nakikita ko yung mga dating kong students na nag-take ng mass comm, yung iba until now into filmmaking pa rin and they will randomly message you na they are thankful kasi I guided them. It really melts my heart and I feel like I am doing something right.”
When asked about his most memorable moments as a film teacher, Armyr shared that he really has a lot in mind but the film, “Sa Pagitan Ka Natagpuan” would probably be a standout.
“That’s the first ever film under my wing. That’s so memorable because that film directed by my student, Eunice Garces and her production team, really defied the odds. In our school kasi, we are very strict with the kids. We really prioritize their safety. But what I admire about them is that they weren’t afraid to take risks even at a young age. They went to Monte Maria to shoot, they even went to Tagaytay to shoot. I would remember, yung shooting nila will end at 12 midnight and they are all 16 to 17 years old. That’s how they really wanted to win the competition. But the parents are very supportive, ginaguide talaga nila yung mg bata at very understanding sila.”
The film “Sa Pagitan ka Natagpuan,” which revolves in the story of a couple who chose to grow old together despite the worrying circumstances like Dementia showcased their message that indeed the measure of love is to love without measure. This film gave Armyr and his students numerous awards in the 2016 LPU Mass Communication Convention participated by different schools in Batangas and was OLCA’s first nomination for Best Student Shortfilm at the 39th Catholic Mass Media Awards (CMMA).
“Dahil sa film na yun, nakapagbigay kami ng honor sa school namin. And I am so happy that my students got the chance na ma-experience yung red-carpet sa CMMA. And of course, it was a good reward for all their sacrifices and hard work.”
On the other hand, while it is true that academics should still be the top priority of students, Armyr believes that there is nothing wrong if students decide to pursue their extra curricular activities like filmmaking.
“There are lessons that we can’t really teach inside the classroom and mas naituturo natin siya sa labas when we go to shoots. Parang, you understand the struggle more of the students kasi mas nakakausap mo ‘yung students mo ng mas relax. Mas nagiging open sayo kasi you’re outside the school. And you would be able to understand their situation even better.”
For Armyr Encarnacion, the biggest takeaway from being a film teacher is that life is indeed a continuous learning process. Working with a lot of students, directors, scriptwriters and actors for all their creative production endeavours whether it be for a film, commercial, public service announcements and advertisements for their school motivated him to strive every single day to become a better version of himself.
“Natutuwa ako kasi, marami akong natututunan sa kanila. Hindi lang ako ang nagse-share ng learnings ko, pero nakakapag-share din sila sakin. At the same time, I realized that even a pandemic can’t hinder us to create films. In fact, may mga student ako na naka-collaborate ko na with my two films, which I produced in the middle of this red hot battle against COVID-19. It’s fun to collaborate with them even outside of the school.”
Being a CMMA finalist himself back when he was still a college student for his film, “Sa Ngalan ng Ama,” it didn’t stop him from telling stories and inspiring the younger generation to follow their wildest dreams no matter what that may be for them. He may not be able to pursue the creative industry yet, but he is more than elated to be a teacher and being in the field of education where he was able to discover his purpose.
“My advice to aspiring storytellers and filmmakers is huwag silang mawawalan ng pag-asa. Kasi maraming magaling, maraming mas magaling, maaaring hindi siya nakasulat sa palad mo. Pero at the end of the day, kung hindi ka napapagod magpursige at gagawa ka at gagawa ng paraan para maabot ang pangarap mo, someday, may magbubukas na pinto.”
“Someday, someone will say yes to your dream. Someday, magagawa mo yung dream mong pelikula. And most importantly, never stop learning. Madalas kinukulong natin yung sarili natin sa kahon natin. Huwag kang matakot na ipakita ang style mo. Hanggat may isang tao na nanonood sa style mo ng pagpepelikula, magpatuloy ka.”