Outstanding Pinoy: Jonna Timada’s Winning Formula


Quitting her job as a research assistant for 5 years in the Philippines, The Pinoy Legacy’s “Outstanding Pinoy of the Month” Jonna Timada, who hails from Valencia City, Bukidnon, flew to Thailand on July 16, 2003 to find better opportunities for herself and for her family.

Read: 2 Thai students, Pinoy coach win silver from US’s Genius Olympiad

Things didn’t go smoothly as planned at first. Even with a Master’s Degree in Biology on her sleeve, finding a decent job was a tough challenge. She started working as a part-time teacher in some language centers in Bangkok then later as Biology tutor to international students. Money was hard to come by.

Fortunately, greater things come to those who patiently wait. Now, she is a full-time high school science teacher at  Chonkanyanukoon School in Chonburi, her very first and the only school she has been teaching for the last 15 years.

For several occasions, Jonna Timada has landed on our headlines for being an award-winning coach to Thai students who reaped awards from local and international science competitions.

The Pinoy Legacy considers her as one of the successful Filipino teachers in the kingdom and we recently met up with her to know more of her story.

Teacher Jonna Timada
WINNING COACH. Teacher Jonna Timada with her students at the Genius Olympiad 2018 held at Oswego, New York, USA.

TPL: What was the most challenging part when you first came to Thailand?

Being rejected was the most challenging part.  I thought to have a Master’s Degree in Biology would help me land a better job.  However, I was wrong.  It was not that easy.  Not having enough money during that time and battling loneliness of being far from my family was overwhelming.

TPL: How did you overcome those challenges?

I overcome all my fears and frustrations through constant prayers. I kept on reminding myself that everything happens for a reason. Then, breathe gratitude.

TPL: How does it feel to be a winning coach to students who have achieved laurels not only in Thailand but also abroad?

I feel honored that our science projects were recognized both here in Thailand and abroad.  Those sleepless nights paid off.  When my students were selected as finalists, for me, that was already an accomplishment; receiving an award is a tremendous achievement.  I am so happy to be a part of my student’s success.

TPL: Do you have any winning formula?

Believe in your student’s potential. You have to encourage your students to work independently and let them enhance their analytical skills through hands-on activities and experiments. That way, they can handle their presentation and answer the questions confidently. Students may encounter failures during the process of their science project research; reassure them that it is okay to fail because failure is a learning process. Just be there to encourage, guide, and support them. Finally, strongly inculcate to your students the research ethics, explicitly plagiarism, fabrication, and falsification of data.

TPL: Aside from teaching, you are also serving your community, please tell us about it.

I am an active member of the English Mass Choir at Our Lady of Lourdes, Bangsaen, Chonburi.  I compiled a songbook for the English Mass, in charge of the Mass offering schedules, prepare songs and responses in PPT every Sunday, and provide file copies of Sambuhay for the community.

TPL: Could you share to us your future plans?

I hope I can continue to be an inspiration not only to my fellow teachers but also to the young generations, particularly the Thai students, to be more competitive in the field of science. 

TPL: What advice can you give to Filipino teachers who have lost their enthusiasm in teaching due to several reasons, including discrimination?

I know how tough and painful it is when you feel like quitting would be the best option. We have to remember that having a great career cannot be based on convenience, so there will always be sorts of problems. The love of teaching may come flooding back if we can reconnect with the purpose as to why we became teachers. I firmly believe that success cannot be easily achieved.  It is indeed, a long-term process. Patience, humility, and perseverance are just some of the virtues of an achiever. With the right attitude and positive mindset, surely we can overcome any challenges in life.

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Lorenzo Caballes, Jr.
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Lorenzo Caballes, Jr.

Lorenzo is a full time English Language Teacher to high school students in Phitsanulok. He reads and travels for self-enrichment. He also writes at khunkrupinoy.com where he shares his struggles and joys of being a teacher in Thailand for almost a decade now.