Learning for life

Teacher juggles teaching and learning


Photo by Riya George

U.S. history teacher Dean Malabanan writes notes on the Civil War in class Dec. 13. Malabanan balances teaching with pursuing additional education. “Imagine trying to do your course here and then you have to do homework for your [other] two classes,” Malabanan said. “It’s a balance that you just have to find.”

by Riya George, Reporter

As the semester resumes in a blur of assignments, one teacher has double the workload. Dean Malabanan balances both teaching U.S. history and working toward a Masters of Liberal Studies from Southern Methodist University.

After three years of AVID tutoring and teaching world history, American studies (AmStud) and U.S. history, Malabanan decided to pursue education further in the fall of 2018. 

“I’ve always wanted to go back to school and as crazy and nerdy as this sounds, I’ve always wanted to be a college student again,” Malabanan said. “I really wanted to say, ‘Hey, can I do it again?⁠ Can I be that student I never was?’”
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, from 1999 to 2000 and 2015 to 16, the percentage of public school teachers who completed a post-baccalaureate degree increased from 47 to 57%. With an expected 9% growth of the United States education sector, the demand for qualified teachers flourishes. This increasing demand led teachers like Malabanan to return to school despite a full-time job.
“I think [the most challenging thing is] knowing that after work you [have to] go back to school and knowing that you still have to do homework in addition to [real] work,” Malabanan said.

Malabanan’s passion for history grew through his educational experiences, while studying with a concentration in American studies directly impacted his strategies for teaching American history.
“He teaches in a way that doesn’t just feel like he’s speaking out of a book,” senior and former AmStud student Neha Konduru said. “You can tell he really enjoys what he’s doing.”

Southern Methodist University lists awareness of audience and active learning as top teaching strategies for effective teachers. One of Malabanan’s key teaching methods is relating to his students as a student himself.

 “[Pursuing a master’s degree] allows you to see what your students go through and you as a student can actually [put yourself] in your students’ shoes,” Malabanan said. “It gives you a lot of perspective.”