Filipino-Americans help foreign teachers in North Carolina

A dozen international teachers from Gaston County needed winter clothes, furniture and even linens when they arrived.

GASTON COUNTY, North Carolina — Schools across the United States are losing teachers dramatically, resulting in a nationwide teacher shortage.

WCNC Charlotte has reported that some districts in our area are resuming the year with hundreds of teacher openings. The shortages have made the critical role of international teachers coming to the United States to teach even more important.

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A pair of teachers from the Philippines call Gaston County Schools home for the coming year.

Perlinda Cueto, a primary school teacher, and Christelle Corpin, a secondary school teacher, are now roommates after meeting in a Filipino American Facebook group.

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“I love teaching, you know, different kinds of people,” Cueto said of his time in American schools. “It’s so diverse and it’s so much fun.”

Both teachers said their time in Gaston County was rewarding.

“I go to school, I love getting food and love letters or balloons with ‘I love Mrs Corpin,’ because that’s how grateful they are,” Corpin said of of his students.

Although they had a lot of good things to say about their move, they had some challenges.

“In the beginning, we had to look for our own apartment, we really had to connect with people, and that’s where the Filipino American community helped us,” Corpin said.

Corpin, who is in her second year in the district, is also the liaison teacher for the exchange.

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International teachers work with employment agencies to qualify for work visas and be placed in area schools. The programs sometimes help pay for flights to the United States, but for the most part things like housing, transportation, and clothing are the responsibility of the teachers.

“It’s not easy to look for an apartment, a car and everything,” Cueto said.

A dozen international teachers from Gaston County, like Cueto, needed winter clothes, furniture, even linens when they arrived.

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Corpin has appealed for help for all new teachers in a Facebook group for Filipino Americans in the Carolinas.

The response was overwhelming.

Filipino Americans from South Carolina and North Carolina loaded the new teachers with almost everything they needed for the year.

“The connections, the connections, the help in the Philippines, we call it Bayanihan, where when you see someone in need, you really help immediately,” Corpin said. “It’s like patriotism here in America.”

Connected by two countries now, the teachers will continue to lend a hand to the next group of international teachers.

Teachers are always accepting donations. If you would like to help, contact Corpin at [email protected] The group still collects food, clothing and furniture.

Contact Shamarria Morrison at [email protected] and follow her on Facebook, Twitter and instagram.

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