Meet Ana Inciong, the executive director and founder of the Saints and Angels Life Skills Training Center. The school located in Quezon City, wherein children with special needs study basic math and english, as well as learn basic life skills like cooking and cleaning. There, the students are also able to follow their endeavors and unleash their creativity.
Ana most commonly known as “Teacher Ana”, has been teaching children with autism for many years. She’s a 42 year old from Lipa City, Batangas that has a profound experience in handling students with so much care and genuine love.
She shares her journey in finding her passion, and unleashing her legacy in the SPED teaching field. Her along with her colleagues, she has gained so much experience over the past few years and have truly left a big mark on many students and parents’ hearts.
For starters, where did you study, what was your course and when did you start teaching?
To start with, I finished BS Commerce Major in Business Administration in UST. I was able to take 18 units of MBA at the same school. I worked in the bank for 8 years. It was a fruitful years during my stay in the bank, but I wasn’t happy. So I resigned.
I got to introduce to sped when my aunt asked me to help her in her project in Special Olympic which was held I japan. So I was given the chance to work with those amazing special individuals. In some point, your mom who’s my aunt’s friend asked her for a shadow teacher for your handsome brother, that was year 2000.
I formalized my education by taking 18 units in teaching program and I pursued my masters in education major in sped in 2002. I’ve been teaching for 17 years.
Who have you worked with so far? Describe your experience with SPED and special students.
I’ve worked with differently abled children and young adults. I was able to collaborate with different professionals (occupational therapists, speech therapists neuro developmental psychologists, etc.) and do programs for our students. My main focus is working with young adults, 13 to 46 year olds, teaching them life skills, social communication and integrate it within the community.
My experience with sped and special students? It’s really challenging, you can’t find it in any book, they are all different, it takes a lot of patience, a virtue that I acquired from my day to day working with them. Honestly, being with them gives me pure joy, the love that they give me is unconditional. I can say that this is the job that I want to do for the rest of my life. It’s so it’s fulfilling.
When did you start your school and what inspired you to name it after a saint? What do you do there and how do you teach students?
Five years ago, I, together with a friend, put up a school, Open Hand School for applied arts. It’s a vocational school for young adults with special needs. 2 years after, I left because my business partner and I are no longer in the same boat. She’s more focused on business. So I decided to put up my own. The name of the school… Well it was Saint Anne before, I can’t think of a name so I just named it after my name, Saint Anne Lifeskills Training Center (SALTC), but it was taken already I SEC. I had to think of another that will still form SALTC.
So we came up with Saints and Angels LifeSkills Training Center. Here, I do the admin work and of course the program of each student. I’m also act as. Life/job coach of those students who are capable of working. I teach/train them in the office and do accounting and other clerical work. How do I teach them? It varies, it depends upon the learning style of each student. But basically, I break down the tasks into smaller step (down-top approach).
I do model and concrete examples, I teach the skills in different settings for generalization. Actually, it’s the students who are teaching me how to teach them.
Do you have a message to those people who want to get into the same field/words of inspiration for people who deal with autistic children?
It’s like the road less traveled… As a saying goes many are called but few are chosen. It’s a calling, a vocation. And once you choose this path, you’ll have immeasurable happiness. You may not buy and have a castle but for me, my castle is inside the hearts of these special angels.
Teacher Ana, up to this day, continues her vocation and service in teaching kids with special needs. She’s definitely a woman of faith and action; a woman who wholeheartedly answered her call from God and giving it everything she’s got. She’s definitely one superstar to watch out for.