Mrs. Jan Karen S. Kitane
Like one huge jigsaw puzzle, we all assume a role in this world and interconnect with other people to create one big picture. Whatever our role is, each one is essential. The process of completing a very huge jigsaw puzzle is an arduous one, for some parts of the picture takes a very long time for us to complete. We might tend to think that the puzzle piece we are looking for is missing, but after some time, we will always find the perfect fit. Metaphorically speaking, our life sometimes reflects that laborious process of completing the puzzle. Some may find it easy for them to figure out their place in this world, while others take time to truly find out where their cup of tea is. It’s not a matter of getting there first, but it is more on finding out how to get there.
She might have taken some time to finally find out where she truly belongs, but the impact she has on her pupils is one that is truly beyond measure. Serving the University for nine years now, she finds perpetual delight teaching young people not only the basics of reading and writing, but also the fundamental, everlasting values of life. She considers herself mostly as a backstage person. But now, let us put the spotlight on her and take a sneak peek at the inspiring story of Teacher Jan Karen S. Kitane.
Every day, as the sun sets, Jan Karen is always brought back to her childhood years, reminiscing the simple yet genuine joys of play and glee. Born in Dumaguete City on January 30, 1978, Jan Karen loved to play their favorite game Patintero with siblings and neighbors at dusk. She also spent a considerable portion of her childhood in Tagbilaran, Bohol, her father’s hometown, and made meaningful memories there with friends. Her father, who was a government employee, and her mother, a housewife, never failed to teach her values that molded her entire being. Being in a family who are active workers in the church, Jan Karen learned to have faith and to be gracious to God at such a young age. Never did she have an idea that being a teacher in the Sunday School Department of their Church was a snippet of what the future had in store for her.
She spent most of her formative years in Bohol where she finished her elementary at the Bohol Wisdom School. She continued to study in the same institution until third year high school, when her family decided to transfer to Dumaguete City for good. At first, she was disheartened to learn that she had to spend her fourth year at another high school, leaving her friends behind. But after some time, being the understanding daughter that she is, she slowly learned to adjust and cope with the situation. She graduated from the Holy Cross High School.
Just like any other story of gradual soul-searching, Jan Karen initially took up Accountancy, joining the bandwagon of many of her batch mates who went to take up the course. After realizing it was nowhere near her interest, she shifted to Physical Therapy, a course she invested three years in. However, when it was time for them to pursue clinical experience in hospitals, Jan felt extremely uncomfortable and nervous. It was not the place for her. So she thought of pursuing yet another course. Psychology was supposed to be it, until she walked through the College of Education (COE) to the Psychology Department, and contemplated on becoming a teacher. The picture of how she would become a few year after graduation grew attachment to the COE that it was there where she felt at peace with herself. She took up the degree of Bachelor of Secondary Education major in English in 1999 and completed it in four years.
After Jan Karen graduated from Silliman, she taught for four years at the Alpha Omega First Baptist Church. In 2007, she joined Silliman University as a teacher, handling subjects at the School of Basic Education where she currently teaches English at the Elementary Department.
Jan Karen considers what she does now, teaching kids and helping them form their respective dreams in life, is her calling. She finds it extremely challenging but fulfilling to assist pupils in their formative years, adjusting to their varying personalities. In the process, while she is the teacher, she says she also learns from her students, making the entire experience reinforce her comfort zone.
Friendship is the scaffolding that led to her happy marriage with Mr. Rico Teodorico Kitane. She recalls never having the slightest idea that her future husband, whom she met in their church, would become her good friend and eventually partner in life. “It just happened. I just prayed to God that He would give me the right one at the right time,” she shares. They tied the knot in 2004.
Learning is Jan Karen’s motivation every day. Given that the life of a teacher is never one that revels in luxury and wealth, she finds true riches in the midst of her pupils who learn significant life-lessons from her. She dreams to create a lasting legacy in their lives as the English teacher who did not only teach lessons from books, but one who helped shape their dreams and mold their future.
Describe yourself in three words.
FAT – friendly, approachable, teachable.
What is your motto in life?
Always put God first.
What makes you laugh?
Simple things and spontaneous conversations.
What makes you cry?
I am a very sentimental person. I easily cry over sad movies and books, and touching life testimonies.
What’s your favorite time of the day and why?
Dusk. It is the time I usually reminisce about childhood memories.
What’s your favorite day of the week and why?
Saturday and Sunday. Those are days I have for myself and spend with my family.
What do you love doing when not working?
I do arts and crafts, paperworks, and read books.
What is your favorite hangout place in the University?
What makes you blush?
Whenever I am the center of attention.
Tell us a fact about yourself.
I have a childhood pillow that I can’t sleep without. I still have the pillow with me until now.
What’s your favorite game growing up?
What is your idea of a relaxing day?
A day without papers to check. A day spent with my husband or reading books.
What is the first thing you do right after waking up in the morning?
I pray, thank the Lord for a new day and seek His guidance.
What is your idea of a family?
A place where members share bitter and sweet memories together — where there is love, acceptance, and trust.
At this point of your life, what for you is your life’s mission?
To teach, touch lives, and to give my students the rudiments of life.
How do you like to be remembered as a teacher?
As a teacher who teaches not only lessons from books, but one who inculcated values in them for the future.