Mercury John Maallo, or “Mr. Jhoey” as he is affectionately called, is a Filipino teacher based in Thailand, South East Asia, and is on a mission to empower every teacher to help every student. He currently teaches at Interkids Bilingual School, Seri Thai Branch in Bangkok, Thailand, and has been an educator for more than eight years.
Mr. Jhoey spoke to Quizizz about how he uses the platform to make educators’ lives easier, and how his students enjoy learning with the platform. “My students light up whenever they see the ‘start quiz’ page,” he exclaimed, “or even when they just hear the music.”
Although Mr. Jhoey started off teaching English Grammar to grades 1–9, he now teaches Career, Occupation and Technology, and Thai Citizenship to grade 2, 4, 5, and 6 students. As part of the school’s management team, he is the Head of Activities and Student Affairs and is also the go-to ‘Tech Guy’.
Mr. Jhoey told Quizizz about how his career journey started, how he loves teaching, and how he uses educational technology to make a real difference for both educators and students.
What motivated you to become a teacher and what keeps you motivated today?
Growing up, my first-year Algebra teacher was very strict — I’d ask a question or two to clarify my doubt about a concept, and he’d say “Go ask your grandfather in the mountains.”
I worked at a call center as a technical specialist at the beginning of my career, but I always told myself, if I were ever to be a teacher, I’m not going to be like him. I told myself, I will be as approachable and helpful as I can be. So when an opportunity to teach at the Interkids Bilingual School in Thailand came up, I took it with a smile.
I feel happy when I help my students. Especially when things turn around for them — that’s one of my goals. I handle difficult kids every year, and after a point in time, they’d change and our relationship would become deeper. That’s a great feeling.
What are some of your most rewarding moments in teaching?
When I started teaching, we only had books and the chalk-and-board. I had no idea about online tools of teaching or Quizizz. But technology caught up with education and now I see real changes in ways that education technology enables students to help reach their potential.
Previous to using Quizizz, I’d see my students disengaged — they’d just sit down with sullen faces and listen to what I was teaching them. But with Quizizz, I can see how engaged they are, and on the plus side, my students LOVE Quizizz. And they ask for more!
My peers and colleagues, at my recommendation, have started to use it too and they come back with the best feedback — they consistently say that their students are engaged and that their students say “OH, let’s play Quizizz!!” The fact that I contributed to this is a really rewarding feeling.
What are some of the greatest challenges you think your students face today?
The pandemic caught the educational sector across the world without warning. The greatest challenge my students faced was the feeling of being stuck in between four walls and not being able to go outside to kick a ball or play with friends. And when online teaching started to pick up, I’d see students feeling bored in the virtual classes — “Oh here we go again!” written largely on their faces. That’s when I offered to train my teachers on how to use Quizizz in their online classrooms. There was clear evidence in the way our students responded to Quizizz. To see their faces lighting up in the online classes was a real improvement!
Even though schools have opened now and classes are in-person, I’m so happy to see students ask and anticipate Quizizz because they enjoy participating in games, and you can tell that they are happy to be back to school.
What is one of the biggest lessons you’ve learned throughout your career in education?
When I first started teaching, in a lot of ways, I felt I compared myself to my former teacher [who used to ask me to go ask my grandfather in the mountains]. But when our school started training teachers about education technology, educational tools, and online learning methodologies, I felt empowered. I felt that education can change the approach of teaching to suit today’s students’ needs. So I train myself before I teach students; I watch YouTube videos, I attend seminars and I try to share my learnings with my colleagues.
My experience has taught me to NEVER stop learning, especially as a teacher.
Never stop exploring new ideas, new possibilities, and new methods of teaching your students — there’s always something new that you could do. Never stop training yourself, and never stop growing.
How does Quizizz empower you as an educator?
Using Quizizz makes teaching easy for me and my teachers. When you’re on the fly with additional responsibilities, I’d usually have a feeling that I hadn’t prepared enough for the day. That’s when using Quizizz made a big difference. The Teleport option on millions of quizzes that I can find on Quizizz is my favorite tool! It saves me a lot of time because I can plan an activity or a lesson in an instant. Also, when I’m training my teachers, I always start with the teleport tool because it saves their time and effort too!
My second favorite is the Draw question type! It is such an enjoyable tool! Even my grade six students who you don’t necessarily think would enjoy something like drawing, LOVE it. When I ask them to illustrate learning concepts and ideas, it is such a pleasure to see them enjoying the drawing activity as part of a quiz.
I know that when we get our hands on the audio and video responses as a question type, it will be SUPER cool and make a difference to all my students.
Can you share an experience that empowered your students’ learning when you used Quizizz?
My grade five students are extremely smart! If you say something wrong, they do not hesitate to tell you to Google it or that you’re wrong. These students are also very competitive. The 12 boys and six girls in my class compete with each other all the time. It is so rewarding to see how some of the introverted and struggling students develop a competitive edge and try to get their name on top of the Quizizz leaderboard.
That is very special to me — I get to see their joyous reactions and I see my students’ learning improving in real-time. Some of these students would be otherwise sitting in the corner of the class, shy and unresponsive, but when it comes to playing Quizizz, they light up and make the effort to rise to the top. Quizizz empowers all kinds of students to do their best.
One of our school mottos is to make every child a child of the world and with platforms like Quizizz, the motto takes a whole new meaning as it is shaping every child to become a child of the world.
How do you think Quizizz benefits both students and teachers?
Of course, both sides benefit from using Quizizz, but speaking as a teacher, I love the data reports. They are very detailed and have exactly the kind of insights that I need, to check on each student’s learning. I think we teachers enjoy seeing how our students are responding to Quizizz and we get an idea of what is working with each student. I love showing the principals and directors these reports and they get to see a bird’s eye view of the growth of every student and every class.
What words do you think your students would use to describe you?
They would call me names! I’d get called names like “Jhoey-awesome”. My grade two students greet me with “Good morning, Mr. Jhoey-handsome!” every day! I think they’d also say that Mr. Jhoey is strict and serious, but a lot of them would also say that “Mr. Jhoey is funny too!” So I guess it is a combination of ‘funny, strict and awesome’!
Outside of education, what are some of your passions?
Music and volunteering! I enjoy playing the drums and guitar. I also volunteer at the local church to help with whatever is required for the week. During the pandemic, when there was a shortage of food in Bangkok, a couple of us volunteered to raise funds. We also bought food and distributed it to those who were struggling. We’d randomly refill those public pantries around Bangkok for people who needed such essentials. I love helping people!
You’ve inspired so many educators. Who are some educators that inspire you?
Sirlou Pagara in the USA. He is my model. All of those values he imbibed in me when I was growing up, have stayed with me all these eight-plus years that I’ve been a teacher. He has inspired me — I owe who I am today to him. He had signed up and attended my first Quizizz Super Trainer event training and it was such an honor to see him as one of my students! It was a “teach the teacher” moment!
Additionally, I post all my Quizizz Training sessions on YouTube because I want to help every teacher out there with what I know, and I love that every teacher will in turn help their students!
With a mission to ‘EMPOWER every teacher and MOTIVATE every learner,’ Quizizz focuses on educators who help us navigate through the EdTech industry. We are honored to enable our teacher community to meaningfully support their students in all capacities. Together, we are on our way to motivate every child to achieve mastery in the classroom and success in the real world.
If you know a teacher using Quizizz to make a difference, give them a shoutout on Twitter with #quizizz and they just might be selected as our next Featured Educator!