Profile: Jose Maria Edito Kalaw Tirol

Published in the The GUIDON’s Graduation Magazine, March 2012

Photo by Ean L. Dacay 

 

HISTORY has always fascinated him. Jose Maria Edito “Jo-Ed” Tirol could not imagine a better way to make a living than to tell people stories about other people—stories etched in history. But perhaps not enough has been said about another significant story: his own.

His is about how a self-confessed introvert shifted out from a management course to interdisciplinary studies and grab an MA in history, going on to become one of the most well-loved history professors—the kind whose class slots get filled up quickly during enlistment.

Tirol is gifted with a storytelling prowess that captivates even the most disinterested of students. The classroom is his stage, the students his eager audience. The flourishing civilizations of Ancient Greece, the terror of the Dark Ages, the battlefields in World War II have been relived through his lectures told in rich detail and sprinkled with humor. He ends his introductory classes with a hallmark quote of his: “Every human life has infinite possibilities and is therefore infinitely valuable.”

He has brought the personal touch of teaching to a higher level, ensuring every student gets to recite sufficiently, by calling out every one of his students by their nicknames on the first week of class—without taking a glance at his seat plan.

His story is also that of a father. Tirol will always consider himself first as a father before a teacher. His three children (Audrey, Leo, and Gab—eight, three, and two years old, respectively) and his wife of ten years are the witnesses to the other side of him that students do not get to see: the affectionate, loving, romantic part of him.

“Do not be afraid to fulfill your dreams,” he advises the graduating batch. For Tirol, career and money must not be the primary concern, but rather the willingness to learn and to improve. “Everybody is put in this world with certain skills, abilities, and talents,” he says. “The least you can do is to work with them and maximize them. But you don’t do it for yourself. It’s a waste of these talents and skills if you’re not able to share and give back.”

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