So, now that everything has calmed down and whatnot, here are two contrasting stories just as Teacher’s Month in the Philippines goes away and leaves myriads of wonderful and vivid memories behind.
There was a Maths teacher named E.S., who taught back in high school.
I was in the school’s Math Olympiad team and the school was among the top high schools that teach Math and Science in Zamboanga, a city of some 1 million in the Southern Philippines.
When he saw that I was having a very hard time solving a math problem, he immediately said, “You are stupid. You are a good-for-nothing.”
Then, when I protested that he didn’t even teach the equation properly, he said,
“You are an idiot.”
He did this not once, not twice, but something like 15 times or so.
I wanted to shout out back at him and tell some stuff, but since I feared losing the scholarship that time (our family didn’t have a great financial position back then), I couldn’t do anything about it.
Needless to say, I asked if I could just go and do something else in order to complete the requirements of the grant (I needed to represent the school in one way or another, so I just chose Science and Language).
Oh, by the way, did I mention that I exerted effort in order to make my Maths great ever since that incident? (I always get something like 85% or something like that, which is the minimal grade needed in order not to lose the said scholarship.
So, thanks to him, all my interest in Maths evaporated.
If my interest in Maths didn’t go away, I would have easily became a scientist. Or something else, maybe an engineer or an architect or someone else who knows numbers and who’s useful to society.
Or maybe that’s just wishful thinking.
On the other side of the coin, there was a teacher named C.T. who also taught at the same school.
She taught us English. We enjoyed many of her classes.
One day, when she saw the way that I won the essay writing contest in our school, she told me:
“Why don’t you practice writing and do something in order to improve your craft?”
I asked, “what’s the point? I mean, hey, I don’t have a lot of friends,” and I said something about my talent not being that good and just being lucky and all that.
She told me that “it would be useful for me in order to have a bright future,” that “talent should not be wasted,” and that “I should definitely try Creative Writing or Mass Communication.”
From that day on, I never stopped. I haven’t reached the place where I want to be, but I know that I’ll be there soon.
Simply put, teachers play a lot in shaping a person.
For better or for worse.
I never forgot these stories up to this very day.
I was deeply aware of this since I started my teaching stint back in 2015. Thus, I really tried to do my best to engage my students and make sure that they understand…while at the same time trying as much as humanly possible to take care of my language.
Considering that I’ve never had major complaints, I guess that I’m doing something right…
Sometimes, I hear my students saying these things:
“Sir, thank you for this activity, it’s so wonderful!”
“Sir, thank you for making us love reading and writing!”
“Sir, I do hope that we can have more activities like this!”
Even though I deserve none of those words, I can’t help but feel a warm feeling in my heart!
So, belated Happy Teacher’s Day to all!