So far, so good.
When I enter the classroom, it feels like I need to give a show. In addition, the students should remember all the details of the show and be able to synthesize something out of it.
That’s what teaching is.
Every single day.
To be perfectly frank, I am not one of those persons who subscribe to the notion of “inspire, think positive and embrace good vibes” – I know enough of the world to know that they’re nothing but chic words – or at least, that’s what I believe.
However, I also believe that being able to impart critical thinking, to spread common values and to make sense of the world around us so that we can remain as humans – those are the lessons that should be taught every single day.
As I look outside to the left, towards the gilded skyscrapers of Makati, I see a country who flies towards its dreams.
As I look outside to the right, I see slums, lean-tos and dilapidated buildings, I see the bitter truth of education being not a sure road to social mobility.
All of my students would never have to deal with these questions in their everyday lives. Through power, money, pedigree, connections, cultural capital, or any combination of the above, they are pretty much insulated from these issues.
I realize that one reason why I teach is to show my students how the world works…and let them acquire the skills needed to deal with it. I am lucky to have mostly intelligent and well-mannered students.
It’s a pleasure to be with them everyday, even though there are days when tempers flare and words are harshly said.
It is a victory to see students learning the lesson and remembering it for a long time.
It is a victory to see one student turn from nothing into something.
It is a victory when a student learns your lesson for life.
This is what I think teaching is all about.
I don’t know how many more years I will teach, but I will make sure that I will try to follow this path until the end of my stay.