Voice of Experience

“Mag teacher ka na lang!” Not just ten but more than a hundred times I hear such degrading, earpiercing comment from parents who want their sons or daughters to be… TEACHERS. “Probably the easiest course!” This was what I thought. I went through the labors of college and made good in my studies. In four years time I became a graduate – a new, young, aspiring, idealistic, dreamy-eyed… EDUCATOR.me

In my first year of teaching, I went through all forms of adjustment. That was the time when I had to come down from the clouds of idealism. When I first got the taste of everything that surrounded me – the students, my co-teachers, my superiors and administrators, I caught on a lot of “It can’t be this…”, “It has to be this…”, “This is impossible!” Complaints… endless complaints. I felt as though I couldn’t settle for anything less. Deep inside, I thought I knew a lot. I felt like a messiah – able and powerful to change and put everything in order. (Messianic concept… anyone?)

I couldn’t believe the results of the exam of my students the first time I gave a test – many of them got zero! When I worked with the personnel, a bulk of work were left undone. I felt as though I was about to burst! What was going on? Later, I came to realize that my college education was not enough to prepare me for this battle. I needed first hand experience to fully figure out what it was like to be a teacher… to be an educator.

Seventeen years passed and somehow, I could already pinpoint my limits, my importance and my place in a great bulk of educational system. I might not be able to change the system but I could still do something in my role and in my obligation as a teacher. Now I personally disagree with those who make education a second-best course because it is but more than a mere consolation to witness a group of young boys and girls who were once my students graduated with honors. They would leave the portals of the school with the fondest memories of all – their school life with everybody and everything on it and – and not so surprinsingly – we’re part of them.

The kind of person or teacher we are undoubtedly leave an indelibe mark on the student’s character. Teachers can be very powerful because we can potently influence the students. We can make or unmake them. The students’ laughter, problems, inhibitions and confusions are not theirs alone but also ours. Unconsciously, we get soaked up with their emotions and become affected in a way too. Learning that Juan’s mother and father just broke-up, and his grades are affected is not something we can smile with. Hearing that somebody in our class met an accident and would mostlikely be operated on – is not something we can shrug our shoulders about. These are but simple realities in the teacher’s life, and they’re not too nice to go through. College education may have forgotten to teach us these but the experience will.

So perhaps, like any other course, let’s think deeply and decide whether or not to be an educator. It takes not only patience, but love to survive the colorful- life that lays ahead for those who are willing enough to mold and shape the future of our country. It’s because – it’s not that easy. It doesn’t only need a teacher to be intelligent for him to teach well; not only have big hands to work well; not only have bigger ears to hear the students well; but to have a heart, a little bit bigger than the others to understand them well.

That’s what we are and that’s what we will always be.

(by Alma T. Cafe)

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