Friday, September 28, 2012

To Be or Not To Be

My head teacher informed me the other late Friday night that we're attending a whole day seminar the following day. I know it was a command rather than a request, so I kindly obliged even if it meant cancelling my thesis appointment on schedule.  Not to mention the foolish crimes I committed lately in school, I had no reason then to beg off. One would not want to be accused of attitude problem, would one? But still, I must confess this frankly and I should be honest to myself that doing so was "out of my heart." 

The weather perfectly matched my temperament that day. It was gloomy outside and I too felt as if gloomy inside. The first speaker was serious as if we were in a court room; the second was funny as if we were watching in a comedy bar; and the third was serene as if we were attending a church mass. They were informative on their respective topics and variety in delivering is the spice. But in the middle of the thing, you know the feeling when I just have to sit there for hours and force myself to listen? It felt like an equivalent of frontal lobotomy!

So amidst the seminar, as gesture of what I believe saving my whole being from insanity, I hauled out my phone inside my bag just a wee bit so that the speaker would not see my little secret. A bit oblivious of the event around and about the topic at the moment, I looked up and I don't know how the funny speaker suddenly popped out near me. I was sure she was not a magician, but things were swift and I just found her standing right through me. 

"Why did you become a teacher?" she asked for the second time. 

I was caught off guard. I heard my seatmates reiterate the question to me, but I mercifully seem can't comprehend and formulate a reasonable answer. It was not that I was dumb. You know me better than that. It was just that things were too shocking; I felt guilty of a mischief and so unprepared logically because it was an impromptu. Yours truly, known in college days as a mighty mouth, sat there like a perfect clod.

When I went home after the seminar, I felt so embarrassed for my own self, thinking how stupid I was! Replaying the question over again and fishing for a perfect answer in my mind just increased my angst. Frankly and humbly, I realized that I just really don't know the answer. So, why, why, why indeed did I become a teacher? Time for reflections.

It did occur in my wild imagination to become a teacher someday but I have always dismissed the idea. Teaching isn't just in my DNA. I knew it to myself that I wanted to be somebody else. My close friends knew that I was planning to shift to some other arts or business courses, but fate had it that I had already earned several Education subjects with "brownie" grades. 

We always discussed in our major classes about the rudiments and importance of the teaching profession. Sometimes I felt guilty faking my recitations and essays, appreciating this noble profession, which in fact I really don't. But what can I do? I was just trapped in a course that just don't love although I have nothing against it. I should not be sent to purgatory, should I?

The final year was the point of no return. It was then that I had to face my fears. I was privileged to be deployed in public school. I am no much firm believer of miracle, but I must say that little by little I learned to appreciate, in the truest sense, the beauty of the teaching profession. And hey, I'm no kidding!

Putting my feet in the shoes of a teacher gave me a glimpse of the nobility of this profession. I learned that when and if I become a teacher, it is not enough that I sing silly songs, play foolish games, read funny stories, laugh out loud and appreciate a flower. The dimension of teaching profession is more than the four walls of the classrooms; it embraces the many facets of life. I realized that when and if I become a teacher, I should also be prepared to act as a parent, a counselor, a friend, a servant and even a shock absorber. 

East II is on the go! These are my co-teachers in the district during our
cheering contest in celebration of World Teachers' Day.

Being asked by the speaker during the seminar was an eye opener for me to re-evaluate myself as a teacher. Experience like that reminds me that I am given this very great opportunity to be of useful to other people's lives. There are times when I just want to give up and say good bye forever, not knowing that there are a lot more hopeless souls out there who, despite their sad situations, still go on fighting for a better life, that many young children out there, eager and hopeful, are waiting for me at the other line. 

I am very lucky and privileged to be chosen as a teacher. And this I will be forever proud of until the end. So now, thanks God, and allow me to greet myself with a clean conscience: A Happy World Teachers' Month!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Nostalgia for Words

Can you believe this? That sometimes I am just way nostalgic for some odd things in life, for reasons unknown to my consciousness, like nostalgic about words...

The shameless sun was nowhere yesterday noon as I ferried for a ride going home. The tricycle which picked me up had one passenger already at the backseat, an old lady. I was able to look a bit of her as I took the front seat, an ocular habit that I must admit I have developed for the many years now of commuting in this bumpy world. The wrinkles in her face betrayed her age, but she was a well coiffed woman. Just as when the tricycle drove off, the old lady resumed talking to the driver with her rants of words, so I surmised that they already had conversations before I aboarded. 

She was complaining about how her hometown Ciudad de Zamboanga has become messy nowadays because of the various whys and wherefores she explained. Piqued by the topic, I turned back to the her.
In turn to Chabacano.

"Chabacano tu, hermana?" I asked curiously. I saw an immediate surprise in her face, but she was more delighted, probably at how I spoke the language.

"Si," she confirmed cheerily with a bright face. "Chabacano tu tambien?" she queried.

"Un, un" I stuttered as I tried my best while the old lady nodded her head to and fro as if helping me to express what I wanted to say. "Un Chabacano el abuelo de mio," I finally uttered, groping for the right words to answer.

"Ah. Chabacano man yo pero ya vive yo aqui," she said.

We felt at ease with each other in an instant like we're a glove and a hand for she kept talking to me, too. She pointed out how her pueblo have become ugly because, for one, of the influx of migrants who are naturally not Chabacanos. I understand that she is a purist person who belong to the former generation and wanted to preserve what is distinct her culture - its colorful language. Okay, but who cares about preserving language nowadays?

Yet listening in her creole language brought a frisson of nostalgia in me for reasons that I can't fathom for myself. Am I hearing my granny back? Am I one with the thoughts of this lady in my past life? Or am I just in a poignant mood at the moment? This woman is having a nostalgia of her old things, of her old hometown, of her old language, just like me.

As the tricycle stopped in front the church, the old lady gave her fare to the driver and went off the tricycle. She still seemed to have a lot to talk about but she just looked at me and exclaimed with a wide smile: "Adios, guapito!"

Some people are nostalgic about childhoods, about countrysides, about traditions. Other people are nostalgic about other people. Are few people, like me and that old lady, nostalgic about words?