Saturday, November 10, 2012

Teacher for Real

These injustices all started since I graduated from college and until now.

Yesterday I dropped by the MSU High School Library to check on some thesis format before I submitted my edited manuscript to my adviser for the routing process. As I approached the Dissertation Section, I put on the table the clipped pile of papers. The librarian aide noticed me.

Librarian: Is that thesis?
Me: Yes. But for routing process yet.
Librarian: What year are you in college?
Me: Huh? I'm studying in the Graduate School!

When I was just a fresh graduate from college, it was okay for me that people who do not know me personally often mistook me as a hapless student. I just let situation like this slip away. As a matter of fact, I consider it as a blessing in disguise because I actually benefit from it.

For instance, riding a jeep as a part of my daily rut during my first teaching career, the conductor would not think that I am a professional teacher even in my honorable uniform. When I give a twenty pesos bill, the conductor would take only the price of a student fare – a stratagem that I have enjoyed. I mean, who would not? In these days of overpricing fares, I don’t feel guilty and I consider myself one lucky dog.

But what I cannot take is when, four years forward, people still think that I am a student - even on my best teacher attire! This noble profession which I struggled to attain for years was simply denied from me by situations where justice is nowhere in the world.

One weekend of a hell last year, my parents visited me in the city. We went to some relatives whom I've never known for the many years of my existence in this cruel world. When I was introduced, the old lady said that she think I looked younger. Of course, my liver inflated for such a compliment. But not until she damn added that she would think that I’m only a high school student, not even a respectable teacher! Well, what else can I do? My other relatives were in an amused chorus of laughter! I felt my smile faded into a raw one.

Despite such and among other injustices of the unkind fate to me, I still convinced myself that I am a true blue teacher for myself no matter what they think. Hello, do they want to get slapped with my PRC identification card as an evidence to the court? Yet, ladies and gentlemen, I didn't know the worst was yet to come.

My former boardmate abroad asked me if I happened to hang around a burger station which her aunt owns. Curious to know, I set out one time to feed my darn hungry stomach to the burger station which my former boardmate described. I broke off from the crowd and asked this middle aged lady. She looked with a surprise to me. She cheerily confirmed and told me that she is my former boardmate’s aunt. And so we chatted. “In what grade are you?” she asked. “I mean, in what year are you in high school?” she rephrased. That time, I wanted to throw a curse in the wind, but I prevented myself from washing my linen in the public.

People always mistook me as a student - name whatever level. Sometimes it is a flattery to my back but oftentimes it is a blow to my ego. I do not know exactly why people do. Maybe because I do not care enough to look a professional teacher or maybe because my personality does not evoke an authority of a stereotypical teacher. Whatever, only I myself can know the damn truth.

Estudyante ka dong? Nope! I am a teacher for real!

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