October is about to end but I still ain’t got a birthday post yet. I don’t know, but remembering my birthday still gets me shivers. Shivers not of excitement but shivers out of fear. For on the day before my birthday, I experienced the lowest point of my entire teaching career!
Students, yes they do talk back. And they talk back a lot especially the RK, the rick kids that is. I had experienced that way back in Chinese School, yes I did experienced being humiliated there. Twice, thrice, yes there were three times. One was the kid who put all my things inside a bucket as I’ve story-told here, the other was with a parent who furiously barged in, alleging me of letting her son do a stunt right in front of my students, and lastly, with the kid who shouted “leche!” as I’ve heard but even up to this day, he still denies. Hay, teacher life! Three years in Chinese School and I still embraced teaching!
Fast forward 2013 when I got the courage to apply in La Salle. First impression was wow! The students were so courteous, so responsible, so diligent, with initiative, and super motivated! So I always see to it to give my very best to them though there are instances that I still have my shortcomings. I grew in La Salle career-wise and I got inspired by my students. I really learned a lot from them and my life was so perfect until I encountered another RK again!
On my 8th year of teaching, it was my first time to be talked back in the form of big shouts by a 16-year old student! I felt so humiliated in front of my other 42 students! I was so trembling with anger of course because I was not being respected as a teacher, much more as a female species. I was also trembling with fear because the kid was seething with rage as was shown in his eyes and he was a lot bigger than me! Then I recalled the teacher in Cagayan de Oro who was stabbed to death by her own junior high student right inside the classroom while they were having their class. Poor, unfortunate me if that would have had happened to me!
Well, poor, unfortunate teeeea-chers because there ain’t any law protecting them! There are plenty of laws protecting the children’s and students’ rights but for the teachers, nada, zero, zilch! No matter how we turn the world upside down and no matter how many angles we’ll look at the case, all blame are thrown to the teacher! Teacher factor blah blah! The teacher is always at fault! Well in fact, it is the teacher who gives ALL the sacrifices in the world just for the sake of the students! Like, hello, Mr. President, can we pass a law safeguarding the rights of our teachers? Can we make a change in here?
Tsk tsk tsk. Just when I accepted that I am destined to be a teacher and this happened. You know what that night, I cried to God and appealed to Him, “Dili nako. Dili nako. Dili nako.” repeatedly. I wanted to abort my mission ‘coz as the ship captain says, “When things get rough, prepare to abandon ship.” I wanted to abandon everything! It was just too painful that after all these years of preparing lessons, of studying, and of training myself to be a better teacher, this is only what I got! I lost my confidence to face a class. Much more, I lost my dignity as a teacher. What happened to me might be perceived as a small thing by others but it left me broken, shattered even!
So I could never ever forget my 34th birthday for on that day, I cried and cried and cried! I looked at blank spaces, little shouts from somewhere made me quiver! Emotional trauma was all I’ve got! What a best birthday gift ever! Nobody and nothing could cheer me up! I even cancelled my birthday dinner at Big J for who would want to celebrate? But fortunately, I got my family and friends backing me up and they did not allow me not to celebrate my birthday especially my former students, the Physics majors by raiding our house with a surprise!
Though I got a very heavy heart, they made everything light! Thank you so much to college buddies, Artson and Cathy for dropping by from Iligan, to Jaycee besties Atsi Ann and MM, Auntie Bebot and cuzzy Rio, Papa, Mama, and little sissy Laling. And to my now teachers, Risty and Liezl and my future teachers, Dolly, Merry Cris, and Mark, thank you for giving me strength that day!
Apart from those mentioned above, I also thank all my friends who extended their birthday greetings and to my other students, my precious ones whom I really know, who consoled me in my deepest pain. You, guys are my dearest treasure! It’s overwhelming to have such support system!
When 1 pulled me down, 300 stood up for me and they went like, “Don’t mess with our Miss Mae!” Cause of my pain and sorrow, students. Cause of my joy and happiness, also students. A roller coaster ride of emotions, that is. God is teaching me something which I believe I haven’t learnt yet, the reason why He made me into a teacher.