I Teach Because They Taught Me Well
Every now and then, I still find myself questioning why and how I happened to fall into teaching. I still haven’t figured out the answer to that, but every time I find myself questioning just that, I am reminded that whatever the reason may be, I am just so lucky to have been given the opportunity to be among the ranks of those who are called ‘teacher’, and while I may be (and perhaps always will be) an Accidental Teacher, I am grateful that I am able to heed the call to do what it is I do.
Today I’d like to take pause and honor all the teachers that have paved the way for my own path, because in my heart of hearts, I know I wouldn’t be here if not for what I’ve gained through them.
Perhaps the teacher I owe most of who I am today is Teacher Chona. It was she who recognized early warning signs of dyslexia in me and went through great lengths to help me overcome that looming learning disability. While it may come to hinder me every now and then, I believe that her support and insights as early as then made learning, and yes, even excelling, a possibility for me.
I also thank my ICA teachers most specially Teachers Luz and Gina for being among the very first to believe in my gift of words. Even as early as the 7th grade you encouraged me to explore poetry and prose, and took time to read my little notes and in return remind me to use my gift to touch others. And when I became a teacher myself, you both welcomed me to the fold with open arms.
In college, I swore to shift from FLCD to Psychology as soon as it was possible. In many ways, I am grateful that didn’t work out, because I wouldn’t have had the chance to meet many of the most wonderful teachers ever. In the UP FLCD department I finally learned that the true measure of learning and achievement was not a 1.0 but how you take what you learn to become a better you. And yes, it was there that I learned to appreciate the fact that learning is a reward entirely on its own that does not need to be validated by prizes or external motivators.
Like most of my most important life experiences, finding myself in the hallowed halls of DLSU for graduate school was by sheer accident. While that may have been the case, it definitely was a fortunate accident for this was where I found many of the most influential people in my life. From Drs. Bob Mendoza and Caring Tarroja to Robert Javier, Made Sta. Maria, Maeyet Lapena all of whom saw (and I’d like to think still do despite my resistance to go head to head with that monkey on my back aka my thesis), a limitless potential in me that I never imagined I had.
It was there too that I met some of the most life-changing women in my life, the first being my wise sage, Dr. Seann Tan-Mansukhani who has seen me soar to heights I never thought I would reach and held my hand through the deepest and darkest moments on my life.
And of course, I wouldn’t be who I am now if not for Teachers Trina and Pia, who, although never taught me in a classroom, have taught me the most important lessons in life outside those four walls: to have faith, to inspire, to hold on and persevere, to love, trust, and take chances, as well as to admit hurt, forgive, move on and to believe in second chances. But most specially, through your unconditional support and acceptance for all that is me allows me to see who and what I really can be, even though is slip up and flail every now and then.
Oh…and a special shout-out to all my Playschool co-teachers past and present, Teachers Alice, Tina, Lani, Janine, Grace, Jam, Aika, and Joy for being a part of my own teaching journey!
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