Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Teacher Essay: Paglalayag sa Puso ng Isang Bata

        Hey there, it’s march one again and I just passed by my blog to update the readers out there that I am still alive..hehehe…Anyways, my main reason why I posted here is because I wanted to share my reflections and thoughts about a school year that has passed. I think some of you might have missed me being a discusser of LET topics but I’m sorry to tell that I have finished through that stage. I am now a full-fledged teacher so if I ever would be posting something in this blog, it might be most probably about teaching and my experiences as a teacher. Don’t worry, if I get inspired, I would still post some LET topics. You might wonder about my  title. Just read on and you'll realize why...hehe

       I actually love the batch this year because most of them are really characters inside the classroom and perhaps in the whole grade level. Since they were all characters, I think there were a lot of dramas happened. This reasserts my love for teaching because I actually enjoyed the “unfolding” of events everytime there is a drama. There were crying, shouting and fighting because of irreconcilable differences amongst some of my students. All I could do as to sigh and be calmed as I tried to settle things. This year, I did a lot of “pep talk” with my students and I found this effective both as counseling and disciplinary tool.

     On a more serious note, this year was my first time to have an accident involving one of my students. He accidentally slipped on the floor while playing and broke his arm. I honestly felt guilty to the point that I wasn’t able to sleep for a couple of days. I find myself responsible because I could have avoided that incident to happen. A part of me tells that I could have done something to avoid the accident. I could have asked my students to do seat works or just be seated and not to play (I usually have a “play time” for my pupils as part of my reward system). While a part of me tells that accidents are accidents…and no enough “what ifs” could turn back time. All we can do is to move forward and correct our mistakes and make sure that no accident again will happen. However, what struck me the most as a teacher is that I need to take utmost care my students. It made me feel more responsible because we are entrusted by their parents to take care of their kids and to protect them from any danger. A student, no matter how unattractive, naughty or dull, is a precious child in the eyes of his/her parents.

     The most significant thing I think I realized this year is the fact that being liked as a teacher is different from being valued. Students may say that they like you but they may not value you as a teacher. Being liked sometimes results to familiarity and thus most of the time breeds contempt. You know our school just recently opened middle high school levels. I was quite excited about it because some of my students would not be enrolling in other schools anymore and I could see them everyday. Now I have this bunch of students who always say that they want to go back to grade 6 because they liked me a lot. When I do my classes, they were always at the door or peering at the window of my classroom. I was a bit happy about the feeling of them visiting me quite often. However, it became annoying and distracting to the flow of my lessons because they were butting in as I talk. I tried to tell them that this is inappropriate but they keep doing this for several times. One day, I was full about their behavior and I tried to count 123 until they go away. As I count 1, one of them sarcastically butted in saying 2. I didn’t initially get mad at them rather I was forced to go out of the classroom and tell them to go away. However, one of my older students in that class got angry at them and said I deserve respect. I just then realized that I actually got disrespected and I felt embarrassed in front of my class.

     About the value over like idea, I did a sort of test. I tried to experiment if they would try to win me back if I got angry with them. If they truly “value” me as their teacher, I suppose they would apologize to me or perhaps show that they were sorry for what they did. This experiment was actually inspired by my favorite short story of a teacher and a boy which I actually posted HERE!!! YOU'LL LOVE THE STORY...HEHE. This was in Filipino so let me share the synopsis in English:

   There was a boy who always does things for the teacher without the teacher telling him to do so. After the class, when all his classmates are rushing out to go home, the boy always remains and arranges the seats and places the teacher’s slippers in its proper place. After doing these chores, the boy never neglects to say “Goodbye teacher!”

     The teacher grew affection and closeness to the child, and both of them develop a friendship. But one day, the teacher, perhaps because of personal problems or stress that day, yelled and somewhat hurt the feelings of the boy. The teacher felt remorseful about what she did to the boy. On that day, the boy still did his usual tasks, but didn’t look nor talk to the teacher. After all the work has done, the boy left the classroom quietly. This saddened the teacher a lot. She knew that she expected the boy to say goodbye to her. But after what she did, she is more worried that it caused a rift between the two of them. However, to her surprise, the boy went back, and said “Goodbye teacher!” Time seemed to stop for the teacher. She realized that at that moment, the boy became her teacher.

     Now, going back to my test, when this group of students tried to standby at my classroom door, I raised my voice and told them to go away. I quite assumed that they know I was mad at them (though this is just acting for the sake of the test…hehe..) and perhaps they might realize that they did something wrong. I also quite expected they would perhaps do an effort to make amends for what they did. But….they did nothing. What happened next was that they didn’t greet me anymore nor approach me. I don’t know why maybe because they were afraid or shy to approach me because I got mad at them, or I wasn’t significant enough for them to do efforts to win me back,  or maybe they just didn’t care. Was my experiment successful? Perhaps yes. It only asserted that they may like me, but I am not the teacher enough for them to value me. I remembered we had a teacher back in high school, she got angry at our whole class and most of my classmates were in tears. Our class really wanted to win her back and we were very sorry to that teacher because we valued her. But in my case, that didn’t happen. Hehehe….These students, as of the date of posting, didn’t anymore approach me perhaps because of whatever reason unknown to me. Am I saddened? It is hypocrisy to say no. As I always say, every student that I have always has a space in my heart. For them to act that way a bit saddened me. However, as long as there is but one student who values me as a teacher, this is more than enough for me to still love teaching. The thought of still having just one or perhaps a lot of students who value me as their teacher compensates the “loss of some of my sheep”. Perhaps I would just let time do its job. Perhaps in the near future, these kiddos would approach me once again. And who am I not to respond right?  

     Bottom line, some of our students may like us. But never let this be a reason for them to do things that that will break the boundaries of respect between teacher and student. Don’t let respect be compromised for the sake of being liked as a teacher.  Yes, we may be their friends, but I think any friendship won’t work without mutual respect.  Yes they may feel too comfortable or familiar to us, but they still have to remember that we are their teachers. Teachers, that if they truly value, deserve as much respect even they are not under our tutelage anymore.

(P.S. Perhaps others may say that I am presumptuous to expect that my students owe an apology to me since I am not their teacher anymore. Don’t get me wrong. As a teacher, I don’t want to expect something from my students especially those who already have passed through me. I expect nothing for everything I have done for them. If they would still remember me, then I am grateful. If they change and do not, I feel noble. I think this is also one of the reasons why teaching is a noble profession-it is unrequited.  And noble professions like being a soldier or a priest, or a teacher, include selfless and unreciprocated service. Students pass through us and go on with their lives, and it is their prerogative whether or not they would still acknowledge us after they have left our classroom. We have done our part anyway.)

     Now, I am very happy to present to you my batch this year. I have two students who have cleft chins like Taylor Lautner or Ben Affleck or Jude Law, one who has a big forehead like Tyra Banks, one with sleepy/lazy eyes like KPop stars, one who has the voice like Alvin and the Chipmunks, students named Julia Robert and Diana Ross, and a whole lot more. This batch is star-studded!!!hahaha

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