It feels good to reminisce the time when you were still in the fantasy stage—full of ideals, enthusiasm, and passion. I wrote this essay before I graduate college. Again, sorry if it’s just another rotten piece of work.
It was the 15th day of November. I woke up very early for I was excited to go to my cooperating school. It was the first time that I met my students.
When I went to Marikina Science High School, early this morning, I went directly to the Principal’s Office to meet Ms. Gazzingan, the Assistant Principal. She oriented me and my classmates about the things that we should be doing for the whole semester. She told us who our cooperating teachers would be, the year level that we are going to handle, and the schedule of our classes. As she was speaking, my heart was beating very fast. I was not really comfortable with what I was feeling in front of her. Probably because of the way she speaks and the tone of her voice.
“This is one thing that you should remember,” she said, “Never come to class unprepared!” These words retained in my mind. She said it with her eyes wide open as she emphasized very well the importance of being prepared every time we enter the classroom. “The students here are very bright,” she added, “They can skin you alive!”
Hearing these words from her, I felt like I was buried in my seat. My feet were really numb as I was trying to listen to every word she was saying. The thought that the students studying in Marikina Science are really competitive added to the pressure. As I was listening to her, I felt like I was holding my breath. I was only able to breathe comfortably when she finally said, “Don’t worry, we are always here to back you up.” I somehow felt relieved.
I especially remember the gratefulness of Ms. Gazzingan when we came to have our practice teaching there. She admitted that they were having problems on teachers. Three teachers were on leave; one handles Biology, the other one teaches Math, and the English teacher who was supposed to be my cooperating teacher. “This is an answered prayer,” she said joyously, “You are of big help to us!” From nervousness to happiness, my emotions suddenly changed.
As my heart was filling with joy, she handed us the schedule of the third year students whom we were going to handle. There were four sections in third year—Californium, Germanium, Americium, and Francium. Ms. Gazzingan was the one teaching Californium, and the rest is under Mrs. Ambas who was on her maternity leave. Mr. Bosi was the substitute but his major is not English and he had a lot of concerns that’s why he has also not been meeting the other sections regularly.
I was assigned to teach Americium and Francium students. Of course, everybody had different impressions the first time I met them. Like a stepmother being introduced to the children of her new husband, the feeling was not really comfortable. I introduced myself in front of them as I was trying to look at everybody’s face, but it was all blank. It was a sea of faces and everybody was a stranger. I was kind of nervous because I know this is different from the school I’ve been to. After that, Ms. Gazzingan left us in the room. It was really ironic because she told us never come to class unprepared, and there I was in front of the students with nothing to say! Since I had no idea where and how to start, I took advantage of the opportunity to know the students and asked them to say something about themselves. Then I asked their previous lessons and I was shocked when I found out that they had not been having classes for almost one quarter.
The next day, 16th day of November, was our first regular class. The lesson was the poem, “I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud” by William Wordsworth. I was really touched because I saw in their eyes the eagerness to learn, like a helpless baby starving for food. Everybody was active and they even told me that my approach was very different. I especially remember what one of the students told her classmate, “Hay salamat! May teacher na rin tayo!” Because of this, I went out of their classroom with a big smile on my face.
I was excited to enter the classroom for our next meeting. Our topic was another poem by William Wordsworth, “The Solitary Reaper”. I was filled with joy when they told me that they appreciated the poems because I was able to interpret them very well. They even shared personal experiences related to the poems. I was beginning to build rapport and starting to know their individual differences.
I prepared activities that involved the whole class and would enhance their skills. I was never disappointed when I asked them to present something in class. I also prepared games and puzzles which they really enjoyed. All of them participated and that added to my sense of fulfillment.
After weeks of teaching the students, I proved that what Ms. Gazzingan told me was true. The students were very bright. They sometimes asked questions that I could not answer. But I explained to them that I am just a human being and I have my limitations. There might be things that I do not know which they know, and there were things that they do not know which I know. I emphasized that we have to work together to learn and I was very glad with their response. I appreciated very much the way they treated me despite the fact that I was only a student teacher. They treated me like their real teacher giving me a certain degree of respect. And in return, I respect their opinions and consider that everyone is unique. Every meeting became very fun and exciting. Even though I treated them like friends, they still know their boundaries and that made our relationship better.
I’ve also learned that when you are a teacher, you have to be flexible. You play different roles in the lives of your students. One instance that made me realize this was when one of my students came to me and confessed her family problems. There was a painful pinch in my heart the moment she told me everything. I didn’t really know what to say so I just listened to her and made her feel that she has a friend in me. Then another instance was when one student composed a poem for me and told me that I inspired her to write poems. These are only few of the rewards that I got from my student teaching. Things that cannot be bought by money nor can they be washed away by time.
Here is the poem that one of my students wrote for me almost five years ago.
- ‘Teachers Make’ A Difference, What About You? (wnyc.org)
- It’s Teacher Appreciation Week – Thanks to Those Who Inspire (ruthcatchen.wordpress.com)
- Teaching is about caring … (teachingaroundtheworld.wordpress.com)
- Why Teach? (sincerelymheg.wordpress.com)