While I was carefully turning the pages of my dilapidated literature book, a yellowish bond paper fell. I was surprised to see this essay which I wrote when I was on my senior year. I don’t know if it makes sense but I thought of posting it anyway. Just don’t blame me if you find reading this a waste of time. I warned you. 🙂
When I entered Center for Teacher Education, I never thought I would come to a point where I would be practice teaching. That time, being a teacher was not in my heart. I only took up this course because of my mother’s wish. When I was in first year, I was not serious in my studies because what I wanted was to become a psychologist. Until I met this person who made a big difference in my life. She had a great passion for teaching. For her, teaching was not just a profession, but a vocation which she vowed to do until the end. Even though she had already passed away, I can still feel a part of her in me through the principles that I’ve learned from her.
When I met Dr. Pacita Fernandez, I got really inspired to teach. I never thought I would meet someone like her, a person who was able to touch the heart of many people. When she was still teaching, I could feel her sense of fulfillment. She inculcated in my heart that the logic of love is sacrifice, so even though she did not possess all the riches in this world, I knew she was happy because of the good things that she had done. I was amazed with the way she taught me. Her inspiring words, pertinent advice, and heartwarming approach to the lesson really touched my heart every time I went out of the four walls of the classroom. She treated me not only as a student but also as a friend. I’ve learned a lot of things from her, not only the facts that could be found in the books but more importantly how to apply them when I go out to the real world which is cruel and hurting. She found happiness in teaching and despite her age and weak body she did not stop. I could not remember a time when she was not teaching. Semester after semester, she was there to guide the students who were taking their first steps in a journey of a thousand miles. Then, I said to myself that someday I would like to be like her, a person who has achieved many things yet not supercilious nor condescending. I would like to teach my students the way she taught me. And so, I decided to pursue my teaching career.
Now, I am already at the last stage of my college life—practice teaching. This is a very critical stage. I am no longer the one sitting on the chair listening, but the one standing in front speaking. Whatever I do might influence the students and change their view. And yes, it is not really easy to survive. I need to sacrifice, exert a lot of effort, and endure the pain that goes with it.
In my first semester of teaching, I had a lot of experiences. When I entered the classroom for the first time as a student teacher, I felt like I was a new individual—more mature and serious. I could not explain how I felt when the students greeted me and called me “Ma’am” for the first time. I was excited and overjoyed. Every time I entered the classroom, I set the mood of the class by giving them a warm smile. I was very motivated to teach because I know that it was my opportunity to inculcate in the minds of my students the things that I’ve learned from my professors, not only the things that are found in the books but more importantly the values which they will carry throughout their lives. I made sure that before I leave their classroom, I have taught them something. I also stressed the importance of English especially nowadays. I tried to make the most out of everyday. But of course, there were problems which almost made me gave up.
There was a time when I felt like I was very stressed out. I came to a point where I experienced that I had to do a lot of things at the same time. Doing lesson plans, visual aids and checking interminable papers. I felt like not only was my body tired but my mind as well. But I took it as a challenge. I put in my mind that they are part of being a teacher. Then, there was another experience which really hurt me. It was painful when despite all my efforts to make the discussion lively, there were students who would not listen. Some even cut classes. It was frustrating when I know that I did my best yet there were students who failed. These instances made me want to give up. But I remember my mentor who was able to overcome these challenges. She used to remind me never to give up. And if she was still here, I know she would encourage me to continue the battle. I do not want to disappoint her so I tried to become more patient and more determined.
This experience of practice teaching made me realize many things. First, that I must love what I am doing. If you love your work, no matter how hard and challenging it may be, you will succeed. I also realize not to give up easily. Despite all the hardships, I continue the battle and now I am halfway to reach my goal. I also learn a lot from my students. They shared with me their experiences and I was able to see things from their point of view. My favorite part was when I teach literature. I was able to ask practical questions and relate the lesson to life situations. I could not explain the feeling when they learn something from the story and when they relate themselves to the characters. I appreciate it when they tried their best to express themselves even though they find it hard to speak English. These instances washed away my weariness.
Being a teacher is not easy. You have to be ready all the time. The students will look at you as if you know everything. There are also tons of things to do everyday. But despite all the setbacks and inconveniences, teaching is still fun. Even though I am not yet a real teacher, I can feel the joy when the students greet me and wave goodbye with smiles on their faces. No word can express the happiness that I feel every time they say “Thank you for teaching us”. No material thing can replace the sense of fulfillment every time you see your students learning from you. No other profession can give this satisfaction and can reach the hearts of different people. Now, I realize why despite all the hardships, there are teachers who will never replace teaching with other profession. I also understand now how my professor felt and why she continued to teach until the end leaving me this phrase: “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.”
I don’t have pictures of her but here are two precious things she left me — a detached page from her old book with a touching message and a simple card she gave before my practice teaching.
— To Dr. Pacita Guevara-Fernandez, thank you so much for the inspiration. You will always be a part of me. Au Revoir.