Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Sir


[Posted this in my old blog last 07/08/06, a few days after my first day as a faculty member in the UP College of Medicine's Department of Family and Community Medicine - Section of Community Medicine. I've been suffering from a spell of writer's block as of late despite all the updates I should be posting; hence, another rehashed entry hehe Hopefully I'll get over this fugue. But teaching gives a high that I wish I'd never be free of.]

This week I came back to school, no longer as a student, but as a teacher.

I began working a few days ago as a faculty member of one of the departments in the college where I graduated. As the day winded down, I finally got a glimpse of why my teachers then and teachers in general are so passionate with the profession they chose to devote their lives in.

I caught word of the opening a few weeks back. One of my former teachers encouraged me to apply and after much soul searching, I finally did. I wasn’t hopeful about getting the slot because of my still limited experience in the field I am tasked to teach but suffice it to say, due to an interplay of many events and factors, I did get the job.

To say that the day was fraught with much anxiety is a gross understatement. From what to wear to how I smelled; from losing them in the LRT to being unable to protect them from thugs that may harass them as we do our field work; from the danger of obscenities escaping my dirty mouth to saying utterly nonsensical stuff to inadvertently seeding cynicism and despair- I was a wreck.

I did try my best to be inspired and inspiring, answering their questions the smartest way I could. When we sat down for our small group discussion to process our field work, what was supposed to be a short, thirty-minute thing lasted for more than an hour. Of course I won’t get high marks for sticking to time limits but I do give them high marks for being way smarter than I was sitting opposite my own teachers when I myself was still a student.

Much as I hoped they took away more than a nugget of wisdom and inspiration, I believe I got the better part of the deal. I emerged from the experience with a renewed sense of confidence and hope for the country; and if it this group of students represents what the future holds for all of us who came before them, we definitely have nowhere else to go but up and out of the rut we are in now.

I am faaaaaaaaaar from being a master teacher; I don’t even feel I deserve to be called a teacher yet. I feel more like a teacher’s aide or instructor or a sub. I don’t even have my university appointment papers yet so technically I am a non-entity. I catch myself analyzing and replaying in my head things that I said or ought to have said, quietly chastising myself for slip-ups and all the could-have- and should-have-beens.

All I can think of a few days after this milestone in my life is the title of Maya Angelou’s book I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. I really don’t know what the book is all about but the title feels like a metaphor for teachers- especially those trapped in low-paying, almost inhuman working conditions- who in spite of all the negative vibe surrounding them remain true to their calling, thrive, and inspire others to be free from the bondage of ignorance and inaction…

And ultimately soar.

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