( Photo taken during a teachers' meeting)
It was my birthday on July 27. I tried to keep it a secret, but it was hard to keep a secret especially birthdays from my co-teachers. I tried to keep it secret because it was the tradition among the grade six teachers for the birthday celebrant to provide merienda. I was broke; come to think of it, I am always broke.
I was really touched that day because instead of me buying the food, my grade six co-teachers made contributions so that we could eat hence not letting my birthday pass by without the traditional afternoon b-day snack. May konting awit pa!
Salamat po mga ma’am for accepting me as part of the grade 6 family.
Today is my first year anniversary as a teacher here at a public school somewhere in Rizal, Province.
I reported for duty at the principal’s office on July 15, 2010. My item as national teacher was still due for August, so I was asked by the principal to be a volunteer teacher while waiting for my official appointment.
Volunteer teaching meant teaching without pay, but it was an opportunity for me to get know my would-be co-teachers, the school staff and also to get familiar with the duties and responsibilities of a public school teacher.
Looking back from what I have expected then, I thought my daily working routine would be: reporting in the morning, teach the prescribed number of minutes, and then go home at four in the afternoon—easy enough, but I was wrong. I found out that teaching required sacrifice which according to my veteran co-teachers would sometime even required giving the time you reserved for your family. They were right.
I taught grade five pupils for a month before I was transferred to grade six.
It seemed like it was just few days ago because I still did not know some of my co- teachers by name though I knew all of them by face, but, also, somehow it felt like it had been years because I already felt at home especially in grade six--it’s the camaraderie. My co-teachers have shared a lot of wisdom and experiences with me that somehow I felt I had been with them for a long time.
The stories these veteran teachers shared were not just stories; they were also history of the school and the community. Their stories showed the changes that slowly happened in the school, in the department, changes in the children’s behavior even the changes in the philosophies of the teachers as the years passed by.
There were also anecdotes about principals, supervisors and co-teachers, and even ghost stories about a particular room and legends about the place where the school stood. I love stories and history, so I enjoyed listening to them.
Many of my co-teachers were Master Teachers who were about to retire, but as long as these MTs were still here, I would enjoy their teasings, their hollerings, their sandwiches, biscuits, coffees and most of all their stories—there’s practical knowledge and wisdom in them.