I am not an excellent teacher but I try my best to extraordinary.
I know how much I lag at checking papers, keeping records and returning quiz notebooks. If I had to be measured by such, I would definitely flunk. There are days when I find myself in the middle of the classroom, confused by the statements I make. I tell you, I teach no head-wrecking algebra, I teach Third Grade English. These, make me conclude, I am not close to being the Excellent Teacher that others are.
However, I try to be extraordinary. I do not try to be memorable. I try to create memories. That, I think, is a shot at being extraordinary.
Lately, the people around me witnessed how I vented about hating teaching. Yes, my emotions tell me I do not like being with these kids. In addition, this mindset transcends in the classroom. After all, out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. Regrettably, I have said some un-nice things to my kids, and showed them that horrible wide-eye glare. You know, that moment when sweet Ariel transforms into fuming Ursula.
However, when I start to think of the Men and Women that these kids will become in the future, I suddenly realize these kids are no toys.
For a week now, I have started the BE ME Program in the Classroom. For a day, each of them can be ME.
I still do the teaching, the lessons and all. However, the one who gets the privilege to be ME is given the authority to ‘lord’ over his classmates, hmnn… the way teacher does. This also means that he is responsible for letting his classmate stay quiet, he gives permission for pee breaks, he makes sure everyone is copying/ doing their work, etc.
After the class, I interview them and usually, they would sigh and tell me how hard it is to be a teacher. I then encourage them by giving a hearty “Good Job!” Some of them are amazed at the fact that their classmates showed them respect. That is my whole point. (Although on the side, I feel victorious for letting them get a taste of their own silliness.) I want them to BELIEVE there is something in them that is worth respecting.
Nevertheless, it is not all good memories I want to create. I make room for memories that teach.
I love Dee. If it were not wrong to choose favorites, I would say he is my favorite. He is chinky eyed, his face is pudgy and his fingers are fat. However, it is the unique blend of innocent and logical thinking that makes me love him. You see, in my opinion, he has the intellect of a 12 year old but he emotion of a 6 year old.
He can spot the inconsistency in my statements. He could remember promises. He could be cruelly honest at times. I remember one time when he told me I look ugly with my purple-ish lipstick.
However, he can get selfish. When he is doing something, he would not care about anything else except that. He interrupts you at mid-sentence just because he remembered something…and HE NEEDS TO SAY IT! Most of the times, these URGENT statements have nothing to do with the lesson.
The other day, I caught him playing with paper. He drew a house tied to a gazillion balloons and kept throwing it on air. Apparently, he still has the UP hangover. That’s another thing about Dee. He cannot get over things so easily. (This scares me thinking about his first heartbreak)
Therefore, I caught the flying house and tucked it in the books. He protested and broke into tears.
Me: I will return it after dismissal.
Dee: Aaaayyyyiiii!!!! I don’t want! Give it back!
At this point, my eyes were already the size of 2 saucers.
Dee broke in even louder sobs.
Dee: Teacher, I can’t stop being angry!!!! (He cried with a hint of repentance)
I was stopped. I was close to breaking down. When Dee cries, you cannot help but pity him. He practically melts away like a helpless baby.
Me: Dee, I am sorry, but you can’t have it back. NOT until dismissal!
He kept bargaining, I kept saying NO. The classroom suddenly fell silent, certain that I was already angry.
I tuned my back and wrote something on the board. At the corner of my eye, I saw Ryan, his classmate show his a dictionary. Then the sobbing stopped. When I turned to them, Jobelle, Dee’s seatmate ran towards me, as if stopping me from further explosion. She whispered…
Jobelle: Teacher, Dee doesn’t know the meaning of dismissal. That’s why he was so angry. He didn’t know dismissal means after class. He thought you would never return his paper – toy.
I left the classroom ashamed of the intensity of anger I showed Dee. It was just a piece of paper. However, if you have known Dee, you would know he needs to understand the word NO.
When the bell rang for dismissal, in the wink of an eye (yeah, that fast!)I saw a 9-year old boy standing at my office’s door, beaming a smile without any evidence of anger. Oh, how quickly he forgets!
I wish I could write about these kids everyday and document how they affect my life. I may be creating memories for them but more than that, they are imprinting these memories in my heart.
Someday when they grow up, they will not remember how I taught them the subject – verb agreements. However, I hope they remember that one day in school something extraordinary happened.
I believe every day is not just an ordinary day. So why would I be just ordinary?
I challenge you, wherever you are, be it at work, or home, whatever your job is… Be extra ordinary – start creating memories!
BY JABEZ OBERES