I had been a teacher for twelve years, from 1995 to 2008. This passage of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow brought inspiration and motivation for those years in teaching service:
I shot an arrow into the air
It fell to the earth I know not where,
For, so swiftly it flew, the sight
Could not follow it in its flight.
I breathed a song into the air
It fell to earth I know not where,
For who has sight so keen and strong
That it can follow the flight of a song.
Long, long afterward in a tree,
I found the arrow, still unbroken,
And the song from the beginning to end,
I found again in the heart of a friend.
One of the unforgettable moments in my teaching was transcribed in Gapan, Nueva Ecija from 2006 to 2008. Before I transferred in that place, I was a secondary school teacher at Pines City National High School in Baguio City, enjoying a cool and relaxing surrounding and mountain breeze. During a vacation in Gapan, my aunt and relatives told me: “Huwag mong pabayaan ang sarili mong bayan.” (Don’t forget your own hometown). Yes, Gapan is considering as my howetown since my grandmother is a native of that place. I tried to apply at DepEd division of Gapan City. Luckily, I was accepted. My temporary assignment while I am waiting for a permament teaching position is at Kapalangan National High School in Brgy. Kapalangan. After two weeks, the division office instructed me to report at Macatulang Elementary School located in a far flung barangay of Macabaklay to handle multi-grade level. The school is located at the boundary of Dona Remedios Trinidad in Bulacan, General Tinio and Gapan in Nueva Ecia. It is challenging for me to teach multi-grade level, since my previous experiences were from secondary school level. Yes, I am qualified to teach for both levels, I graduated Bachelor in Elementary Education (BEEd) and Bachelor in Secondary Education (BSEd), having my teaching license for secondary school level which is also relevant to elementary school level.
The division office introduced my lone co-teacher who instructed me and gave some reminders to follow. There is no other means of transportation to reach the place but to use the “scramler” or mountain motorcycle. We need to bring our week long food consumption for there is no store in the area. Likewise, we need to bring also our clothes for the week. We need to reach the place by Monday, and return to town by Friday. There is no electrity in the area so we need to bring extra full charged battery for Nokia 3310. Cellphone signal is also limited, so we need to look for a place even for one bar signal, or sometimes, if we are expecting for important message from the division office, we should hang our cellphone at the classroom ceiling.
First day is exciting, but we did not reach the school due to heavy rain in the area. We stayed to the nearest school in the place, Bebit Elementary school which is three kilometers away. My partner’s contact in the area said that heavy rain is still incessant so we decided to go back to town. The following day is a second try. Yes, we reached the place. There are only two classrooms, one for the primary and the other one is for the intermediate. During that day, only few pupils attended the class, they expected we are not be able to arrived due to inclement weather yesterday. Road is still muddy and slippery. I met my pupils, grade one, grade two, and grade three. Seating arrangement is easy, first row is for grade one, the second row is for grade two, and the last one is for grade three.
First day is hard one for me. Fear is evident for their face since it was the first time they met me, and saw a bespectacled man. They asked me: “Sir, ano yang nasa mata mo?” Teaching grade one seems a harakiri to me. How do I begin teaching this young minds to read and write? Unwieldy of effort should apply, adjustment of teaching technique must perform. Teaching grade one pupils quite different from teaching fourth year high school. I need divine guidance, I need patience and perseverance to be able these children to learn. After couple of months, I transfered to intermediate level, handling grades four to six. I am not a neophyte in teaching this level. In previous years, I experienced to teach grades four to six. Moreover, I still remember my montessori teaching experiences. Yes, when I was in Baguio City, I am a class adviser of Grade Five with Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, American and Filipino tutelage.
After several months, my colleague teacher called for his new assignment, and new teacher arrived in school. While traveling in the forested area, I met minor accident, yes, small accident that brought damage to my internal organ. I suffered hepatic contusion which resulted to long term liver condition.
“Long, long afterward in a tree, I found the arrow, still unbroken, and the song from the begining to end, I found again in the heart of a friend.” Teachers’ happiness in unfathomable if learning process transmitted to the pupil learners. Knowledge should be transfered and like an arrow, it must hit the mark. Teaching has joys and tears, but still, it is the most noble profession in this world. It was ten years ago since I left that noble profession, but I still remember that “one day in my life as a teacher.”