Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Valderrama: Let’s thank our teachers

CAN you remember a teacher who has touched your life and made you think differently about yourself? Can you remember his or her looks, voice, gestures? Or can you remember how he or she criticized your work but made you better the next time you presented your output? Or how he or she became considerate in your difficult times?

Perhaps we can only remember a few of our teachers and perhaps only those who left an indelible mark in our hearts. But even if we do not remember their names and faces anymore, let us appreciate the time we spent with them or the time they spent with us.

It is true that the teaching styles and culture evolved through time.

Before, our teachers would bring sticks or big rulers to hit our fingers with long nails or with illegible penmanship. They would make us sit the whole day to listen to all their lectures, storytelling, and whatnots. And if we talk to our seatmates or fail to answer the question correctly, we would be made to sit on the air or stand facing the wall.

Students are seated in their assigned chairs only and are restricted to ask or share ideas with classmates. They wait for the teacher’s instructions and do what had told them.

Then the classroom setting, the teaching styles, and even how we learn changed through time.

The classroom now is pulsating with activities and discussions and the students prepare their reports or outputs with the teacher facilitating at the side. We use technology all the time and we are immersed in real experiences.

The 21st-century learning and teaching are far more engaging, multidisciplinary, student-centered, and anything that leads to leadership.

But with all these changes, let us not forget the human beings who sacrifice in the name of education – our teachers. They are not perfect like everyone else, but they always try to be better. They impart new learnings and experiences, and they help prepare students to prepare their future.

They study and read a lot too to know ways on how to effectively link different topics to enhance the learning experiences of students. They make full use of available information and prepare multimedia presentations. Because the world has become more exciting, they make their strategies stimulating the best way they can.

They do not discuss topics for students to pass the examinations, but they are there to transfer knowledge to real-life situations. This way, the students, even when outside the school, can solve problems and think critically and creatively.

Truth be told, I have not realized all these until I became a teacher. And now, the more I appreciate my teachers inside and outside the classroom. There’s one I will always remember though. My professor in Centro Escolar University.

He challenged me on my very first day in my new school. When we were to introduce ourselves in our Speech class, I was there standing in front with a very brief introduction. After mentioning my name, I said “I am a transferee from Ateneo de Davao University, and I hope to gain new friends and meaningful experiences here.”

Right after that, he stood for the first time after many introductions and said with one eyebrow-raising, “Marunong pala mag-English ang taga-Mindanao.”

I was stunned. I didn’t see it coming. Then the days followed, and I always had a feeling he would give extra attention to me spotting all my ways and gestures. He would call me every now and then to speak and discuss things. He would insult me at times.

He challenged me all the time. Many times, I felt he disliked me. He would always provoke me to do more.

When he asked me few days before our graduation if I wanted to teach in the school, only then that I realized he slowly unleashed the potential in me. He slowly instilled confidence in that doubtful younger me.

Thanks to him, the best professor I had -- Dr. Eliseo Cuevas -- for helping me build the confidence that I needed.

Now, in my adult years, I met another teacher who would later make a big difference in my life. I see it coming.

Now, do you have your own version of low and high tides with your teachers? Maybe, it’s time to remember them and thank them. After all, it’s National Teacher’s Month and we will be celebrating World Teachers’ Day on October 5.

All our teachers have played a significant role in our life. So, to all the teachers out there, padayon (continue)! God did not make you teachers for nothing. You are the wind beneath your students’ wings.


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