MENTOR, counselor, preacher, comforter, adviser, mother, or sister – these are but a few of the many roles that a female teacher assumes for the sake of understanding her learners.
Two days ago, after attending our university's Crème de la Crème (best of the best) program, an academic event where outstanding students were recognized, I can't help but be emotionally touched while I witnessed the awards of my five graduating students who gained the Chancellor's Listers in 2013. Their smiles on their faces exuded the happiness they felt within. As their mentor, I am very proud of what they have become.
Like all women teachers, we have the capability to be so nurturing. As the old cliché emphasizes, teaching is a noble profession because teachers go beyond what other occupations would require within their working hours.
Teaching is not only being in a classroom;
Teaching is not only checking the papers;
Teaching is not only recording learners' outputs;
Teaching is not only preparing the lessons;
Teaching is thinking beyond the classroom;
Teaching is understanding why learners commit errors;
Teaching is knowing what records mean; and
Teaching is designing the best lesson to aid learning.
For me, celebrating this international women's month will not be complete without acknowledging the women in the teaching force. They are wonder women of this generation. In the case of the Philippines especially in Lanao, scarcity of resources is always part of the day-to-day world of a teacher.
Innovative Meranaw teachers spend sleepless nights to prepare lessons, check papers, wait for Internet connection, read students' essays, solve mathematical problems, retest scientific outputs, design instructional materials, etc.
But what makes women in this part of the country more wonder women is their ability to manage their time in becoming mentors, counselors, preachers, comforters, advisers, mothers or big sisters to their learners, while they also serve as daughters, sisters, wives, mothers or bread-winners in the family.
For me, I cannot imagine a world without teachers. They served like a candle light in the dark world of a child, an optimist writer in a child's book of learning, a kind-hearted guide in a child's success map, or an adventurous companion in a child's wild imagination. At times, these are rolled into one in a teacher today.
As what my friend Naomie believed, "I thank God for this fulfilling job. I believe that in teaching, I serve as a bridge towards the achievement of every youth's dream."
Her inspiring thoughts helped me in writing this article. I was brought to the moments when my high school teacher told me that I will be a good leader in the future. From then, I started believing in myself and in my capabilities. Her words become my light as I walk through this path of uncertain world. With her simple words, she made me believe that I can achieve a dream.
Now, her mentoring styles became my own mantra.
Today, I am a proud teacher like all women teachers out there. The results of our tiring days and nights are always reciprocated by the successes that our learners achieve.
Recently, the list of passers in the licensure examination for teachers showed that women dominated the list. My previous students (all women) proudly passed the recent exam.
They are about to become part of the candlelights that will illuminate in the dark world of the 21st century digital natives.
May the wonder women be showered with more wonderful ideas and powerful wisdom to continue in shaping the minds of our dearest children!
(Professor Sorhaila Latip-Yusoph is currently the chairperson of the Communication and Media Department, Mindanao State University, Marawi City.)