Photo taken on a trip to Honda Bay, Palawan, Philippines.
As I brace myself for my thirteenth year as a teacher, I feel happy of what I’ve become and feel optimistic to grow even more from the things I have failed to do. Without looking back to the years that passed by, I won’t feel a sense of fulfillment. I won’t be able to come to terms with my past.
Eight years in a diverse private Catholic school in Manila taught me that capitalizing on my strengths is a huge factor to excel despite my youthful inexperience. The awards and distinctions I harvested with my students were both bragging rights and platform to achieve even more. My competitive nature that is often misunderstood by fools fueled me to transcend beyond the predefined parameter that used to limit me from reaching greater heights and crossing deeper oceans.
My idiosyncrasy became a source of problems for people around me, for I didn’t adhere to compartmentalized beliefs and practices that hindered me to find my niche in this world of abundant opportunities for personal and professional advancement. I realized that breaking rules is a very good teacher. Tardiness and non-submission of lesson plans made me realize the value of time that I wasted during my salad days. These two taught me that I have the power to be productive only when I choose to be.
Five years in a prestigious public science high school taught me to defy my personal gravity that pulled me to stick on my sick old ways. Now, more than ever, tardiness and non-compliance to requirements are but a rarity that goes to the bleak cabin of stupidity. I now see my profession as a mound of hope making wonders in the eternal glow of sunrise and in the timeless shades of twilight.
My achievements, together with my failures, taught me to choose my battles and the people I would trust. I learned that I must stand on my own with the company of people who really care. Through this I will prosper and be happy.
I was asked by a former student who passionately wants to become a teacher to define professionally beautiful. I told him that beauty is relative, but professionalism is standardized. As a teacher, I have embraced the culture of quality and passion for excellence over mediocrity, especially in accomplishing the things I am good at. Despite secret bashing and substandard concealed judgments from people around me, I manage to stand firm on what I believe in. I don’t violate the laws that govern the professional code of conduct. Despite my shortcomings, I strive to perform better. To be professionally beautiful is a choice. It is not an option.
My voyage as a teacher isn’t a walk in the park. Crazily, I sometimes wished for lightning to strike some creatures. I’m glad it never happened. Change doesn’t happen that way. I figured out how to create my own lighting that gave me renewable power to reinvent myself outside the realms of my convenience. I shall mess with the truth, for as long as it teaches me lessons worth treasuring. I am a teacher, and I become wiser in every learning experience—just like a kid learning to tie his shoes.