My last Saturday session with my MBA students was a free-wheeling discussion of their real workplace issues.
The final days of my undergrad class had me cooped up in the faculty room (students darting back and forth to ask if they passed) to check and grade their dissertation papers before they were sent to London for second marking by my British counterpart. Teaching under the British system taught me to be more thorough in my grading so none of my students' grades were reduced.
It was really just a work-work-work week—until my last sessions with my senior high students.
While I was yet receiving their mind maps about what it would take to have a progressive Philippines, in popped boxes of pizzas, a barrage of hugs and an envelope of messages.
Today, I woke up from my nap, thinking, "That was it, teaching days over!" then frantically looked for those messages.
Rivers flowed as I re-read them. Teaching was my calling; and those notes proved it.
(It's humbling to be highly regarded. Thank you, God! Sharing with you some of those messages not to call attention to myself but to boast of God's grace for this oftentimes frustrated teacher; and to encourage my teacher readers to persevere in their calling.)
Some anonymous notes from a page headlined "Why do we love Ms. Yay":
"…taught us how to live."
"Inspirational, amazing, loving, funny, lively, great role model."
"Built my confidence… molded me."
"Super kind-hearted and loving, like a mom."
"An irrevocable love for God, her students and her work… Has a way of inspiring her students and making them interested in her lessons."
Derick: "I had so much challenges meeting expectations. If I don't meet them, I feel like a cut down broken tree. (But) I chose to focus more, work harder to be better… even if my arms and brain get sore…"
Imann: "I always appreciate how you always stand up for what you believe in… and still be open-minded. Because of that, I always look up to you."
I applaud Kim for her honesty: "I love you even if I have quite low grades in your subject. To be honest… your subject is my lowest. I hope when I stay here for college, you will be my prof. I did my best in your subject. You're such an inspiration… my idol."
Dillon, my Korean student: "As I am Korean… English was my biggest challenge. However… I learned a lot. I appreciate your method. I am still using dictionary to write this short letter, but soon I may be better, right?"
Andrea: "From the moment you first spoke to us and had your lecture, I already knew you were fit to be a teacher. You spoke with much passion and I was motivated. Your career history and writings inspire me. Continue to inspire others too."
Aiko: "I was able to express my opinions confidently about social issues… speak English fluently while reporting. Through these reports, I learned about a lot of things because you taught me how to do proper research. I may not be in the right position to tell you, but you are a successful teacher. You have touched our hearts not only inside the classroom but also outside. You are now one of our inspirations … to become successful one day. I feel I'm ready to think critically. You are a blessing. Please inspire more students."
| My youngest pupil Coco. |
All set to go to school.
Humbling, don't you think?
As I tuck back those messages into my stash of fond memories, I say a little prayer for all the students I'd been privileged to mentor. I've never ceased praying for them. Because frankly, it's a dog-eat-dog world out there.
Oops, my youngest pupils call. "Na-na," says my one year-old grandchild Coco as she eyes a banana. Her sister Natalie waits her turn to play scrabble and sungka!
Who says my teaching days are over?