Ever since I could remember, I always wanted to be a teacher. I used to set up a small classroom in my parents’ room, pretending that I had students sitting on the small study table my Nanay gave me. As a kid I was deemed by my classmates (and at some point, by my mom and my sister) as bossy; little did they know that the dictatorial brat that I was were signs that I’d grow up an alpha who loves taking control of a sacred space that is a classroom. Stationery never ceased to excite me.
I felt my spine tingle whenever I got a new set of markers or when I received any form of gift that had paper on it. When I was in high school, I developed my love for organizing every paper product that I had with the addition of the huge pencil cases I willingly brought to school every day. I was the National Bookstore ng Bayan, but I was happy about it nonetheless. I loved getting my hands busy—single activities bored me. I had the innate need to multitask and for some reason, it’s the kind of life that I wanted to live.
I love seeing my planner full with so much tasks, I loved interacting with so much people but at the same time, trying to figure out what comes next during the day. I loved making lessons interesting, I loved immersing my head into a sea of thoughts that Philippine History and Philosophy drowned me in. Most especially, I find delight in imparting the thoughts and ideas I have in the corner of my head wanting to have an audience for it. Yes, I am the biggest nerd you’ll ever meet and I’m proud of it.
Why teaching, you may ask? Simply put—it’s the only profession that you get to be anything and everything under the professional spectrum. You are a licensed professional disciplined by duty to pass on what you have learned to the students assigned to you. You are partially a mother or father, a sister or brother, and a full-time mentor to younger and older people, having your students and their parents depending on you to guide them.
At times you become a lawyer during deliberations on a student’s status. On numerous occasions, you play the nurse or the doctor having to give an instant solution to an excruciatingly painful booboo on a child’s finger. Above it all, what I love about teaching is that you are a 24/7 parent. You are responsible for molding a child’s mind in the hopes that when they grow, they become a holistic individual.
I decided that I would become a preschool teacher when I saw an old kindergarten class picture I had. In the class, I had one classmate who had Down syndrome and during that time, I didn’t know what DS was. All I knew was that the only difference she had compared to us was her size—she was taller and a bit wider than children my age, and I found it perfectly fine.
Growing up, the trend became something of segregation—those with special needs like that classmate of mine had to go to a special school and normal kids like me get to go to a normal one. I didn’t find sense in that. Why would you separate children from children? Aren’t we all the same people we were created? I wanted to take part in changing that. I wanted to be one of those big people who make changes in big things like the education system.
Probably you’re asking, why not special education? Without my knowing, I was an advocate to children with special needs and inclusion. I realized that being immersed in a course that would simply teach me what the Autism Spectrum is, how it is being Deaf or Blind, and what to do to address these needs is just a surface thing for me (no offense to those who are Special Education majors).
Personally, I believed that to genuinely love teaching and love inclusion, I needed to take to heart the core of it all, which is early childhood education. I needed to know who the child is before getting into the differences that, in a way, divide them. Conditions such as ADD or ADHD can be read in books, I didn’t find a need to study it without getting to the bottom of things.
There are a lot of things I’d want everyone to understand though—being a teacher is VERY HARD. A lot of people instantly judge the teachers on TV asking for a raise saying, “Teacher lang naman kayo”. Yes, we may not be those CEO’s of big companies, nor are we neither doctors nor lawyers. We are the people who molded these CEO’s and big people. We are the ones who take your children in, instilling in them the discipline and basics in life that should be learned at home as well. Let me give you a little blurb of my day: I wake up at 4:45 am to get ready. I have to take my nieces to school so we have to get out of the house by around 6 am.
Upon arriving at my nieces’ school, I head to work. My time’s not until 8:30, so I take the opportunity to use my extra time to study and do home works (taking a graduate degree). At 8:30, I start preparing for classes at 9. Up until 12, my partner teacher and I have been running, dancing, and prancing around just to get the attention of a full-house preschool classroom. After that, can you imagine how much energy we have given to a dozen++ of kids? At some days, I stay at work to prepare some materials and attend to events assigned to me.
On some, I leave at our official time out to head to school and finish the homeworks due that day. I go to class thrice a week until 9 pm, I get home by 10. I fall asleep just as soon as I hop on my bed and the routine repeats until the weekends—don’t get me started with the weekend! I basically don’t have a clean weekend. I use my Saturdays for homework and materials preparation for both my class and school events, as well as product making for my small business venture.
I allow myself to have a little free time, so I usually spend time at home or at the boxing gym with the boyfie and I go out and about on a Sunday with my family. Time to breathe? 0. Apart from these external activities, the “activities” that the wires in my head are going through are nothing short of hectic. I have SO MUCH GOING ON IN MY HEAD. This is why if my schedule is instantly changed, I get so cranky because of having to put up with the stress that my time was compromised and that my train of thought was yet again disturbed. But thankfully, I still get through each and every day with a smile on my face in front of the kids.
Maybe a lot of you are thinking—your life, Bash, is so stressful and I don’t see why you call it your passion. You must be nuts. I am not nuts, thank you very much. I just have a million and one reasons to say that teaching is my passion. The one thing that people get out of all the things I tell them is that teaching is not financially rewarding, but I enjoy it anyway.
The reward I get, though, is a smile from my kid’s face of a simple thank you from a parent. I remember this one time when a parent gifted me with a pencil engraved with “Miss Big Heart”. I’m telling you—I wailed so hard that my eyes got sore from crying. I felt so happy and fulfilled. That pencil was the best return of investment I got and that’s what made me realize that teaching, for me, is a passion. The energy I put into what I do each and every day apparently doesn’t go unnoticed.
For someone else not your blood to think that you have a big heart is more than enough for me to thrive more in my field. Another reason why I believe that teaching is my passion is because of the fact that it is very natural of me to want to be in front of a room full of people and just talk about random ideas hoping to get a discussion out of it. Ideas are so multifaceted that there is so much about them to be explored.
Children, surprisingly, make so much sense when it comes to discussions. The depth comes in their innocence and the way that they view things. You’ll be surprised how their perceptions of the world are more philosophically rooted than ours! I may not be rich but I know that I am making a real difference in the lives of both children and parents.
Indeed, teaching is not a fabulous job as most people view this as an unpopular profession. But then, I’m telling you, teaching is not for the weak. You run on teapots and coffee and heart. That’s it. It’s a passion that not everyone is blessed with and I am grateful to have it.