Meet the teacher who has gone through so many trials and hurdles yet still standing erect and teaching the children after more than thirty years.
And here is the most interesting part of my experience as a teacher.
Not that it is something very interesting that needs to be told; it is a simple story of a young teacher more than thirty years ago who had braved the storm and able to survive teaching a combination class of grades 1 and 2.
The day I graduated from college was the day when a new door opened up to me. I was still recovering from the mild shock of having finally graduated from college. And here comes another shock because I was going to search for a job just after graduation. What I feared most was how I would be able to handle my class of more than fifty students.
I experienced teaching more than fifty students during my practice teaching but I was only my critic teacher’s assistant so I never worried. My critic teachers had been very accommodating and understanding and they guided me and helped me as I taught the young kids. So far, I had enjoyed my practice teaching very much without much trouble that when it ended I almost wanted to stay behind.
Being a teacher was only number two in my earlier plans when I was in college. I had wanted to be an accountant but I took up education with my brother’s advice.
When I finally graduated, I accepted that I would never be anyone other than a teacher to young kids since I took up Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education. They say that young kids are harder to handle and discipline than older children and that was stuck in my mind up to the day I was hired as a substitute teacher.
There was no other choice for me when I was finally hired as a substitute teacher one month after my graduation. I was hired as an emergency substitute to a teacher who will be operated on so it was the only option I was given. Though I was excited, I was also on the verge of uncertainty. It was my first job and I was nervous.
Leaving behind the comfort of my home, I headed to a place where I had never been to before. It was a few kilometers from my home which was inaccessible by public transportation. A remote place infested by rebels never entered my mind as a place where I would be teaching. In fact, I had expected to be accepted in the elementary school near our house but that was not what happened.
I didn’t know how I felt that day when I was finally dragged by my feet into the little hill where the school stood. Wow, it was a beautiful sight and the school was so quiet. It was still early and the few pupils who arrived early were just sitting quietly. If they knew that I was the new teacher, I couldn’t tell because they just stared at me and then went back to their activities.
The worse news came when I met my co-teacher who informed me of the teaching arrangement. Due to a lack of teachers, I was assigned a combination class of grades 1 and 2.
I sat on my table while my mind whirled like the washing machine. I counted the chairs then looked at the list of pupils in the teacher’s record book. The chairs could not accommodate all the children. It was another problem I was concerned about. What I did when all the pupils arrived was to let some pupils sit by three’s instead of two’s. Soon the kids were all staring at me silently. One problem solved, I sighed.
I discovered that teaching the children was not hard, but fun because they were all well-behaved and cooperative. They cannot compare to the pupils in the city who are so rowdy and disrespectful to the teachers. There, in that small village with the small school on top of a small hill, the pupils were mild and very respectful. I am missing them now. That was exactly 35 years ago.
Teaching is an interesting profession. With different types of kids around; your hands are full and no boring moment.
I love being a teacher to young kids until now.