In life, one always has experiences that leave one to ponder over how all is not lost, how there is always one leper out of 10 who will go back and say “thank you” or will be caring where others are indifferent.
Back in 1985 or thereabouts, I was paralyzed by then, I volunteered to teach in the parish one summer. Just English and Math to public school students from the neighborhood. I was the oldest among the volunteer teachers most of whom were in either high school or college at Ateneo or Maryknoll. I think I had maybe 7 students, a mixture of boys and girls. They had to come to class so they’d receive a scholarship from the parish, I think.
A few days after classes began, there was this lady who asked if she could join. She appeared older than the rest but I welcomed her. Weeks later it was graduation time. There was a mass and a ceremony of sorts. All the rest of the students went their merry way, but the older student came to where I was and said thank you.
I’m now watching School 2013, a Korean telenovela. As the title states, it is about school – particularly high school students. Public high school students who’d rather be anywhere but in school. Most of them anyway. They have a temporary teacher who is sweet and kind and cannot discipline most of them. But a few, even those who seemed to disrespect her, began to appreciate her good intentions and made this known to her.
Being a teacher can be a thankless job if not one, not a single one shows appreciation for one’s work and dedication. But having just one show that appreciation can spell the difference for a frustrated teacher.
Trust me on this. Been there, done that.
And teachers, try not to give up. Do not try to be popular but sincerely care for your students. They can sense this or will if they haven’t yet. Well maybe, not all of them. But at least one will.