Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Subject Matter: Teacher's Pet

Being a teacher, I admit, I play favorites [in a very discreet way at least]. I don't usually admit it nor show it. I am just being honest. I’m sorry but can’t help it. I guess it’s human nature to take sides. I like students who are smart and responsible. And I like the feeling of being adored back.

One hot summer of 2004, after a gruesome day of yet another boring in-service seminars that public school teachers were required to attend, I took the jeepney going home. The jeepney was packed with commuters up to the roof. Sitting across me was this familiar face who was all dressed up, looking sophisticated and successful. I tried to recall who she was but I can’t come up with a name. I know she felt my stare and she just looked away with a long face. I felt a bit sad about the reaction that she gave me so I just looked on the opposite direction, thinking I must have offended her. As she paid her fare I heard her voice and it was then I realized I know that young lady. She was a former student… one of my favorites… the best in the class… the one who was always nice to me and always ready to give me a hand.

As we approached the town boundary line, I handed the jeepney driver my fare. But he sent it back to me.

I was surprised by his reaction and I asked, “why?

The driver said… “You don’t need to pay your fare… for you – it’s free.”

I was then confused, so I inquired again.

But he just said, “Hello, Ma’am”, looking at me from his rear view mirror, “don’t you remember me?” he continued.

I tried to recall his face but nothing would register.

Then he said… “I was one of your former students.

I was a bit embarassed not to remember him so I gave him a big smile trying to hide my embarassment and said thank you.

You failed me in your subject that’s why, I can’t forget you.” he said next trying to make a conversation with all those passangers listening.

Then, addressing all the passangers in his jeepney… he said.. “She is my favorite teacher in the world.

All eyes were looking at me except… that of the familiar young lady sitting across me. I was embarrassed. I didn't know if it was because I felt I didn't deserve the recognition or because one person seemed to disagree.


Playing favorites has it’s rewards and of course, its fall-backs. But sometimes you will find yourself unprepared for it’s outcome.

In my 11 years of teaching, I watched how some of my students developed their skills and matured into responsible citizens while the others opted to remain stagnant. I watched some of them outdone themselves while the others totally given up on themselves. I witnessed how some of them pursue their dreams and got it while the others let go of the same. I watched some of them marry their childhood sweethearts or their new found love while the others are still in search of their one-true-love. It was unbelievable how some of these kids outgrown their former teacher both in experience and otherwise.

It’s true, we are just teachers but our impact on our students varied. Our responsibilities may be limited in academics but we will surely leave a lasting mark on their values as a human being. And more importantly, we are not sure who among them will truly live the lessons that we taught.


Ruthilicious... absent in the Classroom, present in the Chatroom. She blogs when she is NOT Facebooking doing chores and she blogs while she is ALSO Facebooking doing chores.

To read more about her Teaching-Learning Experience... Click HERE.


betchai said...

oh ruthi, I so love the story and message you shared, so touching. it's inspiring how some of our students who we think worse sometimes give us more honor and respect.

♥~Judy~♥ said...

Ruthi, this is awesome. It is so true. We give them the tools, but will they do with them?

I worked in head start and in the prison. Life's lessons are taught - do they fall on receptive or deaf ears?

Tes said...

Ruthi, for some reason despite my busy-ness and harassed pace, I sobbed. I was caught off-guard by this poignant story! Thank you for sharing. It slowed me down and made me think. It's beautiful to be remembered. it warms the heart...

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