From under this hat: Being a teacher and two different timelines


We are giving this space this week to a former columnist who has written about his experiences under his present choice of profession. – Kathleen T. Okubo

Before School Year 2018-2019 opens, here is a 2017 simple reflection note.

Teaching is fun. Or maybe I am just delirious when writing this. But no, teaching is actually fun and a source of fulfillment. A friend of mine actually joked one time that, teachers will have a special place in heaven. Why not? being a teacher today is a testament of courage and will to continue.

I entered the world of the teaching profession with high expectations. Besides, I am no ordinary teacher, (at least, I believe so). But this concept was shattered during my first day of teaching. It was chaos. I needed to consume cups of coffee to regain my composure.

Being a teacher in two different timelines is at both times a source of exasperation and self-doubt. But on the other hand, it also brings out the best character in a teacher.

At times, teachers of my generation confide that today’s learners are entirely different from the students in the 90’s. Comparing these two different times cannot be avoided since most of the older teachers (in my elementary grades) are still active in the service.

In the past, students had no distractions in terms of computers, cellphones and other electronic gadgets. During recess, dismissal and breaks, the students have the wide mountain ranges to explore, rivers to swim, tasting wild berries, and taking small hunting expeditions.

In terms of classroom management, experienced teachers, state that once a teacher raised his/her voice, or stares hard at a certain student, the class takes clue to be quite and obey the teacher’s instructions. When students see their teacher sweeping the floor, they the rush for the broom and continue the cleaning. Also, when their teacher is walking with books or maybe an ice candy box to sell in the school, students (some just to try make good impression) by being helpful and carry the load for their teachers.

Today, students are different. Of course, as a teacher, I recognize this development. Every time period has its peculiarities. This should be recognized to better understand the learner.

Today, students have many options. These include computers, cellphones and other gadgets at their disposal and consumption. Even in the remote areas, this is becoming a problem.

When students today enter the classroom, these gadgets are still in their heads. Before the use of cellphones was prohibited in school, during breaks, students start tinkering with their gadgets. When a teacher tries to sweep their room, some students would even tell their teacher to finish it and leave her/him at it. When a teacher stares down a student for the purpose of telling him to keep quite or sit down, the student reciprocates with the same challenging stare.

In simpler comparison, in the past, one word is enough. Today, one teacher is not enough. Students today are more belligerent at times. Classroom management today is a skill. Gone were the days when a stick can be obliterated because of whipping rowdy students.

As a new teacher, it was full of wonderful surprises and experiences for me. It was a love-hate relationship. There were days when the classroom mood is great. There were also days when raising one’s voice and other means of acrobatics and other body movements are needed to pacify and settle down the class.

The greatest skill I learned is how to keep calm amidst the chaos. But of course, there were times when my patience is pushed to the limit. We can actually laugh at it out now.

Sometimes, my students even demonstrate to me those times when I looked like a monster.
In the end, I remain very proud of my students. They tempered me to become a better person. See you around. #


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