I had teachers for parents. I never knew of anything else they did for work except be educators. Teaching had always been their profession long before I was born. My father only had to stop teaching when he suffered a mild stroke. It affected his brain, causing the short-term memory loss. He became more temperamental, yet he could be jolly and quite the joker as well. He became more expressive. He could be difficult, too, his maturity having somewhat returned to the level of a younger man’s. There came a point when it seemed I gained a teenage brother that I had to often reprimand for being annoying and difficult.
Despite that, my father still knew who was the parent and who was the child, especially when I had to be reminded that I was still the child. His brows would meet and he’d sternly say my name as a warning. That was the father I knew: just one look and my sister and I would sit and shut up.
My mother had to stop teaching much later due to her ailments — she decided to file for an early retirement. She had always been sickly even when I was little. I remember a time that I, being a child, unintentionally hurt her feelings. Having learned a big word, I said that she was just being a hypochondriac. This really hurt her feelings and I immediately felt bad and regretted it. I could not say sorry at all.
From then on, however, I did not look at her ailments as simply nothing. And it made me admire her more for despite everything that she was going through, my mother was still able to work hard and guide her students, including other people around her.
They taught and helped so many.
A lot of my father’s students got along well with him, some became his friends, and many learned how to plant/garden, build stuff (I only remember that the subject was called “Shop”), and be good at sports, particularly in volleyball.
I will never forget the almost-weekly volleyball games at our barangay school every Saturday or Sunday. He would simply dribble the ball on the still-newly cemented road and its sounds would echo. Soon, those who wanted to join would arrive one by one, be they current students or past students, whatever the age.
Meanwhile, my mother had so many children, those she helped not just in learning math (geometry, trigonometry) but in their personal lives. There were those who found the right path again through her after getting lost. We heard of these stories from the various former students who went to pay their last respects during her wake. She would sometimes give money to kids who had no allowance. Other times, she would visit the parents of kids with school problems or who were usually absent. On many Saturdays, too, she chose to be at the school to prepare various things for the days ahead.
They said she was strict, but she was also a joy and a dear friend. I knew that, I saw that, I felt that. And while I felt somewhat jealous of them, I didn’t harbor ill feelings because even then, I knew of how good a person she was.
…My apologies. I felt like sharing these memories with you since this is the time to pay tribute to our teachers. I would like to salute the two people who were my first teachers. They were not perfect, but they were the first to teach me what it means to be human. I have not yet surpassed or achieved what they did, but they will serve as my inspiration. Most of all, they are the reason that I’m alive and why I am here.
This also pays tribute to them whose leaving has been a real loss to those of us that they loved and that love them still.
A SALUTE TO ALL OUR BELOVED TEACHERS!!!
Now, the Facebook post:
Naging guro ang mga magulang ko. Lumaki akong walang ibang alam kundi guro sila. Ipinanganak ako na iyon na ang kanilang hanap-buhay.
Natigil lamang ang aking ama sa pagtuturo noong siya’y magka-mild stroke. Naapektuhan nito ang utak niya, na naging sanhi ng kanyang short-term memory loss. Naging mas madaling uminit ang ulo, pero mas masayahin at maloko rin. Mas ‘expressive’. Mas matigas din ang ulo, sapagka’t mistula siyang bumalik sa panahong siya’y binata o binatilyo. Dumating ang panahon na tila nagkaroon ako ng lalaking kapatid na madalas pagsabihan sa kakulitan at katigasan ng ulo.
Gayunpaman, alam pa rin niya kung sino ang magulang at sino ang anak, lalo na kapag nakakalimutan kong anak pa rin nga pala ako. Titingin siya ng nakakunot-noo at mariing sasabihin ang pangalan ko bilang babala. Ganoon ang dating ama na kilala ko: isang tingin pa lamang ay tumatahimik na ako at ang ate ko.
Ang aking ina naman ay tumigil dahilan sa kanyang mga sakit — nagpasya siyang mag-retiro nang mas maaga. Bata pa ako ay sakitin na siya. Naroong bilang bata, nasaktan ko ang damdamin niya. Minsan, palibhasa ay natuto ng isang salitang malalim, nasambit ko na ‘hypochondriac’ lang siya. Dinamdam niya ito nang labis at pagkatapos na pagkatapos ay pinagsisihan ko ito. Hindi ko nagawang humingi ng tawad.
Nguni’t mula noon, hindi ko na ipinagwalang-bahala ang kanyang mga karamdaman. Kaya’t ako’y napahanga rin niya sapagka’t bagama’t may mga karamdamang dinadala, nagawa pa rin niyang maging masipag at umalalay sa kanyang mga mag-aaral, pati na rin sa ibang tao sa paligid.
Marami silang naturuan at natulungan.
Marami sa mga mag-aaral ng aking ama ang kanyang naging kabiruan, mayroong ibang naging kaibigan, at marami ang natutong magtanim, bumuo ng mga bagay (“Shop” lang ang alam kong tawag sa asignaturang ‘yon noon), at maging magaling sa larangan ng palakasan, partikular na sa volleyball.
Di ko malilimutan ang halos linggo-linggong paglalaro nila ng volleyball sa paaralan ng barangay tuwing Sabado o Linggo. Patatalbugin lamang ang bola sa noo’y bago pa ring sementadong daan at aalingawngaw ang tunog nito. Maya-maya ay magsisidating ang nais makisali, mga kasalukuyang mag-aaral man o dating mag-aaral, anuman ang edad.
Ang aking ina naman ay maraming naging anak, mga natulungan di lang sa pag-aaral ng matematika (geometry, trigonometry) kundi sa personal na buhay. May ilan na natutong bumalik mula sa lumihis na daan. Nalaman namin ito mula sa maraming dumalaw upang makiramay sa kanyang paglisan. Naroong bigyan niya ng perang baon ang mag-aaral niya. Naroong puntahan ang mga magulang ng ibang nagka-suliranin sa pag-aaral o kaya’y madalas lumiban sa klase. Naroong kahit Sabado ay pinili niyang pumasok upang gumawa ng mga dapat ihanda para sa mga susunod na araw.
Sabi nila, kahit siya ay naging istrikto, naging masayahin at kaibigan nila siya. Alam ko iyon, nakita ko, nadama ko. At kahit na may lihim akong tampo dala ng selos, di ko ito itinanim sa sarili ko sapagka’t noon pa man, batid ko ang kanyang kabutihan ng loob.
…Pasensya na. Naisip ko lang ibahagi ang mga ito sapagka’t ngayon ay panahon ng pagpupugay para sa mga guro. Nagpupugay din ako sa dalawang una kong naging mga guro. Bagama’t di perpekto, sila and unang nagturo sa akin ng pagpapakatao. Hindi ko pa nahihigitan o naaabot man lamang ang nagawa nila, pero sila ang magsisilbing inspirasyon ko. Higit sa lahat, sila ang dahilan ng aking pagiging tao at kung bakit ako naririto.
Ibinahagi ko na rin ito bilang pagpupugay sa kanila na ang paglisan ay tunay na kawalan sa aming kanilang minahal at sa kanila’y nagmamahal.
PAGPUPUGAY PARA SA LAHAT NG MAHAL NATING MGA GURO!!!
Have you thanked your teachers yet?
This piece serves as my Letter M post for the A to Z Challenge 2017.
For my previous posts, kindly visit my A to Z Challenge 2017 page.