Finally, after hunkering down in a grinding fight of attrition against Covid, pupils and teachers in Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), Region 01 and all Philippine regions, as well, have scampered back to the four walls of a classroom this September.
For so long, schools stood empty halls with muted chimes, student memories etched along their corridors, heartbreaks or dreams embedded in cracked room paints as the last beats of receding students footsteps who have gone home after classes when the Covid struck, as the classrooms implored to the learners, “Come back, tomorrow, or the day after.”
It reminds of an enlightening scenario, of Rosalinda “Sally “Pamisdan, intern-teacher assigned to school years ago in Loo, Buguias, and Benguet. During that time then, back to classes was on the month of July.
There’s not perhaps, in the whole circle of human development, a more arduous enterprise, or a task more difficult to be fulfilled, than that of furnishing periodically a certain quality and quantity of teaching, either so composed or so selected, as to give universal satisfaction.
That is the art of teaching or educating. Educating can be likened to a meteor that gleams over the heaven of the imagination with a multimillion variegated and astonishing rays. If not caught by the mind, it disperses into darkness.
Here is the story of Rosalinda “Sally” Pamisdan. (Daily Laborer does not know now, whether she got married, where she was assigned after her Buguias internship, whether she retired, from the time she was interviewed in the 80’s).
It was about middle July of the 80’s, when Nature enriched the fields and stored vegetable gardens in Buguias, Benguet, with unstinted bounty that a numerous company of pupils set out from school to the Loo, Buguias, vegetable fields in company of teacher, Ms. Pamisdan. It was a field visit.
As the children were most pupils of taste and particularly enamored of Nature, with a certain cast to freedom of thought, they communicated their observations on the Buguias countryside to the entertainment of each other, although there was scarce disagreement in their sentiments or tastes.
Some were best pleased with the vegetable gardens, others with the mountains and the fields. The meandering creeks in Buguias had their admirers in the pupils.
They liked what they saw of their parents, cousins, uncles, aunties, big brothers and big sisters toiling the fields, breaking their backs and laughed crazy at what they deemed were the lazybones who, they scored, couldn’t hoist a hoe or swing a scythe.
If there was anything the pupils totally agreed upon, it was in commending the commons and the downs in Buguias, in as much as, there, principally, nature and liberty appeared.
This diversity of sentiment afforded a good deal of variety to their conversation, gave it a sprightliness that didn’t always attend a uniformity of taste and opinion in their company but which their teacher, Ms. Pamisdan encouraged.
Often, her pupils all talked at once and wrangled with such vehemence and noise those Loo and Buguias travellers they met laughed at the pupils’ antiques.
For Ms. Pamisdan allowed them to be free thinkers, never mind that, however, in the communication of the pupils, it was not ‘ere long it degenerated into disputation, each party grew so warm in its defense and contradiction of the opposite opinion of the other party.
After the field visit, Ms. Pamisdan confided to Daily laborer: “It is with utmost satisfaction that I have opened this July school-year interesting to the students, whether serious or pleasant, according to their dispositions. They have shown freedom and invention, by their warm incitation, very much strengthened and confirmed that resolution, with which I entered upon this arduous undertaking of being a teacher.”
Simply said but profoundly meant! But profoundly aside, what’s in a humor glide of a teacher?
It happens that there is one human being we look upon with mixed feeling of regard and respect. That is the school teacher.
If there’s anybody in this world whom Daily Laborer always takes off his hat, that’s the school teacher.
When Daily Laborer meets any teacher; he looks upon the teacher as martyr just returning from the stake, or on his/her way to be cooked.
A teacher, Daily Laborer suspects, can even lead a more lonesome and single life than an old bachelor, and a more anxious one than an old maid.
A teacher is remembered just as long and affectionately even by an amusingly absent-minded Cordilleran or lowlander. If a teacher undertakes to be loved by students, chances are, he/she might be swooning for the stars. If he/she will not lick (meaning discipline) them now and then pretty often, chances are, they will lick him/her.
Sometimes, teachers have no friends from the flat side of a school room or blackboard. Mischievous boy-pupils scheme like putting bubblegum on teachers’ seats; mischievous girl-pupils dream teachers acquire stomach cramps so class will be dismissed early.
Ms. Pamisdan recalled to Daily Laborer of such incident that happened to her. One morning, entering her classroom and about to sit before her table situated at the back of their classroom, she immediately noticed a wad of chewing gum placed at her chair.
She smiled inwardly, glanced at her pupils but couldn’t discern any who was watching her surreptitiously. Irritation grew in her about the foolishness of who placed the gum on her seat, but she gurgled down her exasperation.
In front of her class, she greeted them heartily; the students responded gaily. She then told Daily Laborer that before she began her class lecture, she produced the gum she held between her fingers and said, “Assinu kadakayu ti akin bagi daytoy bubble gum nga nabirokak idiay tugaw ko?”
None in the class responded. Then from the corner of her eye, she spotted a boy among her class squirming uneasily on his seat and she said, “(We omit the name of the boy) ___Sika ti makin bagi daytoy bubble gum?”
Well, of course, her pupil kept silent but his uneasiness increased. Ms. Pamisdan said she wanted to call out the boy for an alleged offense but knew she had no proof. So all she said was, “Nu assinnu man ti nangaramid nga nagikabil ti bubble gum idiay tugawan ko, sapay kuma ta saan nan nga aramiden manen.”
A girl-pupil came forward later and told Pamisdan she was correct in her suspicion. So she took the boy by the side and, between the two of them, they became friends, she teaching the boy Good Manners and Right Conduct (GMRC. For she also looked at herself a guardian and parent.
The boy later became the most-behaved student.
Of the bubble-gum incident, Ms. Pamisdan told Daily Laborer, “It takes a ton of patience to teach and a ton to understand. And I am trying.”
A school committee makes a teacher labor for half the pesos a hired hand normally receives.
With such abuse, Daily Laborer never heard teachers swearing loudly, except, swearing inwardly to themselves.
A teacher who does a square job reverently, like any regular daily laborer, is a better creature to have today lying around loose than Solomon (considered the wisest man who ever lived and also one of the most foolish) in the bible.
Solomon was good at writing proverbs and managing a large family; Daily Laborer doubts he can navigate school hours as only teachers can.
Now, Daily Laborer says a teacher is a good deal to have as friend, just as welcome in the home, as compared to the tax collector.
These men and women – called school teachers – passionately and with crazed brains teach our remorseless brats the tedious meanings of the alphabets, they who take it upon themselves the welding heat for our children’s destinies.
They, who lay the stepping stones and encourage our enfant terrible to mount upwards, they who have done more hard and mean work than any class, they, who pray over the reprobate, strengthen the timid, restrain the outrageous and can even flatter a crazy juvenile.
When they deem scenes of lewdness or lechery creep with daring impudence among their pupils, they become aegis of morality, teaching it from the stage as well as the teacher-pulpit.
For they have the lecturer-capacity to introduce characters fruitable to the reigning follies, with a better grace than even a church priest can. Teachers’ gradations are worthy of the attention of all, they, who are engaged in the delightful yet difficult task of teaching students.
Daily Laborer, who once aspired of becoming a teacher but ended up a ruffian, can only dream, than meddle with school business of pupils.
For that’s what makes teachers tick.