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A Teacher’s Suffering

Jumping another university into another one after a semester would be a waste of money, but I take it as an opportunity to find myself. Options are only for the rich, they say. Although I am aware of it, I take the learnings that I have gotten from the five universities I have been for my graduate studies.

Honestly, it is my way of finding what I truly want in life. I’m near getting out of the calendar. I am running out of time, but I’m still lost – not knowing what I wanted to do in life. I feel so dumb for being so uncertain. While my classmates are on their way to doctorate degrees, I am busy posting my digitally enhanced photos in social media and wrote some dramatic posts on Facebook.

Every university I have been, I’ve spent four months only and didn’t finish the semester. I was ashamed whenever I bumped into my former classmates in the universities I enrolled in. They are on their way to finish their degree compare to me that so unsure of what I really want.

It is so ironic that I am pushing my students to study hard, to do better for their future, and to be courageous in pursuing their studies. In reality, no one pushes me; instead, I am the one who is dragging myself not to finish my degree. Losing my motivation in studying and in life, in general, is a mysterious thing that I want to resolve. Perhaps I know the answer, but I already consumed by my negative talks and pessimistic outlooks in life.

Negative talks cannot shut off in my head. I am never good and smart enough. I am easily get intimidated whenever I encountered my classmates who are speaking in English fluently. Because in myself, I only knew a little about it. Even if I am an English teacher, I still afraid that someone will notice that I commit grammatical mistakes.

Another thing is, I have stage fright. I felt anxious whenever I am doing reporting but too confident whenever I was discussing my lesson inside the class. I encouraged my students to be confident, but when I am out of the classroom, I felt incompetent.

Way back in college, my enthusiasm to study harder is too high. I never skipped classes even if I had a fever. I was a very studious type of person back then. Unlike today, I’m too lazy to do all the requirements need to submit for my graduate studies. Or the reason for it all is the black dog that I have in my head.

Every time the black dog barks, I want to run away, but my feet are tied up. When it bites me, I just put myself in the darkroom, unable to get up in my head. I do not know where it hurts. The pangs of pain will engulf my whole being leaving me paralyzed. I want to cut myself to feel something, but I am afraid that it might get the attention of others. So I have to hide within the flashing lights seen in my face.

From all the universities I have been, they are somehow unaware of students’ struggles. Although they are catering to adult students who should be matured enough, I hope they should consider the learning preferences of their students. Sometimes those who are bitted by the black dogs withdrawn from schooling because the school is somehow invalidating their worth. They have constant comparisons of themselves to their classmates. They preferred to do things alone and skip the class reporting or participation. They are more productive to be by themselves. Students who suffered from the rabies of the black dog should not feel that schooling making them dumb. Instead, the school environment should empower them to be themselves. To be proud of parading their black dogs without stigma.

It has been my constant struggles in my graduate studies. I have talked to professionals and taken to medication; however, the black dog is always lobbying in my head. Although I am fighting harder, schooling somehow triggers it to grow louder. Hopefully, schooling should know about mental health. I hope it does not make feel the students that they are not good enough and do not crash their confidence level. Maybe someday they allow their students to choose their modes of learning and preferences so that it promotes healthy self-esteem and environment.

I hope I wouldn’t find another university again. I want to finish my degree despite the black dog in my head. I have been in the dark for so many years, and I do not know how to get out of it. Maybe what I need is a light, and I expect to find it in every school someday.

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Robinson Valenzona

Robinson B. Valenzona, 27, is a senior high school teacher from Munoz National High School Main, Nueva Ecija. He is a graduate of AB Development Communication and took up a Certificate in Teaching at Central Luzon State University. He is dreaming of a better school system here in the Philippines.

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