It was way back in 2000 when I earned my degree in BSED at Leyte Normal University, Tacloban City. It was also in October of the same year when I was given a substitute position for two weeks in Basey I Central Elementary School, Basey, Samar. I was excited to handle the class since I was a neophyte. I thought I will teach the same grade six for the whole year but to my dismay, the teacher I substituted for came back. For two weeks, I did not go out from our house. I peeped through the hole of our wall to see whether there were bystanders looking at our house. I was lonely and desolate, I thought it was doomsday.
From that experienced, I gained courage little by little. I prayed to God Almighty for assistance. In December 3, 2000 I received a call slip from the District Supervisor of Basey. The teaching assignment was at Dolongan Elementary School, a far-flung barrio of Basey.
In spite of this pleasant and unpleasant travail through smooth and rough sailing, I keep hold of the paddle so that my canoe will reach the other side of the bank. I love teaching.
It was indeed very challenging to be in a far-flung barrio because I experienced riding on horse back and even on carabao’s back. During the rainy season, hiking is very hard because the mud is very sticky. If you set foot on the mud, your feet become bigger like an elephant hoof in size. I jumped over canals, wallowed in creeks and walked on rice paddies with perspiration dripping from my forehead to toes. But no regrets, I thank God for the opportunity of a real immersion in school life at a far-flung barrio like Dolongan. I was assigned to teach grade III. I found out that there were many slow-learners and even non-readers, too. I found out also that there were many things to consider. First, the low economic status of families; second, poor educational background and third, the distance of children’s residence to the school. There were times when I was tongue-tied seeing my pupils gathering guavas and young coconut fruits for their lunch. I came to my senses when I thought of how strict I was in their studies. I did not consider the fact that the mind can not assimilate well when the stomach rumbles from hunger. I repented the way I acted when some of my pupils cannot discern what I wanted them to learn.
My fruitful stay in that school was very rewarding because the people were very accommodating, respectful, caring and friendly. Sometimes I find myself nostalgic that someday I will go back to that barrio school, the Dolongan Elementary School, to see once more those barrio folks who cared and loved me.
I consider my work a mission with all the rewards I reaped. I am elated when I see my former pupils reaping laurels in their chosen career. At least, I was part and parcel of their education. I feel happy when one of my former pupils came to me thanking me for the advice and values I inculcated. From that aspiration, I tried to improve myself to be of service to my pupils. I never get discouraged with the challenges of professional jealousy and insecure superiors. Instead, I became strong and motivated to enroll in graduate school. I updated myself so that I will not feel inferior towards my peers and especially those who exude the ambiance of superiority. Besides, my only child, Andre is my sole inspiration why I went back to school. I want to inculcate in him the good things education can do to a person. Good things that are worth emulating. As the adage goes, “Education is expensive but ignorance is costlier.” I was no exception of the fact that graduate course does not really pay off. I finished my graduate studies course M.A. major in Administration and Supervision for two summers and two semesters and graduated in 2009.
I am now stationed in one-teacher school, an FVR Building in my own barrio. I do multifarious activities from janitorial work to a principal job. In spite of the odds that come my way, I still show acts of fortitude to shied the heartaches and loneliness that emanate from my surrounding. In spite of this pleasant and unpleasant travail through smooth and rough sailing, I keep hold of the paddle so that my canoe will reach the other side of the bank. I love teaching.
Mrs. A.D. Pascual