Mula sa TFP
Isinulat ni Ms. Issa Yang
“Cher, nagbago na ako diba?” I looked up from my desk and saw a little boy smiling from ear to ear. This is Christian, one of the most energetic kids in my class (if you know what I mean). He finds it difficult to sit still and is always looking for something to do. He loves jumping from one desk to another. He loves talking and singing loudly. Honestly, having him in class is draining for a teacher handling a class of 43 Grade 1 kids. But if you ask me, I would never trade Christian for any other kid. Why? Let me share a story.
One day in class, Christian was throwing a fit. He didn’t want to do his work. I recall repeatedly calling him. “Christian, balik na po sa upuan mo.” “Christian, gawin na natin ang seatwork mo.” “Christian, halika dito, kakausapin kita.” He ignored me and went on bugging his friend, Samuel, who was diligently doing his own work. I had to check on the other kids and decided to let Christian go for a bit. All of a sudden, a loud crashing sound filled the room. I looked up and saw Christian on the floor and our electric fan beside him. It was one of those moments when you have to decide in a split of a second between screaming at the child and staying calm. I’m glad I chose the latter. “Christian, tayo ka muna. Umupo ka sa likod.” Thankfully it was already dismissal time and all the other kids were gone. I calmly asked him, “Christian, hindi ako galit. Pero gusto kong malaman kung anong nangyari.” His eyes were full of tears and he said, “Andoon kasi paa ni Samuel kaya nadapa ako. Sinasaktan niya ako kasi hindi ako nagsusulat.” I responded, “Ah, anong gagawin natin ngayon?” He replied, “Aayusin ko ang bentilador at magsusulat na sa susunod.” Christian owned up to his mistake and fixed the fan with me. It is in moments like these that show me a child’s true capacity – they can learn with the proper guidance, they can change with the right motivation, and they can be their best selves if given the support they deserve.
All children need guidance, understanding, and love; and a child, no matter how restless or “rowdy” isn’t exempted from receiving these. Two years with the community taught me that the system needs us to be more human.
Not in the sense that we fall back into our id and impulses. We look to our ultimate model of what humanity is - Love Himself. Love teaches us to listen, empathize, and understand. But it also moves us to fight against the wrongs of this world. Love doesn’t stand the idea of injustice and it seeks the truth. Love sees all humans as humans, with dignity and grace.
In a system that is almost always defined by corruption and indifference, you see love and hope, which is rarely given the spotlight. Love and hope is in the teachers who work beyond their hours to teach their students how to read. It is in the students who cheer their peers and themselves on when the lessons get too challenging. It is in the families who love their children no matter what and don’t push unattainable expectations on them. It is in the leaders of our school who strive to innovate solutions to address present problems. It is in the organizations and institutions that put in the hours in analyzing and understanding the situation of our education system. It is in every individual who is convinced that there is more that we can do and that things can get better. It is in people who continue to share stories of injustice and of hope, believing that the voices of the marginalized deserve to be heard.
“Teacher! Nagbago na ako diba? Hindi na ako tulad ng dati!” Christian proudly beams at me. “Opo, Christian, marunong ka na makinig, at higit sa lahat proud ako dahil nagsusumikap ka sa pag aaral mo.”
In a world where corruption and indifference exists, let us choose to put a spotlight on love and hope. Never stop sharing their stories. Never stop creating spaces for their voices to be heard. Never cease believing in the power of a single story.