Rhoderick John S. Abellanosa
How does one become a teacher? Frankly speaking, many graduates of Education never ended up teaching, and some of our great teachers did not originally plan to be one. There must be a secret variable in the equation, and I would dare guess that it must be this: somewhere or sometime in the life of a teacher was someone who inspired him or her to choose teaching.
Lao shi Carmen Ngo was originally a nurse but spent most of her professional life as a Chinese teacher in our school since 1987. According to her: “my passion for teaching was greatly influenced by one of my Grade 3 Chinese teachers, who was very passionate, inspiring and motivational when in her class.”
Madame Annie Abucay, now Senior High Principal, was a Science teacher for thirteen years before she shifted to full administrative task. She would look back to “Ma’am Flores” her Grade 5 Science teacher in Subangdaku Elementary School as her inspiration. “I was so awed by her intelligence and dedication. I can’t imagine having someone who can name all the bones in the body . . . [and] memorize the diameter of the planets” Mrs. Abucay recalls.
Like a religious calling, the reason for becoming a teacher or staying as one is not at all times clear and certain. Ginang Charito Landingin, now on her twentieth year in SHS-AdC shares: “I started teaching at Sacred Heart School for Boys back in 2000. I felt in love right away with the school. If you want to ask me why? The answer is I don’t know.” Miss Lisa Tugaoen took up Elementary Education back in college, but for a ‘practical reason.’ It was what her mother and aunts asked her to take, because it is not as expensive as medicine. Tugaoen is now on her third decade of teaching, two of which have been spent in SHS-AdC.
Like his colleagues, Mr. Alven Rey Labadan did not start with clear plan to teach. He was a Philosophy major who thought of becoming a priest. When he left the seminary, he wanted to do Development Work. Destiny brought him to teaching. In 2005, some of his seminary classmates invited him to apply in Sacred Heart (in the old campus). He has been walking the path he found since then.
Truth be told, not all those who continue to teach dreamed of doing what they are doing. Madame Cecilie Villacrucis is a Chemist by profession. After she graduated from the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, she worked as a production supervisor in BOYSEN Paints for two years. Marriage brought her to the Sacred Heart. “I think it is providential that I got hired in Sacred Heart. The school has formed me not only professionally, but more so, spiritually…” shares Mme. Ces.
Teaching is challenging. Staying is more challenging. Was there a point when our teachers would have wanted to leave? Madame Abucay thought of quitting after four (4) months in her first year of teaching. “I was trained as a High School teacher but I was hired to teach Grade 2!” Sir Rey Labadan also thought of leaving at the height of the exodus of teachers for the US between 2006 and 2009.
But all of them stayed. Something made them stay. “The workload and life’s challenges would always be there, but they would be made easier and less burdensome because I am surrounded with people whose feet are on the ground, who understand reality versus expectations, who uplift me with their work ethics and sincerity to help” says Miss Tugaoen. “In my workplace I can see my family. And my work allows me to do my passion… Everything is here…” Sir Rey Labadan adds. Lao shi Ngo, for her part, believes that “making a difference in the life of her students” is the reason for staying in teaching.
Still a road less travelled, teaching entails sacrifices. But sacrifice is possible because of conviction. A teacher believes that people are not just connected by systems and interests but by a higher reason-for-being that sustains us all.
“Love your calling with passion. That is the meaning of your life.”