Wednesday, March 28, 2007

What I Can Offer the World

I’ve danced, I’ve cheer-danced.
I’ve written. I’ve published.
I’ve played. I’ve competed.
I’ve argued. I’ve debated.

I’ve contended. I’ve won.

Yes, I find meaning in the things I do. But I never felt I was doing so much for myself and for the world until I started to teach.

It began in 2003, when it was summer and I had nothing to do. School vacation in Cebu was relatively warm and boring (unless you have a boyfriend who is hot and lives next door). I scoured for stuff to do to at least upgrade my so-called social life.

There is this we call “Flores de Mayo”, a May affair in the Philippines which refers to a Catholic catechism and a patterned prayer to be done every single day of May. It is called such because the highlight of every meeting is the offering of flowers to the Virgin Mary. I figured that catechism was pretty easy to teach so I signed up to become a volunteer teacher. Fortunately, I got accepted and everybody welcomed me with million watt smiles.

It included a pinch of sacrifice, since I’d have to give up siesta everyday. But it was rewarding. You see, even before I enter the chapel, when the kids see me coming, they’d wave with the flowers in their hand and call my name as if we’d never seen each other for years. I often blush at such implicit flattery…but I never felt closer to God.

I learned to touch God in the lives of those kids. Some were secretly diabetic, some were verbally abused…and some were just hungry for companionship. They hug me and call me “ate” as if I’m their own. They invite me to dinner with their family. Sometimes, my work even extends as far as being their nanny when they play in the court (near the chapel).

Since then, teaching has become a part of me. And I’ve cherished the aforementioned angst of nostalgia just yesterday, when I got accepted at ISETS(I Speak English Tutorial Services).

Basically, what I do in ISETS is tutor Korean students English online. At first I thought it would be hard. I never had experience in formal teaching. I had five trial classes yesterday. Yes, five in a row, with only five minutes break after each class. Students were pretty good. I’ve learned that constant giving of compliments always will motivate them to do better. I guess the major difference between classroom teaching and one-on-one tutorials is that the student-teacher relationship of the latter is more intimate.

English has lately been part of the Korean curriculum so they have to take “extra effort” in learning the language. And so, being an “extra ingredient”, I have to make my student relate more to our lessons so they would stick to his/her mind firmer than what is taught in the classroom. I share some Filipino experiences. I make them share relevant Korean ones too. I pay close attention to what they say. I ask how their friends are. I ask how his/her health is. I love it. We’re just like peers. I’ve realized that what I teach will always be a part of them. I, too, am a part of them. So I strive to be a significant one.

I might never know how much difference I can give to the world. I might never know how many more lives I’d be given the chance to touch. All I know is that I can’t hide this certain pride that I feel every time my students feel thankful to learn something good from me…especially when their eyes shine like pristine candles by the chapel door.


tina said...

i did experience something like what you just experienced.

although im part of a born-again christian group.. during sundays.. i assist at the nursery sunday school. I prefer assisting and teaching them.. kids like 3-6... cause they are fun to be with

although medyo makulit lang talaga... i also tried teaching mga.. street kids. It gives you joy.. while you give joy to the kids as well. :)

thats a nice activity.. keep it up. :P

Peppermint Streak said...

KEEP up the good work din. :)

kokonti nalang tau. hehe

andianka said...

i used to teach vacation church schools and oh yes, i know the feeling when these kids call you "ate". actually some of them are in highschool now, and the way they greet you on the street still gives me that sense of pride.

today, i no longer have time to teach or interact. but lately after the storm, me visiting evacuation centers is enough to exhaust me with fun filled kid interactions with the help of my digicam. they'd pose for me for over an hour, follow me around and call me ate with the same fondness.

we all have our own ways to touch lives. the important thought is to send it out not to get something back but because we do want to do it, and we enjoy it just as much as they appreciate us in their experience as well.

Adobobo said...

You know someone named Pam/Pamela at ISETS? Just asking.

And kudos to the good work you do! Apeer!

Peppermint Streak said...

of course! hehe! i know her! how do you know her? :)

Adobobo said...

She's a classmate. I remember her saying once that she currently works as an online tutor for Koreans. Figured this was the same tutorial work you do.

Yun lang, baw.