I am crying as I write this.
I'm not particularly sad or anything; frustrated is more like it. I can't quite recall when I last cried. It can't be that long ago since the breakup was only a little over a month ago. No, this is not about that; I'm done crying over that and that is inconsequential compared to what I am now lamenting over. I've written about this before, I think. Maybe on this blog, maybe on one of my older, private blogs. Maybe on all of them.
Today I started doing evaluations for the new account. I was supposed to do eight but could only finish three because, well, for the first couple of hours of my shift, I didn't know I was supposed to be evaluating because my trainer sent me calls for parallel evaluations. Anyway, this isn't the reason I'm crying either. Not the main one, at least. It just frustrates me that I'm having difficulty doing a job that's supposedly easy. It gets easier, of course. I just have to give myself time to get used to it.
I was talking to someone about my previous job. That is what brought this sullen mood about. He asked why I left my job, and answering called to mind the latter half of the previous year. I had wanted that job since college. Before I even graduated. I swore I was going to be an educator, I was going to liberate minds, while giving back to the nation at the same time. I was going to serve the people, like an iskolar ng bayan is supposed to. But look at me now. Serve the people my ass. Since I left my job at the university, I felt like my life had lost its direction. The person whom I expected to support me ended up abandoning me (I got your back, he said. Whatever you choose to do, I'll be right here for you). My students were begging me not to leave, but I couldn't stay. Not when I was compromising my health just to survive a day. I isolated myself; spent my breaks chain smoking and drinking coffee or soda at a store in front of the school, just so I had somewhere to stay. I didn't want to stay at the faculty office when I regarded most of the people there with contempt.
I wasn't the best teacher, no. But I tried to do something for my students that none of their teachers have probably thought of doing. I encouraged them to question and, if needed, to fight. I told them they weren't powerless as they thought they were. I delivered lectures on love, because they don't teach us that in school. I cried for them, in front of them even, because they were oppressed by the people and the institution that should be educating them. I wasn't the best teacher. I didn't pretend to be. I didn't pretend to be anything; I was just myself. I wasn't the best teacher but I was loved, at least, by the people who actually matter: my students.
I wanted to stay. I really did. I wanted to resist, I wanted change. But I couldn't do anything when all I had was an army of scared children who deemed themselves powerless against the powers that be. So I left. Knowing what my reputation must have been and hearing from my students what people who don't know me have been saying, I doubt I'd be able to come back. Maybe I could, but it would take a long time, and my kids won't be there anymore. There will still be students, of course, but I really wanted to do something for my kids.
I'm sorry for leaving. I'm sorry I couldn't do anything for you. I'm sorry I couldn't be the best teacher, but I hope you learned as much from the semester I spent with you as I did. You were not only my students; you were also my teachers.
Teaching was exhilarating. I seldom take center stage in large groups, because, well, I really am shy, believe it or not, but being a teacher was different. There were times when I couldn't stop talking because I was enjoying the lesson so much. Admittedly, though, I had the tendency to digress and tell stories too much.
On Teacher's Day, we were made to attend a short program for teachers at the college. Toward the end, students handed each teacher a white rose. I got three, one of which came with a hug and an I love you, ma'am. I almost cried. A few days later, my advisory class surprised me with a cake, a customized No. 1 Teacher trophy, a small banner saying Happy Teacher's Day Ma'am Kat! I love you (later that day they posted an album on Facebook containing photos of them holding that banner) and an illustration board filled with short messages from them. And on the last day of exams, my third year English majors surprised me with a huge card filled with loving messages and a balloon which unfortunately popped. One student even made a booklet filled with pictures of me (lol) she took from my Facebook, along with pages and pages of heartwarming messages.
I may not have been the best, but I was loved. I was well-loved.
And I was the coolest (my students' words, not mine. LOL).
I still want to teach. This job I have now is only temporary. Maybe. I don't know. Depends on how well I execute my life-plans. I've stopped crying.
To better days.
To better days.