It is the greatest achievement of a teacher to enable his students to surpass him. – John Kemeny
My 2011 started with my family’s visit to my hometown in Calamba, Laguna last January. I lived there for just a year including the weekend visits I spent while I was staying at my aunt’s during college days in Manila. Unlike most people I know, I didn’t have a distant province to go to during Christmas or summer vacations. Calamba is just one to two hours away from the Metro. The place is near, but just going there seems to be a luxury nowadays.
I always enjoy playing with my “inaanak” Aaron whenever I go to Calamba. He is active, playful and would approach “ninang Jonah” to try new games from his PSP or simply play “piko” outside the house. My favorite is to play as his teacher when he was a little younger – read him story books and get his box of crayola to draw art on some paper. I believe everyone has this desire to be sort of a teacher to someone.
Five or six years ago, I volunteered as a Sunday school teacher to kids at a church few walks away from our Calamba residence. Singing songs, storytelling and playing with the kids was tiring yet enjoyable. Have you ever felt that you were so tired yet just so filled with joy that you wouldn’t mind your exhaustion? That’s just how my experience was. There were kids from five to eight years old – with attention span so short that you have to think of ways to get them listen to you. But a simple “goodbye teacher” or a hug from them would just warm your heart all day. At times you will admire how children ages nine to twelve has got a grasp of who God is – and how they see Him in little things.
We were able to attend again a church service that Sunday of January. My mom and I met familiar faces – those we haven’t seen for a long while yet still made us feel we’re family. I couldn’t help but be blessed, most especially when I’ve seen the kids and teens whom I’ve handled before to have grown and now contributing to the ministry. There was a youth who used to be so shy yet now playing a musical instrument. There’s another one who now leads praise and worship, and another one dancing tambourine. I can tell that some of them no longer recall my name, but some could have recognized my familiar face and gave me smiles.
I’m thankful that the Lord allowed me to witness how He continuously nurtures people whom we have sown time, learning and love. We don’t get to be with them forever but our encounter with them equally inspires, molds and strengthen us.
Just this evening, someone told me these words which touched my heart: “Marami akong natutunan sayo,ma’am”. I did not pursue my career in teaching, and he was not my student yet he found me as able to influence his life in a way. He was bidding goodbye – a word I often hear yet never get used to. It’s amazing how unconsciously, he learned things that mattered for a short time that we have worked together. I realized that I am still a teacher, even without the title.