An Open Letter to my Students

Hello. Good morning/afternoon, class!

It is always an honor to be part of your academic lives. I am thankful that we are becoming each other’s companion from my seven o’clock till 3:20 from Monday to Friday. You have become a part of my day-to-day mundane life and that is what makes my day extraordinary.

This is me looking back on the life I’ve had before—travelling down memory lane. Casting my mind to those darkest hours, it felt like collapsing. Sad things baffled on top of my head that used to dampen my spirit most of the friggin’ time. There were numerous moments in my life where I felt lost, I did not know what path to take, what career to choose and what kind of life to live. Before, I was wishful to have a job worth having—something I know I would grow, I would learn from and would be my platform towards development. So long, I kept on being rejected and trashed over the shredder. I felt that my world is at the verge of collapse. My mind was clouded with too much bitterness and incertitude. I was uncertain what kind of coffee I should pour on my empty cup. I was unsure if this is all worth it, or will I have a good career on teaching. Or honing the minds of high school students really the fate written in my stars. I was uncertain. I was in the midst of nowhere. Until this opportunity came.

This is me showing the real side of me. I am not your typical type of a teacher, the kind of teacher this society has ever imagined.  I am not a role model. You cannot look up to me. I might never be a good example to you. Yes, I should admit, I have flaws and weaknesses from which I cannot conceal. You’d hear foul words from me. I speak frankly. I do not sugarcoat words. What I feel would be transparent and I’d show it without hesitations. I play DOTA. I drink liquors. I still get home at midnight till dawn. I go chillin’ and (mid)night parties. And checking papers and writing lesson plans are pain in the ass.

This is me introducing my darkest side. I was not your typical excellent student before. I didn’t graduate on time, without Latin Honors. I haven’t been part of the Dean’s List. Like some of you, I cut classes. I sleep during class. I rely from internet sources. I would prefer sleeping than reviewing for my exams. I cram academic papers and researches. I often come to my classes late without even browsing my notes and getting caught by a surprise quiz. I never recite. I stumble from time to time. I procrastinate. I was oftentimes physically present but my mind would be found outside the class. I lack the confidence to face the public. I do senseless things over big matters. I would drink beers and rhum to escape academic problems. I get depressed so easily. This is me showing what kind of a student I was.

But this is me thanking you for being part of this new journey I have today. Thank you for staying with me as I venture the clueless road ahead of me and guiding me along the way. I must admit, I didn’t know how to start, where to begin at, who to talk to and all. I was a tabula rasa from the moment I began. Thank you for being the light that guided me in revealing the shore in this ocean of darkness.

This is me being grateful of all the stories you share. I thank the heavens for lighting up my everyday mood through the laughters we share in the classroom or at the milk tea shops. That the random thoughts and stories we’ve talked have deeper meaning to me. You’ve introduced me to the real social world, not only to the texts and articles I read over the news and tabloids. I am genuinely thankful–and I see it in your eyes– that you are very much willing to share your thoughts to me, your life experiences, your struggles, your jokes, your naughtiness, your predicaments, your burgeoning concern in some random things– with me. I enjoy the sagas we use to belabor. In that way, I felt like I am not only becoming a teacher. I am becoming your friend.

This is me apologizing for all the shortcomings I had. I might have shouted at you or spoke virile and bad words on you for the ill manners you’ve shown. I might have scolded you for speaking with your seatmate whenever I discuss in front of the class. I might have brought vexations among you. I might have thrown sarcasm over the senseless and mediocre things you spoke about. I might have pissed you, denigrated you or daunt you in one way or another. This is me saying “sorry”. For all those times I wasn’t able to attend our class for I was preoccupied by extra works and personal matters, this is me feeling guilty.  Believe me, I wasn’t wasting our time. You were always in my mind whenever I was not around.

This is me saying sorry for not memorizing your names too easily or even familiarizing your faces. I have a hard time recognizing faces and memorizing names of people I encounter. Time will come that I’ll forget about your name, your section, the subject I taught you and the moments we had shared. But this is me hoping that if we happen to cross the road, you’ll greet me with a happy face like you usually do today. This is me letting you know that those random times you say “Hi, Maam” or “Hi, Mam Maldonado” meant a lot to me. It is a subtle indication that I exist, that I am meant for something, I am worthy of the few seconds of your lives.

Many of you would find me “cool” for some odd reason I don’t understand. I sometimes need to assess myself how do the public eye looks at me. Or how do you see me as your teacher. The word “cool” would be hard to operationalize and would be harder to define. I am just being myself. What you see is what you get. Cliche as it may sound, however, that is the personality I should portray. This is me admitting that one of the best things I learned from life is to be real in whatever aspects. That the best things aren’t those we normally conceal just to be accepted by the society. It is, for me, better to show the darkest and deepest part of ourselves than to hide in someone else’s shadows.

This is me reminding you that all your efforts and sacrifices are all worth it. It is not merely by recording your performance tasks, quizzes, exams, and projects from the record book until I encode it to Microsoft excel. The moment you learn from it and see a glimpse of life from it, would be better than I ever hoped for. The best sorts of lessons are not recordable in the class record. But in life.

This is me reminding you that all those mistakes you’ve done will not forever be a mistake. There is no need to mull over the shortcomings we’ve done. Acquiring a mistake is a mean for us to grow. Much more maturely than before. And by being mature, we are starting to comprehend things profoundly. We deal with stuff in a more sensible way.  This is to remind you to never vindicate yourselves over the things won’t matter anymore. There is never a constant thing in this ever-changing world. Things are inevitable, and we must be accustomed to this changes. Change is not a capricious or nebulous process. Embrace these changes.

This is me hoping that the best for you is yet to come. You might have been given a failing mark, or a grade below 80. But trust me, that will never define you as a person. Your line of 9’s will never be your ticket to success. This is me hoping that the lessons you obtained from me would be more than what were written in the handouts I give or the random stories I share. Not even the identification and essay type of questions I bestow. I hope your learn from life and engrave in your minds that learning isn’t only confined in the four corners of the classroom. You’ll learn much more things outside the class. This is me reminding you to think outside the box. And remember that passing the course and learning the lessons are two different things. Fight mediocrity.

This is me looking forward to having more memories to share with you as the semester reaches its end. This is me saying I love you and I do not regret choosing this path.

This is me. Your teacher, your adviser, your friend and your companion.

Class dismissed.

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