The Teacher

Nonfiction by | February 8, 2015

When he entered the room with his ironed uniform and his usual aura, everybody stared. When he put his things on the table with a thud, everybody behaved. And when he finally faced the class, everybody fell silent. How amusing! To see how that four-eyed man can control the class without having to say a single word. To see how his silent laughter played around his lips when he knew he’s won. I witnessed those things amidst the sea of little black dots in front me. When I saw him, everything around me turned to a blur.

And right at that moment, I fell in love.

Let us pray, he said. Good morning class, he said. Sit, he commanded. They sit down. I sit down. I looked at him with a serious face but he never turned to look at me. I did not mind for I understand the role I have to play. For I know what I must be – a wallflower. He started the discussion by recapping the previous lesson. That also started my day. He then collected the assignments. That also collected my attention. He finally introduced the new lesson with a hint of familiarity and expertise. Suddenly, something hit me. A twist in my gut? A budge in my heart? I couldn’t remember. All I know is that I thought I have known him many years ago. Or may be decades, scores, centuries ago? Or perhaps I have met him from another life but it is only now that we happen to meet again- as strangers, as different people. Ssshh. I heard someone say. He was looking at the class with a straight face, a pursed lip. Okay, he said. I stared at my hands and smiled at them. How amusing! To see how his silence silenced the class. To see how his serious face cowered the class.

And right at that moment, I fell in love.

Today the class began with a game, gender clash as they called it. In this game, the class’ vocabulary is tested. A fight between girls and boys. It was no ordinary game. It was a game made to enhance the class’ linguistic abilities. And it somehow also enhanced mine. The class went wild, but he did not mind. The class kept on talking, but he talked with them. The class burst out laughing, but he laughed with them. How amusing! To see how he allowed a row in the class. To see how he built an exciting atmosphere. To see how fun he gets at times.

And right at that moment, I fell in love.

Tick tock. Tick tock. Tick tock. I heard the clock sing just above my head. I released a deep sigh and pressed my back against the cold wall. I looked out the window. The leaves were dancing to the rhythm of the gentle wind. The morning light crept through the trees, past the window. It was a sight to see but no more than the scene in front of me. The chairs were arranged in 5 rows and 6 columns. Students sat like they’re praying. The only noise I heard was the sound of their scribbles on their papers and the occasional clearing of their throats. Then there he goes walking with his hands on his back, checking the works of everyone. I looked at him. I looked at the students. I looked at him again. He headed towards the teacher’s table, his footsteps echoing in my ears. He stopped at the middle and turned around to see signs of cheating. But the class was quite as midnight. He stood there. That four-eyed man with his ironed uniform and usual aura. I looked at him straight in the eyes. A split second later, he looked at me. He gave me a small nod then smiled a little at me.

And right at that moment, I fell in love.

I fell in love? I fell in love. I fell in love not with him, but I fell in love with teaching. I fell in love with what a teacher does. I fell in love with the strategies he used to gain authority. I fell in love with the friendship and fun he got from his students. I fell in love with the silence of mental activity. I fell in love with the students. Everything now is no longer a blur because I can see right through them the influence a teacher can share. I can see right through them the road they’re heading. I can see right through them how a teacher touches their future.

And right at that moment, I realized something. I realized that I really love teaching. That I want to be a part of the younger generation’s lives. I realized that I’m meant to open minds, take hands and touch hearts.


Ruby is a student of Ateneo de Davao University, BSED-English. “The Teacher” is inspired by Field Study 1.

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