In My Eyes
By Edward B. Antonio
My mother was a teacher for 40 years before she retired in 1993.
She started teaching in heaven in August 2014.
She first taught in a remote barangay at the foot of the mountain. When she was still with us, she used to tell a story about a big placard posted up a mango trunk beside the school building where she occupied. There was a PTA meeting, she said, where one of the PTA projects was to post placards depicting values like honesty, industry, discipline etc. The parent-officers agreed to make the placards the following Saturday.
When she arrived to school that Monday, she was greeted by that big placard nailed up the mango trunk which said: “Keep quite!”
She smiled at the wrong spelling. Some parents who were aware of the wrong spelling wanted it down but it was too high and thoroughly nailed all over. Then, it became the object of ridicule by the pupils.
One day, a pupil climbed the tree and using a pentel pen, he wrote above the print: “This is wrong spelling!”
The placard, she said, stayed there for several days more, becoming the object of laughter among the people because it already read: “This is wrong spelling. Keep quite.”
My mother ordered it smashed down.
Teachers are no exception, fellas.
There’s this story of one male teacher in the 70s who was known for his bad grammar.
One day in class, he asked a student to recite. The student spoke in inaudible words and so, he ordered him to speak louder.
“Louderer!” he barked.
In another of his class, he asked a student to write the answer on the board. But because the poor guy didn’t know the answer, he hesitated.
Irked, the teacher shouted: “Fronter, fronter! Come fronter and writing the answer on the board!”
And when he dismissed his class (last period in the afternoon), he said with a booming voice: “Go home everything!”
Last month, while coaching some students in a regional competition, I happened to overhear their conversation.
One female student was telling a story:
“When I was in elementary, my teacher always advised us: “Maligo kayo araw araw upang laging malinis and inyong …. bagi!” Bagi is the vernacular for body.
The next student told her story.
“When I was in elementary, too, one of my teachers used to tell us to study hard to become professionals someday. She would say: Study hard to become professionals someday so that you will not become an janitor, an driver or an domestic helper!”
Then, it was a senior high school student to narrate:
“Our research teacher is very fond of giving us hard lessons. Our first attempt to make a research work was met with lots of criticisms. One day, he lectured on how to become a good one. He wrote on the board the following words: ‘How to become a good research.’ We started to smile.
“And so I stood up and said: Sir, is it not supposed to be ‘How to become a good researcher?’ My fellow students agreed. They said it’s supposed to be researcher, not research.”
“No,” the teacher said. “I am correct. I’ll teach you today how to become a good research!”
“Sir, maybe what you mean is how to make a good research,” I argued.
“No, it’s how to become a good research!”
But the most terrifying story told that evening was the story of one elementary teacher who was complained of beating his pupil. The case cropped up in their Math class when the teacher was practicing the kids how to multiply.
“Two times two?”
“Three times three?”
“Four times four!”
“Five times five!”
“”Twenty five, sir!” shouted a child at the back.
“Wrong.” the teacher said. “Five times five equals thirty!”
“Twenty five, sir!”
“I told you it’s thirty! Are you wiser than me?”
“But, sir, it’s…. twenty five, sir.”
“The teacher flared up and slapped the child twice behind his head.
The child’s parents complained to the barangay captain and eventually to the police. The incident became the talk of the town. The story ended in amicable settlement, but not the impact of the story.
His name has long been forgotten by the people around him.
Instead, he was more known to be “Five times five!”