15 May 2004
Another term of the MSU College Bound Program ended last Saturday. It was another unforgettable experience (as always). The MSU-CBP is a summer program that serves as the training ground for incoming freshmen students in MSU. It is a program unique to the Mindanao State University. Our Pre-University Center Director has described it as "a special program for special people" because the students are those who were baccalaureate and conditional passers in the MSU-System Admission and Scholarship Examination. Since last year, we have also opened the program to Special Scholars so that they may not have a very hard time maintaining their scholarship grants. In the CBP, we train and prepare students for college. We review their English and Math and teach them new techniques and lessons. We also try to inculcate good morals through Values Education. Basically, the CBP is like an extension of high school. It's really fun for both students and teachers.
I have been with the CBP for six years now (I still can't believe it's been that long!). It is where I learned to appreciate and understand my teachers and their efforts. It is where I came to see how important teachers are and how tough their job is. Before my CBP experience, not even in my dreams did I have any interest in teaching. I wanted to be a doctor, a lawyer, a dentist. I wanted to be lots of things, but never a teacher. I knew that teaching was a low paying job and I thought it was the most boring job in the world, what with all the monotony and the routines. The only instance I remember about me wanting to be a teacher was when I was in 1st Grade. I wanted so much to be a teacher because I liked to check the attendance. My mom and aunts gave me this columnar notebook where I wrote all the names of the people in their office. Every single day, I'd check their attendance. But after a while, the excitement wore off and I forgot how I wanted to be a teacher.
It was summer back in 1998 (after my second year in college) when I volunteered for the CBP. Because we were student volunteers, we were called "tutors". Our job was to review the day's lessons and make sure that the students understand everything. Normally, a tutor would be working with one to about three or four students, but ours was different. We were not really tutors for we were like real teachers. Our setting was the normal classroom setting. We had a course syllabus to follow and things like that. Our job was not only to develop their writing and grammar skills, but their oral skills as well. We also tried to develop their self-confidence by training them in oration, singing, declamation, etc. This was my very first "job" ever.
It was then that I realized that teaching is not as bad I thought it was. Teaching's actually fun and teachers get to learn so much and get to meet different kinds of people. After that first summer, I volunteered in the CBP every single year until I graduated. But, it didn't end there for as soon as I graduated, I was taken in as one of the faculty. Being a regular faculty, a real teacher, was tougher than being just a mere tutor. But, I realized that the tougher it got, the more I liked it. It would always make me feel so good when I saw my students get the lesson. It's always a joy to see those smiles of satisfaction. "Ah okay!" and "Ah, I see!" would always be music to my ears. Seeing my students improve satisfies and fulfills me more (much, much more) than seeing my own grades improve. The feeling that teaching gives me is just indescribable.
Teaching is said to be the noblest of jobs. I, myself, don't really see myself as someone noble or anything, but I know most teachers are. As for me, as a young teacher, teaching has taught me so much. It has given me patience, perseverance, contentment and compassion among others. Teaching, after all, is learning. It's a wonderful experience. From the very first moment I stepped inside that classroom and started my lesson, I knew that this was my calling. From the moment I saw that very first "nod of comprehension", I just fell in love with teaching. I may become lots of other things in the future, but I will forever remain a teacher.