Almost a year ago during the times when I was very restless, I wrote a reflective entry On Becoming a Teacher Leader. I shared that I spent my college years at the University of the Philippines, the premiere state university in my country, where freedom of thought and expression was exercised which provided me with a complete armory for activism. But then I heeded the advice of my mom to focus on my academic responsibilities and never to get involved in any form of political action. My professors gave me the wisdom and the skills to learn the Socratic way, and the passion to stand up for what is right became an integral part of my words, thoughts and actions.
While we do our best in the Washington Teachers Union (WTU, Local 6 of the AFT) to make decisions that are best for the kids and fair to teachers, debates and heated arguments happen on the table just like in any active policymaking body. When this happens, I remind myself to choose my reactions. As it is a fact that circumstances don't "make" the teacher; circumstances "reveal" the teacher.
My exposure to Special Education at the Center for Developmental Intervention Foundation at the Philippine Children’s Medical Center has left me deeply encouraged to be with special children who are in need of time and affection. I realized that if a regular child yearns for attention from people, more so with special children. Unfortunately, most of them have been fed with a diet of leftovers- leftover love, leftover patience, leftover laughter, leftover stories, leftover kindness, leftover energy, leftover everything.
This morning I missed my friends and wanted to see how they were doing. It's been awhile since I last logged in to my Facebook account. I was guilty of not responding to some friend requests, like Billy, who has been reminding me about it. As soon as I accepted his invitation, the chat box popped up and we started bridging the gap and reminiscing about the times when I was a school administrator (at 23 years old) and he was one of my hardworking staff. Teacher Billy Esmalde just recently finished his MA in Special Education at the University of the Philippines (my Alma Mater). He sent me his photo with the caption "the result of my hardwork and perseverance amid the adversities"...
Me: I'm ok, congrats! ok naman...congrats!
Billy: Thank you, Teacher Sol, for all the trainings and the skills you gave us, thank you so much. The rest of us, Melody and Fretzie, are now in the UK salamat t. sol sa mga training s mo sa amin, salamat talga, c t.melody nasa UK na at fretzie
Me: you're welcome! I'm glad to hear I made a positive impact on you!
Billy: Of course, we miss Funshine, please come back home so you can give us some more training-seminars, you inspire me Teacher Sol syempre naman miss namin FUNSHINE, uwi ka pinas mag seminar ka sa amin, idol kita t.sol
Billy: I miss your management, we still talk about you with Melody and Fretzie, we miss Funshine miss ko management mo talaga pag nag uusap nga kmi nila melody at fretzie
sayang wla na funshine
Billy: They're all grown ups now, Funshine has greatly impacted me, look at us now we are successful and having a better life malalaki na sila, malaki impact sa akin ng FUNSHINE, tingnan mo kung nasan ka po ngayon successful kna at kmi nasan na grabe...maganda na buhay namin
Me: I know...I learned a lot from you guys too...you all made me what I am today
You have been around, what is so different about Funshine? what made it stand out to you?
Me: I really tried...
Billy: Yup we're now miles away apart but at least you still remember us, Sherwin, T. Car, and Lanie, you will be in our hearts oo nga ang lalayo na natin pero at least in our hearts t. sol naalala mo parin kami nila melody, sherwin. t. car and lanie
Me: of course, will never forget the bond we forged w/c made us resilient amid the storm
irreplaceable...hard to replicate
Billy: i will t.sol
I was in tears after our conversation.