Amidst all the deadlines and paperwork in front of me, I would like to take this time to let it sink into me that someone is leaving and we just had said our goodbyes. We’ve known each other only for two months but the bonds we had formed are undeniably that of a family. 

I’ve known him as the tall, thin guy with a very low and thick voice. As the coordinator, he usually is the first person you will see in the morning, writing announcements on the whiteboard, and distributing stuff, making us fall in line to ride the school service at exactly 7:30AM for us not to be late for our 8AM class. He is also a Bicolano, his family lives in Iriga City. He also graduated Summa Cum Laude.

I remember one instance, we were all so tired and drained after a day’s teaching for Summer Class in the morning and workshops in the afternoon, he was still all perky and happy that he is. He had never let our negative vibes got into him. He continued with his tasks, alert and positive at all times. The following morning, when we opened our doors, just right at the side of it, there were little cupcakes with Flat Tops and Cloud Nine chocolate bar and a little note, all personalized for the 54 fellows. How thoughtful of him to do that! From then on, I had appreciated his presence and efforts for all of us. He even have all of us in his prayer list!

He would also sit in our classes, participate in activities and just be part of it all. In one discussion, we were asked, Why Teach for the Philippines? He answered, “I applied for the children, but I stayed for the Fellows.” Soooooooo heartwarming to hear. He had always been that sunshine we all need throughout every challenging day.

Today, he is leaving to novitiate for the Jesuits. Yes, he had chosen the path to being a priest. As explained by one fellow who is an Atenean, the Jesuit training is a long process, first one has to have a degree to be accepted, then that is followed by two years of novitiate then four more years of Degree in Theology and I forgot the rest. Likely, 10 years after, she said, would be the earliest he could be ordained as a priest.

I don’t want to feel sad about him leaving us today. I should be glad because he will be working on his way to touch more lives and make a huge difference in humanity and spread the good news. He had offered his life to be of service to God. Though I cried more than a bucket of tears, while writing last night my short message for him. Then, cried another bucket an hour ago as we sing him Salamat by Yeng Constantino as our farewell tribute to him. He had been battling the tears from falling, but he failed. His tears had just started rushing down his cheeks. Tears of joy and gladness. He said, that he had never felt appreciate until today. I’m glad that we were able to let him feel that before he leaves.

He was the first one to leave a mark in all of our hearts! We will surely miss him. 

Now, let me go back to my Item Analysis, Reading Response Essay and Emotional Intelligence Worksheets. 

After Two Years

May 21, 2013

Dear Kat,

How are you doing today? Do you remember the day that you wrote this letter? It is May 21, 2013 in CBTL Convergys at Ayala Avenue, Makati City, around 7pm. You were waiting for 9pm to hit, waiting for your former boss to sign your clearance for you to be able to get your final pay and start paying debts.

Can you still remember why you resigned? Oh I sure know you do! You are reading this letter two years later. Quite a drama but Yes, you are to receive this two years after your fellowship with Teach for the Philippines culminates. Thank God, for you are alive and thank goodness you survived every bit of a challenge. I can imagine, you are starting to be teary-eyed as you read on. Probably laughing at the same time as you continue reading this.

 It all started on a twitter hashtag, remember? You are a symbol of how powerful social media is as an avenue for advocacy, information dissemination and social change. You signed up, prayed every day, asked for your family and friends to pray for you too as you waited to be called on for Assessment Center- for demo teaching and personal interview. Your prayer was answered on February 14, 2013. You received a phone call from Bunny asking how were you, I can still remember your face that day—So groggy due to sleeping pill, yet all your senses woke up when you heard from the phone line that you are going to be a Teacher for Teach for the Philippines! You even cried over the phone! Haha! Still the best Valentine’s Day for you? I do hope you’ll have a sweeter Valentine moment to share aside from that.

Let me tell you how I am imagining your very First Day of School—the first of many firsts!

You are wearing that red uniform with a scarf, as you stand on your high-heeled shoes for a few hours. Your classroom is filled with colors and many pictures, all for the love of learning. On top of every desks, are the information sheets, and a few reading material that your kids will fill out as they step in and find a seat in your classroom. The air is filled with nursery rhyme songs. You welcome them one by one, all smiles and energy but at the back of it, I know you weren’t able to sleep well the night before. You are filled with excitement and a little bit of fear too. But definitely, your first day is a blast! I hope you blog about it as soon as that day ends.

Remember Brigada Eskwela 2013 too? It was actually your inaugural ceremonies as a Teacher! You will be sharing the classroom with a co-fellow and partner teachers. You will be taking the morning shift. On the first day of Brigada Eskwela, together, you all scrubbed the walls, windows and floor. You were also able to meet parents of your will-be students and had a meeting with your co-teachers.

I wonder how your classroom designing turned out? Don’t forget to take pictures! You will need them to save every fleeting moment.

Sigh! For sure, two years will fly so fast.
As you go on with the two years, may I remind you that it will not be an easy journey. I look forward to your compiled stories of tears and success as you take this challenge of becoming an extraordinary teacher for every Filipino child.

Never forget that God is always there to guide you and family and friends and the TFP family to support you and love you.

Wishing you all the success,

10 Years From Now.

I always look forward to this moment that I can just sit in front of my computer and begin typing away my thoughts. It had been awhile that I had reflected on my life. I had been too absorbed by many things that I had simply forgotten to ponder on all of them. 

I am currently completing Summer Institute, a two-month program designed to prepare me not just an ordinary teacher, but a transformational teacher. Quite ambitious dare I say. Yes, it is. I am part of a bunch of people who dreams of building a nation of excellence, where no one is left behind.  As I look back on that moment of deciding if this is a job for me, I had set aside that main point of the organization- the social change advocacy-equality in education and opportunity. Makes me think, what am I doing here? I just wanted to be a teacher. Doubts had filled me in if I really can fulfill the bestowed task of transformation. I will not be able to see it soon. As challenge by Wendy Kopp, the CEO of Teach for All, as teacher, I should ask myself: 

“What do I want my students to become, 10 years from now?”

This question will always be the leverage of my actions inside the classroom, my interactions with the kids, their parents and my colleagues. Teaching subject concepts is a very easy task. Everything is just a click away, and I mean, everything about schoolwork. Looking for help on how to be a great teacher can also be found in every book about teaching. A rubric had been presented to measure how effective you are of a leader/teacher. 

I am afraid, for myself and for the kids who will be under my care for the next two years. But I am not letting my fear stop me answering the question. 

What do I want them to be ten years from now?

A total shift of mindset is necessary for me. I gotta fix myself soon.


Marami akong gustong sabihin sayo pero hindi ko alam kung san ko sisimulan.

Pano nga ba?

I thought we have something going on. I thought so and I am sorry if I had assumed it wrong. Magkaibigan nga pala tayo.  Akala ko lang talaga, we are gearing towards being more than friends. Magkaibigan nga pala tayo.  Paasa ka, o ako lang talaga ang tangang umasa sa wala?

*Deep sigh*

I wish you all the happiness.

Sa sobrang dami sana nang sasabihin ko sayo, eto na lang nasambit ko, anyway yan naman talaga ang pinakagusto kong sabihin sayo.

I hate you.