Today, the school administrators were to collect and deliver their donations for the victims of Typhoon Yolanda. We had talked about this, they agreed that they will save a few pesos from their baon and buy it with either a can of sardines which costs 17php or a pack of noodles which costs 9php. Applying multiplication lesson on this, we were able to integrate multiplication and money matters. However, only a few were able to bring goodies for donations.
Let me give you a little background about my kids. We are in a public school. One of the most populated public school in the country, third grade, with most kids are frustrated readers, a few are still non-readers. As to how they got promoted to grade three without the necessary skills, I used to ask myself but then I just stopped. Lingering on this won’t make them instant readers with comprehension.
Going back, I noticed that one of their classmates has been holding a bunch of 1-peso coins and a 20-peso paper bill. I asked what was that for, at first they were shy to tell about it. I asked about it one more time, what was it for. The girl handling the money then said, "Ibibigay po namin sa mga nasalanta," Then I asked, "Pano nyo ibibigay?" Silence. The girl with the long hair and ponytails shook her head. Obviously, they don't know what to do with it. "How much do you have now?" "28php po." "Kanino galing yang mga yan? Taas ang kamay?" Three shy hands raised. Then I said, "Sige, kolektahin mo yan, tapos kung magkano man yang maipon nyo, dadagdagan ko na lang tapos itetext natin sa Red Cross para derechong makatulong dun sa mga nangangailangan.” Then, their other classmates who didn't care at first started gathering around her and giving their share, "Ako magbibigay ng lima" I heard one, "Ako din…." and so on and so forth.
Today, November 13, 2013, most of them probably sacrificed a portion of their meager baon to be given to the victims of Yolanda. Five pesos which was supposed to be for one cup of soup, for most of them, serves as their breakfast meal already. At the end of the day, we gathered Php109.00 in total. For some it may look small, but for this kids it had meant a day’s baon or meal or money they had been saving up for something.
I sat beside their Filipino teacher, teary-eyed and proud of these kids. I dont have a camera! "Cher, papicture naman sila, wala kong dalang kamera," I knew I had to keep a souvenir of this fleeting memory of love, sharing and compassion.
I had been working on their grades. The mastery level had been up but not so significantly. I should be sad, right? I mean, I should question my teaching capacity since the results of the tests given to them were very low. But no, I am proud of my kids. No numbers can ever tell what kind of persons they are going to be. As early as now, I know that they will grow as responsible citizens. More than being diligent, they had learned the art of being compassionate and generous. I am proud because they are my students. Every day, they teach me more than I teach them.
I had stopped battling with my excel files computing their grades and started documenting this story. This is something I dont want to forget. I want to keep on remembering. This is learning beyond the four walls of the classroom and I am not the teacher. The pupils are my teacher.
Everyday, we pray. We pray for ourselves. We pray for the victims of Yolanda and the volunteers. Today, we include that the amount we had gathered, we pray that it may go a long way.