This Is Not Work. This Is A GIFT.

If there’s one thing I don’t think I can get used to now that I’m already a preschool teacher, it’s that emotional and melodramatic feeling during Moving Up Day. I am a self-confessed drama queen when it comes to goodbyes.

This year’s Moving Up Day was even more emotional for me. I didn’t only bid goodbye to the kids who are moving on to big school, but I also bid goodbye to everyone else at Escuela Legarda–the babies, the teachers, the helper, the parents. The last day of school was also my last day at EL. I am moving on to another school–a decision which was more than difficult to make, but I believe this is for the completion of my dreams and plans.

I didn’t actually cry during the Moving Up Day. I was too busy running around and fixing the kids’ costumes that I didn’t have much time to emote and cry. It was the day after MUD that I cried real hard while browsing the photos of the kids in the school’s page. I’m missing them terribly. Each and everyone of them. Each of them left a remarkable mark in my heart.

I’m missing all the kakulitans, the running to and fro inside the classroom, the young bullies, the shocked looks whenever I call them to work, the funny questions, the resident face the wall kid, the excited looks and smiles, their silly fights over toys, the almost everyday poo-poo-ing in school, the “oh Teacher Apple, I burst out some gas” notice, the chaotic birthday parties, the lining up by the wall to wash hands and always there are kids who just want to get ahead.

I’m missing their tiny little hands which I love to hold and lock with mine. I’m missing their sweet smiles and greetings whenever they open the door and walks inside the room. I miss seeing how they pack away the toys, their bags, etc. I miss seeing how they try to put on their socks and shoes independently. I’m missing the sweetest hugs and kisses I could get every time they’re on the mood to give some loving:-)

These kids were my comfort pill. They never fail to put me in a good mood. They’re definitely my Little Mr. and Ms. Sunshines:-) My students thought me how to appreciate life in the simplest ways: a genuine smile and a heartfelt laugh.

And yes, I’m missing the parents’ barkada, too:-) Escuela Legarda has a really nice, appreciative, generous, and sweet batch of parents. I love that they’re even super friends with each other and even call their group “the hungry birds.”

I am even more blessed to have my first shot in preschool teaching at Escuela Legarda. I’ve learned a good deal about teaching and discipline in this school. And hey, I even discovered my ‘creative’ side there:-) I will forever be grateful to Teacher Beia for believing that I could do the works and entrusting me with the kids despite my lack of experience and academic knowledge in handling children.   She’s way younger than me but I actually consider her as my mentor when it comes to preschool teaching.

Teaching opened my heart and mind to a lot of wonderful things and possibilities in this world. It made me realize that:

  • Money is never an issue when you love what you’re doing.
  • It is easy to make a child happy.
  • Everything you say to a child will leave a mark in his/her heart and mind
  • Playing and talking is necessary. It is even better if the classroom is noisy because it means the kids are engaging and socializing.
  • Each child has his/her own ways and phases of learning. We should not feel upset when one child learns a little slowly than the other.
  • A child with autism may be different but that doesn’t make him/her less of a person.
  • The teachers are not only the source of knowledge in the classroom. The students are, too.
  • There’s no need to spank a child when he/she’s done something wrong. A sincere and heartfelt talk will do. And ‘face the wall’ as well:-)
  • That you don’t need to be the mommy of a child or a relative to genuinely care for him/her.
  • There are a lot of cookies and biscuits and other possible ‘baons’ for the kids in the market. Mommies just need to be a little creative:-)
  • Be nice and sincere to parents and they will be nice and sincere to you, too. They appreciate even the littlest thing you do for their child.

I might have done something good in my life to deserve a really happy and satisfying job as this. Being a teacher is one of God’s greatest blessings in my life and I’ll forever be grateful for that. I’m blessed that I don’t need to slave myself out to work or keep searching for day to day mood pick-uppers to fight work stress because I definitely love what I’m doing. It doesn’t actually seem like work at all. This is God’s gift that I get to enjoy and earn from:-)

I left Escuela Legarda bringing with me a good bagful of happy memories I will surely keep in my heart forever:-)  Thank you for the wonderful, fun-filled two years of my life:-)

Photo credits: Teacher Che, Daddy Nemi, and I Love Pix photobooth:-)

Usapang Bata # 50-51

Still inside Escuela Legarda:

Usapang Bata # 50

The bully teacher in me strikes again:

Me: Gianna, bakit hindi ka pumasok kahapon?
(although suspended naman talaga ang class the day before, but I was just trying to jest her)
Gianna: Kasi wala yung dila ko.
Me: Ha? San nman nagpunta yung dila mo?
Gianna: Sa Mercury.
Me: Anong ginawa nya sa Mercury?
Gianna: Bumili siya ng battery kasi wala na siyang battery., Look oh! (and showed me her tongue)

This little girl never fails to amaze me whenever she talks:-)

Gianna:-)

Usapang Bata # 51

I made a survey among my boys in school:

Me: Joaqui, is my nail polish pretty?
Joaqui: Yes
Me: Do you like it?
Joaqui: No! (and ran away)

Joaqui the Funny boy:-)

Me: Dylan, is my nail polish pretty?
Dylan: Yes
Me: Do you like it?
Dylan: No!
Me: but why?
Dylan: Because I’m a boy and boys don’t have nail polish.

VERY GOOD! Their parents could now relax:-) These boys are indeed ‘barakos.’ 🙂

Usapang Bata # 41

Sa school habang Circle Time:

Jazz: Teacher Apple, bakit butas yang pants mo?
Me: Hindi yan butas. Style yan. Nabili ko siya sa store, ganyan na siya.
Jazz: Ipatahi mo kaya yan sa manang na kapitbahay ninyo?

Asus! Pati pants ko napansin ng batang bibo:-)

How A Preschool Moving Up Day Made Me Cry…

If my memory serves me right, the last time I cried on a graduation day was during my high school graduation. Back then, I cried as a young teenybopper who was so attached to her high school friends and to her school and a bit afraid of what the new journey in college will bring her life. I cried over Madonna’s song ‘I Remember’ since that song really spoke of how I felt during that last day of my high school life.

More than a decade after that emotional scene from my high school graduation, I found myself dewy-eyed again ’cause of a school’s culmination activity. This time, the role that I played was way different from the one I portrayed ten years back. From being just the one waiting for her name to be called to go up the stage, I was now the one giving the certificate to the students. I’m now the teacher.

Being someone who’s easily attached to people and things, our school’s Moving Up Day was something I was looking forward to and dreading at the same time. I was excited about it because it’s a brand new experience for me, but I dreaded it since it meant bidding farewell to the kids, especially those who are already going to big schools.

And the inevitable separation happened this morning.

At first, the teachers were cool about the event. We were even laughing while decorating the venue. Then the kids arrived with their parents, and few moments after, the program started.

During the speech of the school’s directress, when she expressed her gratefulness to the parents, especially the sweet mommies who’ve been so helpful, so nice, and so thoughtful to us, I could already feel my tears wanting to fall down. Thankfully, I was able to hold it back.

Then the sweet mommies asked us to stay on the stage because they’ve prepared a small presentation for us. Thereupon, the kids formed a line holding three pieces of roses each. One by one–wait make that all of them–went up the stage and gave the teachers the roses, gave us a sweet hug, and said ‘thank you.’  That was the sweetest and the most rewarding  scene I’ve ever experienced in my 7 years of working professionally.

After few picture taking, I went down the stage. Cole and his mom came to me and asked to take a picture with me. I hugged Cole because I’ll surely going to miss him since he’s one of the sweetest kids in class. Mommy Jane (his mom) then told me that Cole was crying last night because it finally dawned on him that he’s not going to Escuela Legarda anymore next school year. And I could no longer forbear my tears. I hugged Cole once more, this time, it was tighter and I told him I’m really going to miss him.

I’m being so emotional, I know. I’m a teacher so I should get used to this kind of scenarios since every year, we’ll have Moving Up Day and we’ll say goodbye to different sets of kids. But still…This whole thing was just so heart-melting and I never thought that parents could really appreciate teachers like the way these parents did.

Now I know what’s the toughest part of being a preschool teacher is. It’s not about teaching them the basics and really starting from scratch, not even changing diapers or washing them after they made poo-poo. It’s saying goodbye to little angels who’ve been my babies for the last 10 months of my life.

I’m not sure if these kids will ever remember us when they go to big school, especially if they’ll grow accustomed to it already. I hope they will, though. But I will certainly keep them in my heart for as long as live. I know for sure that at any random day, I would be checking on my old albums of the school and relive the precious moments spent with these little angels through those photos.