to my favorite teacher

it was heartbreaking that the last time i saw her was when i went to visit her with my classmates during her battle with cancer in 2007. she could barely lift her back from the bed without whimpering as she tried and succeeded in recognizing each of us. despite the weak look in her eyes, she was full of positive words to encourage us (instead of the other way around).

up to this day, i still find it amazing that i thought of her the night before she succumbed to her illness. it was just so out of the blue that i considered it her way of telling me her signature ba-bye. the blog entry i wrote then said i had wanted to “go on and on” talking about the memories i had with her but i was too busy with work.

on world teachers’ day (oct. 8), i thought of writing an entry about her but i had the same reason – i was busy at work. i feel guilty. after almost three years, i still haven’t sat down to write about her so now let me just do that.

ma’am z was our first year adviser. i think the most loving (a.k.a. patient) teachers are always assigned to freshmen(i believe that is also the case for grade one teachers). naturally, ma’am z became my first mother figure in my new world that was high school.

she was also our english teacher. only a week after the classes started, i was handpicked to be the freshman representative for the englicom society (the equivalent of an english club), which was handled by ma’am z, of course. so yeah i got attached to her almost instantly. i was involved in almost all other clubs but the englicom society was closest to my heart and yes it was mostly because of ma’am z.

thinking about it now, i really don’t know how or where my love and respect for ma’am z started. i guess with her first impressions really last. the moment she welcomed us on our first day of class and introduced herself as our adviser i already knew that she is my favorite teacher. she has this enthusiasm that i later found out was unfading. she was one of those few teachers i know who teach because they love teaching and who are experts in their subjects.

one of my most memorable moments with her was when we went to laguna for the regional school’s press conference. i think there were about 10 participants from our school. aside from being a supportive and inspiring mentor, ma’am z was a good friend who listened to our stories during free time and even joked and played around with us. she accompanied us to a nearby park one night where we played lampihang habulan. we all thought that was so cool of her because the other advisers from the other schools were so uptight, monitoring their delegates every move. apparently, they were conscious about what others will say if they “misbehave.” but ma’am z had her full confidence on us that she didn’t have to put more pressure on us.

my favorite class with ma’am z was our greek mythology class in fourth year. we have a weekly journal for that class and ma’am z would patiently comment on each of our thoughts about the subject. i remember my last entry was about how much i liked the book and that i thought i would be reading it again and again in the future. ma’am z wrote under my entry that it was also one of her favorite books. she said i should read more books and get inspiration from them to improve my writing and pick up valuable life lessons in some.

on our last school day, i had ma’am z write a dedication for me in my greek mythology book:

for my graduation, ma’am z got me a desk lamp. the message she wrote on the box said that she wanted to guide me even when i’m already in college. every time i use the desk lamp when i am studying should remind me of ma’am z supporting me, she said. the note also had some comforting words about the ranking issues (which i don’t want to talk about again, ha-ha-ha!). she ended it with encouragement, saying she believes in me so i should believe in myself too and that whatever happened then and the people around me should never bring me down.

i realized none of the other teachers i had ever told me they believed in me the same way ma’am z did. and i took up journalism because of that. (maybe i could have been a doctor or an engineer if my science and math teachers had been more supportive and inspiring, ha-ha-ha!)

* * *
dear ma’am z, you are missed. love, almi.

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