When you rate your teachers…
There is a time in every school year where every faculty room is suddenly abuzz with discussions, assumptions, and predictions. Teachers just can’t stop chattering. Surely, something is bound to happen.
This is the time where there is a momentary shift in the balance of power between the lowly students and the god-like teachers. For a brief period, they are suddenly under the mercy of these kids; their numerical assessment on their performances decides their image, their worth, and probably their future.
Faculty evaluation in schools is very much like a political election- the students the electorates, the teachers the political candidates. Evaluations are announced a week or two before its administration and suddenly, there is vaudeville. Teachers become amped. Some suddenly become unrealistically (more like irritatingly) pleasant in the classroom. Some give heart-warming speeches in between (or sometimes the whole) lectures on hopes to win sympathy (votes?). And some would even resort to either direct bribing, pleading, or worse, threatening.
And of course just like the regular campaign period, some propagandas sell, and some do not.
I could just imagine the face of every student watching in amusement at their teachers as they perform their own antics. A few entertaining, others obviously trying hard, and the rest just plain pathetic.
Albeit, evaluations is not all that merry. Many students, would actually treat evaluations as payback time, judgment of the gods day, and the time of vengeance. They were silent as lambs when Teacher A threw a tantrum with no particular reason at all, or when Teacher B deliberately gave failing grades out of spite, or when Teacher C gave a grandiloquent speech on how doleful their existence are. But the students remembered— and they cannot wait for a second longer.
I never expect anything every time “The Hour of Retribution Comes.”Nor do I plan for my own campaign strategy to rally my ratings up. Not that I am being a hypocrite but I, from the bottom of my heart abhor becoming Mary Poppins every evals week— my towering pride just cannot take it. You know, similar to the rate-me-for-who-I-
Everybody knows I love power-trippings, has struggles with issues on schadenfreude, and a true-blooded prick. Still I do my share of reminding students about objectivity, open-mindedness, and a sense of humanity. Hell, your beloved teachers, after all, aren’t perfect. We all have our shares of quirkiness. And admittedly, we can be real bitches and assholes at some points (I take the cake in this part).
I think I should get a new job.
I am starting to believe that I am not really for the classroom (hmmm… nobody’s negating this statement, I can see…). I once had the delusion of being a great sage but I guess, I’m just a moderately good to a plain moderate teacher- and that’s exactly the point. I never, EVER wanted to settle for just “good”, worse, average. Here are some hardcore reasons why I believe pedagogy isn’t the best thing for me.
1. My handwriting is hideous.
I hear a resounding YESSS!!! from all corners of the firmament on this one. Numerous times I was complained of having a penmanship so alien that it needs a cryptographer in order to be deciphered. God knows how I tried to improve on it- but I guess with sooo much beauty and intelligence bestowed on me, He must compensate it somehow with a uh… weakness?
2. My level of selfishness/b!tch!*ess can rival or even surpass that of my students.
I’m not perfect, I’m a snitch. But I can tell you sir Dennis’ a b!t*h. Lalalala… Teachers are supposed to be understanding, giving, patient, and open minded with their students— like those you see in sappy infomercials and MMK episodes (Dear Charo, my teacher was a [series of pleasant adjectives, correctly placed in the proper series]…). But if “understanding”, “giving”, “patient”, and “open minded” were to be translated in my brain, these would register as just “blah-blah-blahs.” I refuse to tolerate their “high-schoolness”(despite the fact that they ARE high school students to begin with and that they HAVE ALL THE RIGHT to be high school-ish—see, I’m terrible, really). I am easily irritated with their antics to gain attention. Many times I say to myself “they’re just kids” but I end up berating them all anyway. Students want things to be all about them— but turns out it will always be all about ME and things getting done MY WAY at the end of the day. I relish every second of “in-your-faces” that I give to them whenever they try to be funny by deliberately giving stupid answers to questions, or when they begin to act cocky and give me THAT face, or whenever they do an attitude with a capital A out of nothingness, or when they just simply piss me off (sometimes I am pissed without any apparent reason- and they get to experience my wrath.)
3. I am not affable.
I am a master of showing indifference, apathy, and plain disgust. I cannot grit my teeth and flash a hearty grin especially when I’m having a bad day. “Good mooooorning sir” they would greet me every day and they expect either of the following reaction: A) a blank face+ response, B) lips arched a bit upward (still cannot pass as a smile) but eyes remain blank+ response, C) blank face+ no response, and D) lips purse + eyes roll (on special occasions). I have long tried to be nice- the type of nice exhibited by my colleagues who seem to be the happiest people on earth (high-pitched voice, squinting eyes, smirk reaching both ear lobes, and fondness of using name of student +“dear”, “anak”, “sweet heart”, or “darling”). They are so nice Mother Teresa is shamed, and whenever I attempt to be one too, I can only keep it up for ten minutes or so— then I go back to my old maleficent self again.
4. I am easily jaded.
And with that I would have to always psych myself up and recite the mantra “this is interesting… the topic is mind-blowing… the discussion is soooo spot-on even if things are moving at a glacial pace or not even moving at all. I wanted to teach topics— those only that spark my interest though I must lecture things that can potentially cause me to be fall into coma (and you think I so love teaching the S-TV-DOs???).
So if students give me THAT look they’re about to die of boredom— please realize that I myself has resisted the urge numerous times to stab myself, gouge my eyes, and skin my body just to stay awake.
5. I have authority issues.
Being the omnipotent entity in every classroom I enter in— I have concerns as regards to handling too much power as I have the natural tendency to treat students as if they were my serfs. With great power comes great opportunity to show who’s boss- that’s my motto.
Teaching isn’t just about dishing-out information and giving grades— it is a life which transcends beyond the mere chalkboard, lesson plan, and the occasional meter stick. Teaching could either be the coolest or lamest job ever- of course that lies on individual perspectives. As for me? It ain’t easy being a teacher
goddammit. This job’s just fucking HARD. Flinging yourself at each classroom, pretty much vulnerable to students’ ridicule and gossips (your clothes, your face—thank the gods I was not born facially-challenged, your hair…), requires a skin thick as a rhinoceros’ hide.
Then quit. What
the hell are you still waiting for?—- some might say as they were repeatedly rolling their eyes till it hurt while reading this. I will, definitely. But probably not until I fully grasp what this job is all about. Not until I can leave the campus gates, saying to myself that I have truly become a teacher and not just some noisome tramp who just disturbed the psyche of these adolescents whose faces are erupting with pus-filled pimples… and got paid for it. (now, that’s real low)
I have just always thought of it as a profession- a job where you do your thing, doing it well, and getting remuneration for it. I was wrong. Work doesn’t end in school. Teaching is a lifestyle. To be a teacher is to confine yourself in a box sealed with so many expectations. You become one of the moral watchdogs— and in turn become an impossible icon of morality yourself (why, WHY do teachers must always act like people from convents and monasteries? Is not teaching the difference between pure-bred and mongrel enough?). A teacher always go beyond the line of duty (ugh… don’t start with me on overtimes, take-home loads, and student-drama counseling). And teachers take the greatest pressure of churning out competent people to run the society someday. You want to make the world a better place minus the fat paycheck? I dare you to be a teacher.
The revolting perception of the Filipino Identity.
I think I have been overfed by Rizal’s quote-turned-Filipino-teachers’-battle cry-into-forcing –students- to-speak- the- national- language “Ang hindi marunong magmahal sa sariling wika ay higit pa sa mabaho at malansang isda.” (those who do not know how to love their native tongue is worse than a rancid fish). I am so full of it and disgusted I am about to puke mounds of words in their faces- none of which is Filipino.
“You cannot speak Filipino therefore you are a reeking rotten fish.” “How dare you say ‘Apples in New York are sweet in autumn’ in perfect American accented English whereas you do not even know the word bahaghari (rainbow)?” “Why, you cannot possibly be Pinoy until you cease uttering Fuhl-uh-pee-nowh.”
The zealots would then continue their torturing good ol’ dark-ages style using their perfected art of guilt-tripping— treating you as if you belong to the lowest of the caste for being so eloquent in another language (primarily English) and shall be stuck as such until ‘you-know-what-to-do’. So you force yourself to harden your tongue, constrict those jaws, memorize a couple of phrases from Balagtas’ book, and finally get a nod from your amused teacher— and your Filipinism rating moves up a notch. Congratulations. You are now a step up from being a true-blue patriot.
And now is the Buwan ng Wika. The period of the year where these dementors shall once again rise, sucking whatever self-respect left in you until you die of shame from their “Rizal told you’s” and “You will continue to be a disgrace to the race until’s”.
Their campaign to shroud the realm with darkness using their narrow, twisted, and wicked convictions does not end there. You are forced not only to abandon your faculty which has long since enabled you to efficiently communicate others who speak the same tongue, but you also are forced to loathe those who are not yet “Filipinized”, particularly those who see the shallowness of your “newfound” cause and thus refuse to give in.
“Feeling banyaga ka? Magsalita ng Filipino!”
“Trying hard Amerikano. Magtagalog ka na lang.”
“Huwag dayuhan sa sariling wika. Huwag maging maalingasaw na isda.”
Real mature. Really.