For years, my job as a teacher has given me the chance to be a guiding second parent to my students. However, for that span of time, I have also yearned to ask for a chance to be a mom to my sons (and soon, to my daughter when she starts schooling).
Envious of the parents who have time to bring their children to school, to attend PTA meetings, to be a PTA and GPTA officer, to speak up for my children, to demand why a teacher doesn’t do her job, to support the school during activities as a parent… these are some events I really, really want to do.
However, being a teacher limits me and my powers as a parent. First of all, I always try to put myself in the shoes of the teachers. Even if it is as plain as daylight and sunlight that a teacher doesn’t teach my son anything, I keep mum. This I have to do as a sign of respect to my fellow teacher. Where is justice in being questioned on a simple typographical error when I myself could not report a teacher who regularly comes late to class and spends more than half of the time lamenting on irrelevant matters?
Being a teacher and a mother is difficult. But that is an understatement. Lately, I have been warning my students on the danger of a possible “volcanic eruption” since I have been adjusting my class requirements and deadlines so the students will feel less stressed, even for a tenth of an inch.
But being a human being, it is only of my nature to come to a point where I get to break down. How come that I get to adjust for my students’ comfort and yet a fellow teacher would let him check their long exam during exam week?
Lately I have been asking myself and my fellows how the integrity, character, personality and the whole being of teachers have changed. It seems to be that teachers who selflessly work extra hours for the students’ learning are part of an endangered species. More and more teachers get to work sleepless nights only because they need to comply to reports, researches and numerous tasks that do not really teach students at all, just making the learners guinea pigs for their research proposals and innovations.
Now, going back to being a mom. I just cannot be one when it comes to schoolwork. Even my son cannot just be himself. He knows that teachers expect more from him. When my son tells me of the dilemmas he face at school, I just teach him tricks to adjust, react, or answer. Unlike non-teaching parents, I cannot go straight to the Principal’s Office to demand why my son is experiencing such difficulties. When his body bogs down due to fatigue, I cannot go to school to demand why teachers give all of their requirements at the same time. I can’t. But deep down, I want to be one.
I also want my son to feel that I can fight for him. But I can’t. Because I am a teacher. In my profession, becoming a teacher surpasses motherhood. Tonight I broke down, felt that I am hopeless to standing up for my son. But this is the choice I took, 16 years back when at 20 years old, I thought I could change the world.
But I guess, I need to just change my students’ lives and watch them change the world for me. As for motherhood, I hope and pray that my children get to have more teachers who are selfless enough to make them learn lessons in life. Not just lessons for grades, not for reports, not for researches.