Saturday, September 10, 2011

Assuming the role of a high school teacher


The class was grouped alphabetically according to first names. So Lance was clumped along with Karla, Kristina/Krushna, Kimberly, Kay, Kat, Lennie, Laureen, and Leah. There were nine of us, and I was the only macho man who would protect them from evil elements as we marched along the hostile streets of Manila.

It took us about 30 minutes to commute from Pedro Gil to a Pasay public high school. The task: to talk about addiction to kids as part of our Community Medicine rotation.

All-girl group Lee-Ann, Lennie, Ching, and Kay Commute

What we initially imagined to be a stress-free afternoon turned out to be a two-hour test of patience. The students weren't listening. Some of them were applying make-up. If they weren't shouting unrelated comments, they would be making rude remarks about a classmate. We had a couple of theatrical moments in class, all of them ending badly.


And it occurred to me that how we saw the students—inattentive, uninterested, indifferent, and rowdy—must be similar to how our lecturers in med school must have viewed us some years ago. One professor even commented on our supposed "immaturity". The experience brought me to a higher regard for teachers who teach these kids day after day.

Laureen and Kay did excellent work on the lectures, though. They were transformed into teacher-figures. The students listened. The jam-packed program moved on. One thing we learned in our class: the less the students move, the better.

But lest I make the impression that it was all stress, we also had our share of fun.

These teenagers will be our country's future, and we must empower them with information they need to succeed.


Next topic is on reproductive health. It doesn't help that I'm the only boy in the group. I'm already having butterflies—no, anacondas—in my stomach.

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