Stepping Back

So there is this unpublished draft in my dashboard which I wrote sometime in June 2014–during the onset of my two-year fellowship with Teach for the Philippines.


Week 1

Frustrations greeted me on the first day of school. This had never  happened to me in my five years of teaching. I had always been the jittery-excited teacher who was eager to meet his pupils and do all sorts of gimmicks to make the opening salvo of the school year worth remembering.

But I forgot; I am in a new school now. This time, I am not the teacher; I am a pensive observer from the outside looking in. No getting-to-know-activity, no I-Can’t burial. 

My frustrations stemmed from my unmet personal standards for teaching. This I will explain in due time.

Five days of sitting in in that third grade class made me reminisce my basic education years in public schools. Those 10 years were the best training days of my childhood. I gained a lot of indispensable life skills (sales talk, commuting, taking turns, etc.) that no private school training would have taught me that early in life. 

Another  thing I could not bear, for lack of a better term,  during my Week 1 observation was the poor ventilation of the classroom. Everyone was damped in sweat at 8:00 in the morning. The whisper of the rusty stand fan in row one did not help, at all. Imagine how everyone smelled at 4:00 p.m. dismissal time. I call this whiff: amoy-whole-day.

Twenty-eight months later, and no longer wearing my teacher hat, I would stumble on this unfinished piece–trying to extract something insightful from this chance encounter.

Is this the Universe’s way of reminding me to continue my journey–to pack up, and go back to the place where I used to feel most alive?

That my two-year stint in the public school was just an appetizer–and the best…the main course (and yeah, the dessert) has yet to come?

Will this step back lead to a bounce back–to a comeback?

It is five months before the opening of classes. A lot could happen between now and June.


‘Cher Jerson is now at the DepEd- Central Office–serving as a technical assistant under TFP’s Alumni Ambassadors Program.