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AS I SEE IT: Elpidio R. Estioko – Teacher Appreciation Week”: A teacher nourishes the soul of a child

Teacher Appreciation Week is May 8-12, 2023, and this year, we’re joining together to tell teachers that we will listen to them, we will stand with them, and together we will act so that every student has a teacher who feels respected and supported. (https://www.nea.org/TAW)

Let’s appreciate our teachers –   they shape the minds of the students and make a difference in their lives. Teachers, thank you for all that you do to our students, the hope of the future. Actually, you are a life-saver because you are saving the future… since our students will soon be our leaders of tomorrow, the hope of the future!

My colleague once said: “A teacher nourishes the soul of a child for a lifetime. He or she presents the past, reveals the present, and creates the future…; they inspire them…” What a food for thought!

So, since they direct and lead the path students choose, a teacher serves as a source of inspiration for the students to look up to. They are role models for students to emulate.

This week, we have a chance to remember our teachers who inspired us and made our school days memorable, meaningful and fruitful. They deserve to be remembered and appreciated for a job well done professionally without any mental reservation!

Suzanne Capek Tinsley, a veteran educator once said, in her published article What Makes a Teacher Memorable? “… students often remember teachers who were kind or funny or brilliant or passionate. They remember teachers who cared about them. They remember teachers who were supportive or encouraging or saw something in them no one else did. They remember teachers who challenged them and made them think. And truth be told, students also remember teachers who were maybe just a little quirky. After all, memorable teachers don’t have to be perfect.”

During my college of law days at the Manuel L. Quezon University (MLQU), I remember Justice Santiago M. Kapunan and Judge A. Caesar Sangco for their efforts to make the class alive by telling and narrating weird and humorous stories based on their experience/practice to keep the students engaged. They always break the monotony for every long lecture in Criminal Law and Civil Law.

Their moves provided the breaks law students need in between serious readings of the Criminal Code, the Civil Code, Family Code, and other textbooks for aspiring lawyers to read. I will never forget their stories and in fact, I have been sharing them with colleagues and friends during our free time.

In high school, how can I forget my Pilipino teacher in Urdaneta Community High School (UCHS), now the Urdaneta City National High School (UCNHS) Ms. Paz De Guzman? Aside from teaching, she also served as a confidant, a friend, a mentor, and an adviser to our group – D’Heartaches! After class, we go to her house and play, talk, listen to advise, and she is always there for us.

We get a lot of encouragement, not only in our classes, but in all aspects of our life. I will never forget her!

I don’t remember much about elementary, but I do remember Ms. Dolores Alcayaga, the famous school principal of the Urdaneta Central School (UCS) who was a disciplinarian. Most students hated her because of her strict disciplinary ways, but now I realized she was right! She was after the welfare of the students.

My former student in college at Arellano University, a former dean and now a full-pledge college professor and a distinguished educator, Angelina Santa Elena, PhD. at the Jose Rizal University (JRU), was very appreciative of her college day.

This was what she said: “My idol professor – funny, great, challenged us, and always inspired us to be successful in life.”

Also, allow me to comment and commend the foster grandparents/volunteers under the Seniors Council Foster Grandparent & Senior Companionship Programs from Salinas Valley, Seaside, Santa Cruz, Santa Clara, and Watsonville, all in California, who went back to school and assisted regular teachers in the classroom as teacher aide instead of retiring, spending their time, going to vacation places, and enjoying their moments with their families. at home.

They’re likewise revered by the students at San Jose Job Corps (SJJC), where they were assigned, because the students considered them as their mentors and buddies.

FilAms Grandma Dolores Misa and the late Grandpa Avelino Ocampo were part of this institution. Grandma Dolores was assigned to assist English teacher Fehmida Shaikh while Grandpa Avelino was assigned to help NLRO Instructor Elpidio R. Estioko.

When asked, Grandma Dolores, said: “I love assisting the students. This is one way of giving back to the community. If I can help, in my modest way, why not?” That’s the reason why Job Corps students love her and will never forget her.

As to grandpa Avelino, “even with my old age, I still want to render public service because it is in my heart. I love doing it and I find satisfaction whenever I see a student benefit from what I do, even in a very little way.” Grandpa Avelino connected with the students and will never forget him.

Whenever I see my former students from the University of the Philippines (UP-Diliman), Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP), Arellano University (AU), and the Graduate School, Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM), I’m happy to hear their comments/stories… signs they remembered me. So with my former students at De Anza Community College and the University of Phoenix.

The teaching profession is most often not completely understood, but teachers still chose to teach and work with students sharing their expertise and care. For the most part, they are underpaid, underappreciated, and under-resourced and they are typically asked to do more with less in return.

Just like St. Teresa of Calcutta (also known as Mother Teresa), a teacher for 20 years who sacrificed a lot working with people who needed her services, their sacrifices are worth appreciating.  Teaching is a noble profession and teachers deserve recognition and appreciation! They prepare the students to take over the future, the youth being the hope of tomorrow.

So, this week, we would like everyone to take the time out of their very busy schedules and say thank you to a teacher. Expressions of gratitude are rare for teachers, so we are sure that they would welcome and appreciate your gestures. A teacher is not a babysitter, so they say… and school is not a day care.

Let’s remember that teachers are professionals and they do a job that is in our best interest. Besides, it takes a special; kind of person to become a teacher because it takes patience and understanding to be one… Few, if any, teachers continue in the profession for recognition and financial rewards. Instead, they do it because it is what they like to do; it is their calling!

I would say – thank you for all the teachers the world over. Let’s thank a teacher today because it means a lot to them. They deserve the best!

(ELPIDIO R. ESTIOKO was a veteran journalist in the Philippines and a multi-awarded journalist here in the US. Lately, he published his book Unlocking the Chain of Poverty: In Pursuit of the American Dream. The book is now available with Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Xlibris Publishing. For feedbacks, comments, email the author at estiokoelpidio@gmail.com.)