It was 5:30 in the morning and my cellphone was already buzzing violently. It was as if it had a mind of its own, that it knew very well how significant it was for me to wake up early that day. I bet it knew that the date was special. It was June 3, 2013 – the first day of school year and my first day of work as a public school teacher. Not that I hadn’t taught in public school. I did, as a local school board teacher, but apparently I stopped for some reasons and now I have came back.
In the dark,I fumbled for my phone under my pillow, turned off the alarm, jumped off the bed, and headed to the bathroom. In a normal day, waking up that early was a struggle, unless I have insomnia but then again that day was different.
By the time I finished my shower, my younger siblings were also already up and eating breakfast. They too would be going to school, including my mother who was also a public school teacher. (She was teaching elementary though. You see it runs in the blood.)
I wolfed down my breakfast in a faster way possible that my normal speed of eating, reminding my sisters in between intakes of food to hurry up so we wouldn’t be late.
At 6:30, my father was already driving my siblings and mother toward their schools, while I waited for a cab or jeepney that would take me to Irawan National High School, a barangay school that was quite far from the heart of the city. It took me ten minutes before I was able to hail a jeep bound to Barangay Irawan. The ride was smooth, even relaxing. There was no traffic that would make me frown so early in the morning. No smoke from the vehicles to ruin my uniform and no cussing from the impatient driver or passenger who could be late for work. There was just the cool breeze, mixed with little fog that was entangling my rebonded hair, but it wasn’t so much of a problem. There were also the rays of the sun slowly warming the earth and every passenger inside the jeep. Before my eyes, the buildings gradually disappeared and replaced by canopy of trees and vast fields of rice and vegetables. Almost everything was green.
I arrived at my school at 6:59. I glanced at my watch and heaved a sigh of relief as I climbed out of the jeep. I congratulated myself for having an exact calculation of my preparation and travelling time. But as I walked towards the gate of my new working environment, a mixture of emotions which I believed had building up inside me during the past week suddenly took me. Happiness, Excitement. Optimism. Worry. Doubt. Fear. I couldn’t weigh which of those was the prevailing emotion. I should think that it was happiness practically because this was my dream. I have it now in my hands. Although, catching it was not comparable with reaching for the moon or the stars, it was still a coveted prize. I’d dreamt of it since I was a child. But there was something in me that I should not feel and I hated admitting it to myself. It was doubt. Was I really ready for this? Am I really qualified to be a teacher? The list of requirements and qualifications of the DepEd for would-be teachers didn’t include the most important prerequisites but I knew them all too well, but do I have those? Didn’t I miss anything? Could I really took care of my students enough the way the second parent should care? Would I really be able to relate to them? Was I ready to handle the pressures? Maybe what the others were saying was right. I should work at the office because it was least tedious than being a teacher, because I may not be able to handle the pressure. But maybe they were wrong too.
As I took the necessary steps toward the gate, I still didn’t know the answers to my questions. I was scared that the answer to those could be no, that there were enough reasons for me to doubt myself, to feel fear. But even if my doubts were right I had to walk forward, to enter the gate. The Principal was waiting for me as well as my students. There was no turning back. I just stared at my feet as I walked, feeling shy and hesitant. Three, two…and one last step and I was inside the vicinity. I tried to look up and saw the curious eyes of the students gazing at me. And the the answer came to me.