IN my 19 years in the teaching profession, I can say that I have always tried to maintain a respectful relationship with my students. If I look back, many became close to me, and there was openness.
But I see that as the years passed, the connection did not continue. Most got married, lived
abroad, or are already in higher positions in their career. Also, I sometimes forget my students’ names, but I still recognize them when I see their faces.
I must say that I am grateful when my students share with me their innermost secrets, family
pains, joys, and dreams, even if I do not ask.
I am happy that they trust me and value the built trusting relationship.
But I guess when students graduate, sometimes, the connection ends.
If I look back from the day I started teaching, there were many that I have seen again after years. Yes, I must admit that I am getting older; some may even tell me of their encounters with me as their teacher – funny, happy, and sad. Sometimes, I only nod and smile while thinking about the old times.
Honestly, in my opinion, whether the brain cells already deteriorate because of illnesses or aging, I have always believed that the heart has the power to remember people who are very special to anyone. Hence, I may have forgotten my past students’ names or only recognize their faces, but others are remembered over the years.
Let me talk about my student Dunkin Dohn L. Gamao, who graduated in 2011. I call him “Dohn.”
He was under me, I think, in his two major subjects in Nursing. I cannot remember how I became a blessing to him, as he always told me, but I can never forget how he made me smile when I was sad and tired at work.
He was good at dancing; I was never interested in watching dance competitions in school until he invited me to watch him with the best dancers at the AdDU School of Nursing. He was graceful, and I will never forget when she taught my eldest “Bea” dance moves.
Well, Dohn is 28 years old now while I am 46. Our age gap is 18 years, but I do not know why we click.
After his graduation, we have still communicated. He tells me about his great love for his best friend and has also shared his love life with me. There are months when we cannot say hello to each other, but when we do, it seems like we have been talking to each other every day.
The desire to talk about what is new in our life energizes us.
But when he left in 2016 to join his mother in Canada, we remained close, but the time we spent talking over the phone or on Facebook became lesser. However, when Dohn was home-sicked and broken-hearted, I found him always seeking me.
I guess a child always goes back to his mother when they are in pain. And every time Dohn achieves one of his dreams, I am always one of those who know first.
When he finds a new job, partner, new place, and skills upgrading, I will always receive a call and I am honored that he shares his aspirations with me. I guess a child always would want to share his joys with his mother.
Now, I realize that mothers could be mothers to people not born from their womb but born out of trust and love. I have learned that as teachers, it is essential to set boundaries, but the motherly love for their students cannot be omitted.
Teachers can be strict in imposing rules; they may reprimand students and give constant reminders that can sometimes bombard students. But I see that biological mothers also do this to their children. And the teachers’ and mothers’ purposes are the same: to help the children have a brighter future.
Ahh… If I were to choose what profession I want to become now, I would still answer the same – to be a nurse educator. Almost half of my life was into teaching; I never regret choosing to be one. Even though I may not remember all my students’ names for the past 19 years of teaching, I know that my heart will.
Most of all, I will never forget “Dohn,” who also knows my dreams, joys, fears, and pains. I love you, Dohn, my student, and now like a child of my own. I believe this is one of the greatest rewards of being a teacher.