School competitions happen all year round and last week I had my first taste of coaching for a National Storytelling Competition. Training 6 students, five of which are new to the art of book-based storytelling, I was able to share my craft to six wonderful students who each carefully listened, took criticism positively, trained and trained some more. I was one happy teacher then when two of my trainees qualified in their category (grades 4-7) and made it to the top 8 out of 88 storytellers.
I realized that I owe it to them to be thereon the finals which was held at the Manila International Bookfair but which unfortunately coincided with an Outdoor activity I was required to attend as an applicant of the UP Mountaineering.
And since to me everything comes secondary to teaching, I sadly but unregretfully let go of my mountaineering for now to there for them. They made me even more proud when one of my students bagged the silver. Top 2 out of 88 ain’t bad at all.
Options we take will always have implications. Trying again isn’t always easy. Like in my case, I just can’t easily try again. I have to patiently wait for next year’s open application of UPM. Although I won’t be repeating from scratch, as I am now a continuing applicant, it would be challenging to maintain my running and climbing form outside the organization.
Feeling sad was inevitable. I did put a lot of effort in the application process. I even had withdrawal symptoms from stopping “to get” the UPM high. But then again, my second grade students made it a lot easier. As I explained this to them, I was surprised that the next day my students and surprised me with letters, posters and a balloon all comforting me with words like
Teacher JM, hayaan niyo next year papasa na kayo sa Mountaineering
Teach, thank you for choosing us over UP Mountaineering
Thanks so much for coaching us, hayaan niyo po may silver naman tayo.
I learned from my co-teacher that they were quite bothered by it and asked her if they could give me a surprise. My co-teacher then used this as an opportunity to practice writing letters in a very meaningful experience.
Shucks. If there is one constant thing in my life right now, it is my love for teaching. I know I am only in my first year and burnout is a big threat, idealism might make me lose my mind but all I can say right now is I am happy teaching.
Teaching ain’t the flashiest, it’s just one of the happiest jobs ever.