My Forever Favorite Teacher

This is the post excerpt.

My first Blog here; About Love, Family, and Life’s Journey

They say, in most aspects of life, that “the first is always the most difficult”, but for me, not in this one.

I can still clearly remember one specific instance from the past, in my very young life, where what happened that time overwhelmed the main facet of this blog site; about Love, Family, and Life’s Journey.

Year 1980, I was in Grade 5 of my Primary Education in Makati Elementary School (MES), a public school located in Barangay Poblacion (the Capital Barangay of Makati) funded by the Government of Makati that was built to provide basic education for “the People of Makati” specifically the parents who cannot afford to send their children to private schools…yes (again, just like a broken record…) in Makati.

For all of you reading this Blog, I had to reiterate “Makati” because this is the place where I grew up, this is the place where a lot of “misconceptions” about the place is derived, this is the place where “almost the rest of my life” is focused on, and this is the place where I got the taste of the combination of Love, Family, and one of the factors that ushered my life’s journey towards who I am today.

I spent my first four years in Makati Elementary School, as a pretty normal phase in my life…hmmm a bit difficult at first, but nonetheless I can still say that it’s a perfectly normal chapter of my Primary School Days in MES. Ooops! Wait, I think I have to explain first the “difficult at first” part of this “introduction”. It was difficult at first because, the first time I set foot in MES I was enrolled (and got accepted) as Grade 1 right away. Just like my older sister who is two years older than me, I didn’t go to the “normal steps” of being in Nursery School, Kindergarten School, and Preparatory School because my family just couldn’t afford it. You see, I belong to one of the many “poor families” whose parents cannot afford to send their children to school (yes, even in public schools), because they know that having to take advantage of a “free education” for their children still does not guarantee that there’ll be no more additional expenses to be spent that are associated with the so called “free education” for their children. These expenses include daily allowance, miscellaneous expenditures such as books, school supplies, and uniform.

Ahhhh!….the school uniform… “the main culprit” of this first Blog. I can still remember how I had to endure wearing the same white shirt (as school uniform) for the rest of the school year, hmmm! well there were a couple of times (Grade 1 and Grade 3) where I had more than two school uniforms because my Papa (who was then working as a family driver) got a bonus from his boss and that extra money was spent on bonus school supplies and uniforms for me and my sister.

Grade 5 came it was an exciting middle of the school year; 1980… the first year of a new decade. I was so excited because I was part of our school choir who was set to perform in an inter school choir competition held in February of the same year. So we were asked to give one of our own plain white shirts to our Grade 5 teacher for her to print our school logo for the coming choir competition. Luckily I still have that “extra shirt” from last school year that I gave to my Grade 5 teacher.

It was the month of January (1980), during one of the “recess” times, my Grade 5 teacher approached the group of boys (where I was part of) as she saw me with tears in my eyes. She asked one of my classmates what happened and that boy said, “Ma’am kasi po si Tilan ay tinutukso po ni Leon (not his real name), na hindi daw po nagpapalit ng damit dahil yun din daw po ang suot nya araw-araw”…or in plain English “Madam, it’s because Leon kept on teasing Tilan and apparently he (Tilan-this is me.. my classmates call me Tilan because it has less syllables compared to my real name Alfredo) is not changing his shirt (uniform) that he wears every day to school”.

My teacher told Leon that it was a bad judgement on his part, she even told him that “there’s nothing wrong with wearing the same uniform daily because I am sure that that uniform is washed and dried every day for Alfredo to wear the same uniform again the next school day”.

My teacher was right, I wash that shirt every single day after school…and as I was handwashing that shirt the moment I arrived 中国体彩官方app下载安卓 from school that day, I was really crying hard… it was the first time that I was humiliated in front of all my classmates in my Primary School Days. I didn’t know how to react… I thought that Life is fair…I thought that if you go to the same school and live in the same area (Barangay), all of you are the same… I thought that even though my classmates will notice that I wear the same shirt every day at school they will still give me the benefit of the doubt that I wash it every day and it will never be “an issue” to them because they will understand that I belong to a “poor family” and we just couldn’t afford an extra shirt or school uniform.

The next day I was so quiet as my teacher started returning/giving out the newly printed shirts (that we gave to her a week ago) to the choir members who will participate in the choir competition.

I was surprised when she gave me two shirts; one is the unprinted shirt that I gave her a week ago, and the other is a printed brand new shirt with our school logo on it and appeared to be the uniform that we had to wear in the choir competition the next month. I told her that the brand new shirt is not mine. She just smiled to me, it was the sweetest smile that I saw from her as if only my own Mother could give to me. She said, “It’s for you Alfredo, it’s my gift to you, and you deserve to have a brand new shirt for your choir competition next month”

I was speechless, I didn’t know what to say. She bought that brand new shirt for me, printed it days before the incident with Leon happened the previous day), and gave it to me the day after one of the saddest days in my young Primary School years. Holding back my tears (of Joy), she just held my hand and whispered to me, “you’re a good pupil (student) Alfredo, don’t let what happened to you yesterday dampen your spirit, cheer up!”

For the first time in my young life, I felt a real love from someone outside my family

For the first time I felt in my in my young heart and mind, the beauty of what life has to offer to me during that day and towards the coming future. God indeed, Knows how to balance our life through Angels hidden in ordinary people living amongst us.

Those two consecutive days that happened more than 37 years ago today always serve as a reminder to me that there will always be Love, there will always be a Family that we will encounter in our own Life’s Journey.

Up to this day, I still get good shivers down my spine whenever I remember those two memorable days in my life…and I always use them as my shield whenever I get discouraged by any negativities that happen around me.

Thank you my Grade 5 teacher Mrs. Teresita T. Caraan. Whoever is reading this that knows her, please message me so that I can get the chance to get in touch with her again.

Ma’am (Mrs. Caraan) I just hope that I can get the chance to say thank you from the bottom of my heart…and see you in person and allow me to give back the love you gave to me when I was still in Grade 5.

Thank you. I love you.

Alfie Tilan

(12-October 2017)

in Melbourne, Australia

…year 1980, just outside Makati Elementary School with my best MES buddies (Casey, Joel, Maya, Anton, Joseph, and Nick). Thank you Joel for the photo.

Author: On Love, Family, and Life's Journey (by: Alfie Tilan)

I am a Professional Chartered Engineer who value Love (God), Family (my Wife, my two Children, plus of course all our relatives), Life (the Journey that go with all my life's events that can be deemed as the good, the bad, the not so bad, and more importantly, the lessons we take from all those experiences).

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