A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.  ~Henry Adams

Last week I talked about my favorite gradeschool teacher. Today’s theme is about one’s favorite subject but I would really like to highlight the teachers behind those subjects so this post would be a mix of both. This time I’m picking 3 of my highschool favorites.

I was a slacker back then, I would skip class if I have difficulties with it (our 4th-year Accounting subject for one). I know – that didn’t help in learning to like the subject at all. If there are two subjects that I have perfect attendance with, that would be English and Filipino. I have a penchant for learning new languages, then until now. Should there have been different languages taught in highschool, I would have loved it! Along with these classes, I enjoy Literature, be it English or Filipino.

Because my dad always sends postcards when he was away, the places he’d been to piqued my interest…that’s why I love history and geography. Add also my mom’s college books of short stories, mythology, history books and novels that I read as a child to my influences.

Meet Ma’am Galarse. She was our sophomore class adviser and Filipino teacher. She introduced me to Rogelio Sikat, Alejandro Abadilla, F.Sionil Jose and Cirilo Bautista. Literatis that I would later on look up to when I was writing for the same school publication they wrote for, UST’s Varsitarian (University of Santo Tomas). I was also fortunate to meet Sir Sionil Jose and Sir Bautista, the latter’s biography becoming my thesis subject.

It was with the influence of Ma’am Galarse (along with one of my grade school English teacher) that I pursued a course and career in Journalism.

Hanggang ngayon, inaalala ko ang mga turo niya sa Panitikan man o Balarila. Ginagamit ko ang mga iyon sa pagtuturo sa aking mga anak lalo na at iba ang wika na kanilang kinalakihan. Narito ang ilan sa aking mga akdang isinulat sa Filipino.

Ma’am Galarse was, aside from being an effective teacher, a sensitive adult. I say that because she was one of the few teachers who saw me as me. She’s also the one who made me like tikoy (Chinese mooncakes). During lunchtime we often have our bentous (lunch box or for older generations; bugong) and would eat in the classroom. She would be there too eating hers on her table. When she had brought tikoy, she’d call me over and give me some. ^_^ It was from her that I  learned cooking tikoy coated with egg.  I was all the more surprised when during graduation she gave me a whole box of tikoy as a present!

Her thundering voice is one that will echo in my head, thankful for the lessons but most especially for the kindness and her sincerity as a mentor.

(I was half-finished with this entry when the lappy stopped and there was no autosave! 🙁 Had to write down what I can remember – it’s not half as good as the first one.)

Ma’am Gala as we fondly nicknamed her has a friend whom she lovingly calls “kaibigang putik.” Loosely translated as mud-friend or a good-for-nothing friend. It’s obviously a term of endearment but it could also be an inside joke that we students don’t know about. 😀

We sometimes refer to her as Ma’am Camantigre – the real surname being Camantigue. I’m divulging this assuming that she knows of it long ago, if not, then the cat is out of the bag.

The monicker also reflects her having a strong personality albeit being small. ^_^

Ma’am Camantigue was one of the honest teachers who showed concern when I was misbehaving. (I did a lot of times.) And she was upfront about it instead of keeping mum.

I learned a great deal about grammar and vocabulary from Ma’am Camantigue. It’s not so clear to me now what the scope of her lessons were but I’ve always regarded her as one of the best.

Then there’s Ma’am RHB — initials of the best history teacher I had (Rosalie Hizon Balagat). She taught Economics and World history during our third year and fourth year in high school, respectively.

Ma’am RHB, just like Ma’am Gala, has tapped one potential I was eager to develop – to face a crowd. She might have forgotten it but I don’t. She would call me to her class, I’d then explain what the APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Conference) was about.  From there, I was somehow able to conquer my uneasiness before a crowd.

In class, Ma’am is the bubbly teacher who always had a joke that we’d certainly guffaw on. Why? She always picked the corny ones. 😀 Despite, we’d always have a good laugh. And we certainly enjoyed class for those! Last week, my former classmates and I were discussing about those jokes and it’s amazing we  still recall most of them! They sound funny now that we are reminiscing them.

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These three are my most favourites but there are a lot of subjects that I also enjoyed…

English – 1st year with Mrs. Bayan

Literature and Optional English – 1st year-2nd year with then Miss Samson

Technology and Home Economics – 1st year with Mrs. Rojas

Asian History – 2nd year with Mr. Gabriel

English – 3rd year with Ms. Alba

Stenography – 3rd year with Mrs. Belardo

English – 4th year with Mrs. Gemanil

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Having favourites mean having the opposite…in this case, subjects that gave me headaches as a student.

That would be Numbers and its proponents. Chemistry tops my list followed closely by Physics. Accounting is next and until now I never enjoyed it – to think that I have to actually learn it (again) for our home-based business, I just can’t. This reminds me of the graduating students’ deliberation day. Having made it to the top, our Accounting class teacher came to me and asked “matalino ka pala?” ahihihi. That’s because aside from skipping her class often, I’m the last to finish our tally exercises. Despite, they were the best teachers of their field- all of them were (and are).

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Favorite or not, I will always be grateful to all my teachers for the knowledge they imparted and for helping me be a better person. When I became a mom and when I talk to my kids’ teachers, only then did I realize how teaching is never an easy profession. It takes a lot of patience, a talent for organization and focusing skills to be an effective one. I truly believe that teaching is the most noble job, especially so because a teacher will influence an invidual for the rest of his or her life.

All that said I still stick to my claim, I was and still is a student made  for letters – not for numbers.

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Edit: I asked another teacher ( who happens to be my bestfriend’s mom) if she has photos of my two teachers above.  She asked a colleague to upload them on facebook, hence the recent photos. Ma’am RHB has an FB account too so I took that photo and messaged her that I’ll be using it, she hasn’t agreed yet. 😀