It was a day like any other day… or so I thought. There I was, walking along the busy streets of San Carlos City, with an umbrella strategically poised over my head. Summer this year really lives up to its name, as it was almost unbearably hot that day. Against the clear forget-me-not blue sky was the sun — white hot, unforgiving, alive and blazing. To top it all off, the air was dry and arid, with little to no swooshes of wind.
I was at the city plaza, in front of the towering St. Dominic Church, sunlight spiking off of its white exterior. Even in the heat, the church looked breathtaking. The sun seemed fluid, with its light managing to find its way into all hidden nooks and crannies. Even my umbrella was of no match to its persistence. All I really needed right then was a cool drink and some place the sunlight could not penetrate.
From afar, a distant ruckus impinged upon my ears. I turned my head towards where I heard the noise, searching and curious. As if on their own accord, my feet began moving to the source of the noise. Hey, I was curious and desperate for shade, okay? I soon found myself at the mouth of the Arenas-Resuello Complex, where a sea of multitudinous colors was gathered — people, clad in different colored shirts, with handheld fans waving rhythmically.
I recognized them as teachers, and it soon hit me. That day was the 29th of April, and it was devoted to the city’s celebration of the Educators’ Day.
I let my eyes scan the crowd, and they all seemed to be waiting. Anticipating. I took in how beads of sweat dribbled down their faces, and how some teachers looked restless and annoyed. “What were they here for?” I asked myself. “Ah yes, Coco Martin, the star from ABS CBN’s “Ang Probinsyano”, was supposed to come here,” I also muttered.
“But where is he?” I mumbled once more. I checked my wrist watch, and found that he was supposed to be at the venue two hours ago.
As if on cue, an uproar of squeals and stampede of footsteps sliced through the hushed anticipation in the air. There he was, our star, clad in a camo jacket and shades.
A thunderous roll of applause erupted across the complex, as the crowd including the teachers greeted Coco. However, before devoting his attention to the teachers, Coco catered to the growing mass of people outside the complex first.
It seemed that he became even more delighted by attending to his fans outside.
I opted to turn around and leave, when my peripheral vision catches a glimpse of a familiar head of gray hair. I did a double-take and looked closely; and sure enough, sitting there was the teacher who made my high school years interesting. He was never much of a smiler, nor a talker. He was almost always stoic, uptight and strict. As a student, I feared him. He was one of those one might classify as a terror teacher. However, what I beheld that day left me dumbfounded. He was all smiles — cheering and yelping along with the others. He looked nothing like the terrorizing teacher I knew. He looked so much younger, more vibrant, and more… human. His wrinkles morphed into laughter lines, with his eyes glistening with something bright and alive. In fact, this applied to all the other teachers. Stress no longer tarried on their features, and a new-found sense of relief seemed to lift the weight off of their slouched posture.
And it made sense to me. Sure, seeing my strict teacher carefree was like seeing a dog walk on its hindlegs. But it made sense.
Our educators are also humans. Given the stressful and tedious work environment they have, it is no surprise that they get exhausted from all the paperworks and workload. Some may even begin to question their passion for teaching after a few years of experience. But in the end, it is their passion for service that outweighs their woes. And it is only befitting that they find avenues to release the stress that they have to endure every single day.
And I no longer resented Coco for being late. In some way, he himself became an educator that day. He taught our educators the value of patience, an invaluable virtue one must master in the art and science of teaching. And when he attended to his fans outside, that was him teaching our educators the essence of venturing beyond one’s call of duty. Perhaps, our educators could learn and reflect on the notion that their talents and service are not bounded by the four corners of their classrooms; rather, their heart, mind, and soul are blessings ought to be shared with the rest of the world.