In my months of teaching, I have found my home. My students taught that like a tree, we must grow together. Because when we grow, we have something to give.
On the days I have been with them, they have seen the worst in me. I doubt if they see the best sides. No matter what they notice, positive or negative, I will accept as to how they view me. But for me, I never see them as bad kids. They are just troubled students who don’t know how to express their feelings properly. They don’t need fixing because there is nothing wrong with them. They just need to undergo the process of learning and improving.
There are times that I misunderstand their behavior; the same way perhaps that they don’t understand mine. But within the misunderstanding, love is in the middle. I see in their eyes how hard it is for them to stay in the four corners of our room as if I am stealing their freedom.
The truth is, the four-walled classroom that serves as their home is a place where knowledge can be expounded, relationships can be enhanced, and love can be expressed without hint of judgement.
From all the punishments they experience under my wings, I know they probably hate and curse me. But I choose to ignore even if I’m hurt so much by their actions. Even if most of the time they don’t respect me and instead see me as a monstrous one who only see what’s wrong with them.
I hope someday they will realize why I’m treating them the way I’m doing. The bad words that come through my mouth are not intended to hurt them. I get angry because I love them. Anger is also an emotion, and when you get angry over something or someone, it means that it matters. They matter to me because I love them.
What I want is for them to open their eyes on what they are doing wrong. I want them to remember that in every action we do, there’s a corresponding lesson. When they are disobeying me, I still try to maintain my compassionate attitude.
Yes, there are days when I am not in the mood but I still make an effort to communicate with them. I usually point out what needs improvement yet they just ignore without minding that I might get hurt. But that is okay, because to love is to understand.
And I always choose to understand. However, sometimes an understanding heart also gets tired. So they’ve seen me when I’ve blown my top and when my rage burns like flames. I feel guilty when I scold them though.
I have witnessed their laughter, their happiest moments, and their sad ones. Some of them, I know the story very well. Some of them, I have been on their side when they cried. When I see them crying, I also feel their pain and I can’t stop myself from crying, too. Some of them show their sweetness as best they could. I love them. My love for them is too big for me to hate them.
Through the days I’ve spent with them, I have learned so much about life. They have taught me how love can truly conquer all – the pain, the angst, and the dark sides of my life. They help me to find the light within me and be someone for anyone who needs to see their light.
For the many times that I have cried, it doesn’t mean they have hurt me. It means that all of them have helped me to get through in my life. They inspire me to live. To feel. To be bold. To accept what our life can offer. I am fervently hoping that I also inspired them the same way.
When I walk away in class, it doesn’t mean I hate them all. I just want them to realize what they did wrong and to say sorry. Moreover, I feel they should learn to fix the wrong things they have committed. When I say that they are monsters, it is another way of masking off the demons in them so that the world could see how kind and beautiful creatures they are. When I tell them to get out, it is my way of saying that they should reflect on their wrongdoings.
It may be hard to comprehend the knowledge and life skills I want to impart with them, but no matter how hard it is, it will become useful. Maybe not now, but definitely someday, one day.
With them, I have learned how love can cure everything. Their brokenness, pain, issues – these are what keeps me going because I don’t want them to feel alone when dealing with such ordeals. Because I don’t want them to become the persons that they are not because of those problems they have. That is why even if I get tired, I choose to show up; to be with them even if I don’t feel right.
When I see them fighting with each other, I feel I have failed to impart to them the value of love. When I am with them in a closed room because they did something wrong, I feel like I have failed to impart with them the value of good relationships to other people. When I send them to the office they hate most because they are drunk, have disrespected people, cut classes, and didn’t submit written activities, I feel like I failed to be a good model to them.
When I talk to them because of their low grades, I am not judging their intelligence’ all I want is for them to see that they can do better. When I say to them that they have to change for the better, it is my way of saying that I love them and I really care for them.
When people complain about their negative attitudes, I feel like I am ineffective. When people say something that degrade their value as individuals, it pains me. I know they are still capable of changing. What I am see in them are potentials. Lots of potentials.
Someday, I hope they realize what kind of persons they should become. And I hope, they will remember the things I shared with them.
I love them with all my heart.