The following Experiences entry has been edited and reposted with permission from the author’s original blog post, which can be found here.
I fell in love with my kids.
Nothing in particular really happened, but I just kind of, sort of, did.
Don’t get me wrong; I’ve always loved them. But there was a moment one day when I looked at them, smiling, with eyes that glimmer with a hope for the future – a future that I have long since forgotten – that tugged at my heart.
In their eyes, I saw endless possibilities that I can only imagine. In their smiles, I saw the purity of a child’s heart and how the world tells each one of us, one way or another, that growing up means letting go of that purity and innocence. It is a bit sad, don’t you think?
And then there was a moment where we just laughed, when we all just laughed, and I realized that that future that seemed so out of my reach, out of my realm seemed too close and too real.
And with that, I realize that there is no limit to what my kids will become… on both ends of the spectrum.
But I am here with them. I share something with them.
I told myself I love them. I love them so much that I want to do anything and everything in my power to help them build the future they want… in hopes that that future is a better one than what they have now.
In the afternoons, I bid them goodbye.
They wave at me and say, “Bye, Teacher! See you tomorrow!”
Even if I got mad at them that day.
Even if I scolded them for their bad behavior.
Even if I frowned at their mistakes.
Even if I shot them a bad look for not listening.
Or even if I made them cry when they hurt a classmate and they did not want to apologize.
At the end of the day, they smile, wave, and bid me goodbye.
With all the love and innocence of a child.
They’re teaching me more than I am probably teaching them.
To be honest, it’s bittersweet to think about those moments.
Maybe I am doing something right.
But at the same time, I know they will walk away and move on. They will grow up.
I can only hope, then, that I’ve done enough for them to grow up to be good people.
Of course I smile.
Another day is over and I can start again.
No matter how hard, how difficult and how stressful.
Their wins become my wins, no matter how small.
Their losses become my losses, and I push them to stand up and wipe the tears away so we can start over.
The day before, a parent came up to me and said, “Teacher, thank you kasi kita naman namin na natututo talaga ‘yung anak namin sa klase niyo. May pagbabago talaga.” (Teacher, thank you because we really see that our kid really learns in your class; we have really noticed a change in our child.)
I felt like I just dismantled a nuclear bomb and was getting a Nobel Peace Prize for it.
Teaching, truly teaching, is indeed an act of love.
When the going gets tough and I just want to chuck all of it,
I’m reminded of days like this and I love some more.
It never fails.
Then, I can still smile and say, “Good afternoon, Class. Today is a great day to learn, isn’t it?”
I can only be thankful that I’m given so many days – and chances – to love.
Regina Grace Pasion, 22, graduated from De La Salle University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology in 2012. She is one of seven Fellows currently teaching in Holy Spirit Elementary School.