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  • Writer's pictureAce Gapuz

Thank you, Teachers! (10 Memories From My 19 Years In School)

I don't know exactly when Teachers' Day is (Google-d and saw that it's October 5 here in the Philippines), but I recently saw this post while scrolling through my Facebook feed:

This post became viral as a lot of people were reposting it and adding their own versions of stories. I thought I might as well participate, but I really have so many lines and memories that I remember of my previous teachers, so I'm making a blog instead!

I've been in school for a total of 19 years (OMG I just realized!)

- Nursery in Divine Mercy Learning Center (1 year)

- Prep A to Grade 6 in School of the Holy Spirit (8 years)

- 1st year to 4th year High School in Quezon City Science High School (4 years)

- 1st year to 4th year College in Ateneo de Manila University (4 years)

- Master of Business Administration in University of the Philippines Diliman (2 years) you bet I will have A WHOLE LOT of memorable lines from the many teachers I had, but in the interest of making this blog short and interesting, I just chose the best 10.

1. "Businessmen always collect early and pay late!" - Mr. Darwin Yu, Acc20, 2nd year College

He meant managing cash flow is important in a business and cash is still king, and so as much as you can hold on to your cash, hold on to it (and hence, pay not earlier than due date) and collect your receivables the earliest you can (to increase cash flow). I wasn't the best student in accounting (heck I struggled and had to enroll in special tutorial classes just to pass -- as in I got a D) but this was the most important lesson I learned. This lesson has proven to be so useful!

2. "You have to remember: present, past, past participle. Run, ran, run. Come, came, come." - Mrs. Leticia Abubo, Language, Grade 4/5

I really have to give her credit for my English (and blame her for being such a grammar nazi, which made me one as well). Mrs. Abubo was super strict with us and would always correct every tiny detail whenever we would have written exercises. It was an achievement when you get your paper back with very few red marks. Really stuck with me is this: has/had/have + past participle. LOL

I remember we would have regular exercises in spelling (the words were challenging) and so I really recall myself buying a pocket dictionary and familiarizing myself with so many uncommon words so I could get perfect in the spelling quizzes! (Yes guys I was super competitive even when I was little.)

3. "You have to be like Karen! Look at her: she's active, so talented, she's very studious! Why can't you be like her?" - Ms. Remedios Filio, Grade 5 class adviser

Ms. Filio was referring to our grade school batch valedictorian, Karen Garcia (now Terol). I remember, she would always compare me with Karen because Karen was the ideal student every teacher dreams of! She was "proper" in all ways you can think of: her mom was active in the PTA, she was in so many school plays, she's the batch leader during our field demo dance performances. I, on the other hand, was your average student who didn't want any extra curriculars -- I thought of clubs as unnecessary work!

I was the top girl of our section in 5th grade (woohoo Grade 5 Perlas!), but if you knew me back then, my behavior was so uncharacteristic of a class topnotcher. I would always have small bags because I didn't bring stuff home (I would almost always finish my homework in school so I can forget school after dismissal time) and my group of friends were the maangas and popular girls in the batch (think Mean Girls!). I was very satisfied with my grades and I practically breezed through all the school work (I also won a couple of math championship titles for the school, ha!) but in hindsight, I think Ms. Filio must have thought that my attitude back then would be a hindrance to my success.

In some ways she's both right and wrong. When I was in 5th grade I hated her so much and she's made me cry a lot of times (to the point that my mom actually had to get the attention of school authorities!), but now I realize she must have been comparing me with Karen and encouraging me to be like her because Karen's attitude when we were young had the makings of a successful adult (and probably, my attitude back then was nowhere near that).

Rest in peace, Ms. Filio. I hope you are proud of what I have become. :)

4. "The world will always be unkind, but this only makes you strong and builds your character. Never let the world dictate what you should think of yourself." - Mrs. Celeste Buendia-Adriano, Grade 6 adviser

I remember Mrs. A (that's what we call her) and I would have regular letter-writing sessions, where she would write me letters of advice and I will write back with very personal things about myself and how things were like at home, all my heart poured out in writing. I didn't know exactly why and how we started that, but those letters helped me understand how adults think: that life is not easy but there are people everywhere who love you and are willing to carry your load with you -- you only have to be open and ask.

I was always the strong one, but those letters from Mrs. A made me realize that there are certain people whom you can be your messy, flawed, vulnerable self with, and you'll be loved just the same.

5. "Alam ng mga teachers niyo ang ginagawa niyo; 'wag kayong papahalata!" ("Your teachers know what you're doing; don't be too obvious!") - Mr. Ian Allas, 3rd year High School adviser

This is one of the funniest that I remember! QueSci (where I studied) has this policy wherein starting from sophomore year, students are assigned to sections based on academic ranking (the top students of the batch based on grades alone were in Avogadro, the rest were in Becquerel, Curie, Darwin, Edison, Einstein, and Fleming respectively), except during freshman year when section assignments are random.

During our junior and senior years, my (then) friends and I were distributed among the first 4 sections, and so we would actually "help" one another out in exams -- I was in Avogadro (the "top" section) so we would help our other friends in the other sections: we would pass on to them the exam questions we remember, sometimes also have the answer key to quizzes we would take before them.

I don't know if we were actually caught or something, but I remember all of us were called by Sir Ian (we used to call him "Papi") for a pep talk. He was never mad, but when he called us for that session it felt like we were so doomed; he said the line above in the vernacular -- and we all burst out laughing. Hahaha!

Hay, Sir Ian. One of the coolest teachers ever!

6. "Ang tamang pagsasalin sa Filipino ng salitang 'aspect' ay hindi 'aspeto' kun'di 'aspekto'. Uulitin ko: 'aspekto' ang tama." ("The correct Filipino translation of the word 'aspect' is not 'aspeto' but 'aspekto'. I repeat: 'aspekto' is the correct word.") - Mr. Jelson Capilos, Fil 11, 1st year College

This really never left me ever since. More than all the tula and epiko and having to memorize "Ako ang Daigdig" in Fil11 class (where I first got my ego crushed, having gotten a final grade of C), this one is the top thing I learned from the class. I would silently judge people who say "aspeto" instead of "aspekto" and I always think highly of those who know that "aspekto" is the correct word.

Trivia: Sir Jelson is responsible for the acceptance and inclusion of the word "lowbat" in the Filipino dictionary! Yup, "lowbat" is now a recognized Filipino word! Cool, 'no?

7. "Proving in Geometry is common sense!" - Mrs. Carlota Liscano, Geometry I, 2nd year high school

Can I tell you about how much I struggled in Geometry class? I remember in 2nd year high school everything was so easy for me, except Geometry! As in it was so difficult, I had to find a tutor who will teach me how to prove geometric theorems! I know, super weird, because I was in the top section (presumably where all the bright students are) but I needed a tutor because I really, really found the subject difficult! I always carried the small green Geometry book with me, even slept with the book under my pillow (LOL). As in first time in my life that I felt dumb -- it was unbelievable! Geometry was the only thing I thought of!

I remember all my weekends in that quarter were spent somewhere in Tandang Sora/Visayas Ave., in a tutorial center where I would spent one-on-one sessions with a tutor and he will just teach me Proving. My mom had to pay 350 pesos per hour for the tutorial services. Grabe talaga!

But I guess everything paid off though, because my final grade in Geometry I was 99!!! This is super unforgettable because a friend and I actually fought about it -- he was a real math kid, the type that the school will send to international math competitions, and he couldn't believe we had the same final grade, so he went to the teacher to question my grade. As in he really went ballistic because he couldn't believe I was able to achieve it. Hahaha!

8. "Always use black ballpen!" - Mr. Ramon Lorenzo, Trigonometry, 3rd year High School

When I was still in high school, I very rarely used other brands or colors of pens. My favorite pen was the Pilot G-Tec 0.4mm in color blue; it was the only pen I remember using throughout high school, I never write not using it.

And so when I was in junior year, Mr. Lorenzo in our Trigo class would always, always remind me to use black ballpen when I'm in his class. The first few times I remember insisting (because WHY, using blue pens is harmless anyway and what matters is what we write, not the pen that we use), but then I gave in later on -- I still used my favorite Pilot G-Tec pen, still in 0.4mm pt but now in black. That pen, I would only use in Trigo class. *grin*

Until now, I still don't know why he was very particular with black pens back then!

9. "'Wag mag-te-text sa klase!" ("Don't text in class!") - Mr. PJ Strebel, Philo 101, 3rd year College

Back in my junior year, I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to study in Australia for the Junior Term Abroad (JTA) program of my school. Because of this, we had to take subjects ahead of the regular semesters, sometime with erratic schedules (very early morning or late at night). If my memory serves me right, my Philosophy class with Mr. Strebel was at 12:00-1:30PM, an ungodly hour when everyone just tends to be sleepy because of a long break after a 7:30AM class.

Back then, I was involved in a romantic relationship with someone not from my school, and so I would just entertain myself by texting him instead just so I won't fall asleep in class. I was an A student in Mr. Strebel's class, so I felt that I was entitled to a special pass as regards this policy. I was so surprised (and extremely embarrassed) that he raised this in class one day. I felt really humbled and apologetic; how could I have done that to a professor I truly respect and admire?

Wala lang; I had to include this because Philo was one of my favorite subjects in college and Mr. Strebel is someone I respect so much. Sorry again, Sir! I really can't forget that I did this in your class. You don't deserve that kind of behavior. :(

10. "Never wear shorts and slippers to class!" - Fr. Adolfo Dacanay, SJ, Th131, 3rd year College

Very few Ateneans will have the opportunity to be under the tutelage of the one and only Fr. Dacanay in Theology class. Long before the John Gokongwei School of Management had a dress code, Fr. Dacanay already had us dressing up "decently" for his class: no sleeveless/spag straps, mini skirts/shorts, and strapless sandals for women, no sleeveless, shorts, and slippers for men. I remember a blockmate of mine actually forgot that we had a class with Fr. D that day so he came to school in shorts, and so when we entered the room he was immediately sent out by Fr. D because he was "naked" in his eyes!

This taught me that so much can be said about you by the way you dress up, so always dress up well.


What about you, what lines and memories from your teachers do you remember fondly? :)

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