Photo Credit: Ma'am Avelina Manio,

Remember elementary days? The days when you started to endure five hours or more of classes? The days you first feel the thing called ‘love’? The days you realized that there are more than three subjects? And the days before the dark times of chemistry and calculus?

 The whole world of elementary school came to me when I turned six years old. Lots of harmony and clash of other human relations that you can only find in an elementary classroom struck me. Here are some breeds of students that I’ve found in our room with their codenames:

·         Jun Jun– the students you can’t ignore because they didn’t just use their mouth only to get attention, boy they use all their God-given means of communication. They raised their hands when it’s recitation time even though they didn’t know the answer or understand the question. They hug everybody and attempt to kiss everybody except their Crush. But still, they are the most lovable of all the students regardless of the design of their faces, because they make everybody wake up, live and laugh.

·         Carmina – mostly girls, they believe that they don’t have any trace of Adam’s sins in their veins so they don’t let anything dirty touch their skin. We have water bottles; they have alcohols. They look at their mirror more times they look at the board and they have bunch of make-up kit with weird names that we can’t spell. Whenever the topic of the class touched cleanliness or good grooming, our teacher will point to them.
·         Leo – there’s a weird phenomenon in most Grade 1 classes, the only talent that is recognized by all is the ability to draw. “Wow! How did you draw this, amazing!” Students just can’t stop praising the ability of the artists who can draw and doesn’t need to explain what they draw. “That’s Son Goku! That’s Eugene!” Instead of class notes, the notebook of these students are full of drawings.
·         Jay – the ‘gifted’ we called them. Students who have perfect scores in all quizzes (and would blame themselves all day if they miss one point). The trusted checker of paper of other students. The final authority of all of us when we can’t answer the teacher’s question. They can read English, when the majority of us are still learning to pronounce correctly the “A ba ka da”. How did they learn all of their knowledge? I have no idea but I admired them. Some are socially awkward, but there are some who are more balanced. On every class officer election, they don’t have any choice but to be voted.
·         Boy – they think that they are the protagonist of the whole class with their oozing egos but the whole class think that they are the antagonist that must be avoided. Bullying silent students are their hobbies, always waiting for an opportunity to declare that they are worthy of praise and admiration of all the good looking girls. In reality, they are very unsecure of themselves because of poor upbringing, but we’re too young to understand the concept, we just elude them.
·          Chris – they may not be good in class but they are the best in P.E. They can run faster than us. Climb trees like a monkey, throw balls like a professional and dance like they are in Hollywood. Good in P.E. means more tired, so they slept frequently in academic classes especially in Math.
·         Tom – they are silent …. And I can’t find any information about them because they are very silent.
·         Ann – when God created us, do you think that others are favored? If you said no, I challenge you to enter a Grade 1 class and you’ll find that only two or three students have pretty faces and the majority of faces seems just like the product of evolution. Students who are beautiful are respected even by the bullies, and they are the automatic muse and escort of the class.

There are more breeds of students that you’ll find in a Grade 1 class but I believe you’ve got my point – children with different personalities in one room is much harder to manage than group of cats. Which is harder, managing a multinational company or a Grade 1 class? I can’t answer the question fully but I admire more the people who daily face the latter task.

Where would you get all the patience to manage those kids with clashing personalities and five seconds attention span to any topic? How can you teach them to read or appreciate the importance of it when all they want to do is to watch TV? How can you correct explain the meaning of true love to a two kids who fall in love with each other? I think it’s much easier to create an Android app than do that.

Teachers of elementary school have this kind of burden every day that is unknown to Web designers, engineers, cook, driver or musicians. They don’t just stand there and teach, they conquer mountains of noise, rivers of distractions and oceans of irrelevant questions like “Ma’am, do you think Andres Bonifacio can beat Cell?”

I don’t know if my elementary teachers will ever lead this post but I’m very grateful for all their efforts and generous hearts to teach a kid like me. If I can express my gratefulness more than saying the words “Thank you very much”, I would do so.  

The influence of our first teachers are more profound than one hundred elementary textbooks because it’s filled with love and highest dose of patience than anyone can give.


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