I was in sixth grade when my mother tried to convince me to transfer to another school again. Since we moved to a new place in 1996, they had to transfer me to a school nearby in fourth grade. I wasn’t big on this whole transferring thing, having already established friendship with most people in my current school, I had no choice but to concur because their reason was deemed valid. There were two things considered into convincing me to agree to this: (1) the school was closer by from our new place, cutting our travel time to about 20 to 30 minutes; (2) my mother was promoted as regular teacher and it meant saving a whole lot if all her kids were enrolled in the same school.
In Summer 1999, I took entrance examinations on the said school. It was a lot smaller than the one I had left with no swimming pool nor a decent basketball court. The population was not as big, too, with only an average of 35 students per class as against 50 students per class in my previous school. During my interview with the Assistant Principal, she mentioned something about the possibility of having my mother as my teacher. I did not take this seriously, thinking there was a fat chance that this will likely to happen.
I was wrong.
My mother earned a degree in Secondary Education, Major in English, in the same university I graduated from. Upon graduation, she was invited to teach English at the College of Nursing in the university. She had a background in dealing with the awkward teenage years, so teaching in a high school setup should not be an issue. Teaching in college and high school, however, differ so much in terms of preparation of teaching materials. In high school, faculty members are expected to present a course syllabus every grading period which was a very tedious, time-consuming task.
I was completely dumbfounded when I knew that Mom will be my teacher in our Public Speaking subject. It was only elective, but having your own mother as a teacher was beyond imagination, not to mention that it was a course that requires you to speak in front of an audience. We only met once a week, but I dreaded this very awkward meeting every single time.
As a standard procedure, she introduced herself in our first meeting. Before we even become the talk of the town, she mentioned outright that I am her daughter. She warned everyone that in spite of our unusual setup, she will be fair and square by maintaining a typical student-teacher relationship in school. I was expected to address her as Ma’am instead of Mom within the school premises.
My mother was not at all kidding.
When in class, I made an effort in avoiding her gaze at all cost. At that time, I took being seated far from the aisle to my advantage. It also meant that I will not speak to my seatmate the whole one hour. This weekly encounter always got my hands cold and sweaty from fear. According to my mother, I would turn tomato red whenever she calls me for recitation. I do not usually have stage fright, but I nearly peed my pants every time.
Mom never allowed me to use her reference materials either. She kept all these and her class records in a safe so I will not see them. I was expected to go to the library to research on our homework just like everybody else and I did because it was the right thing to do. There were, of course, some students who did not believe this for I excelled in her class. Being the transparent school teacher that she was, my mother just gave me the grade that I deserved regardless of what other people might think.
Mothers are natural teachers. They are, in most cases, the key person in their children’s development. How they nourish their kids physically and emotionally will make or break their offspring. Awkward as it may seemed, I will forever be grateful for this unique experience because I witnessed the other side of Mom. Her dedication and attention to detail are exceptional, and her personal commitment to excellence makes me so proud of my mother.