[This is a complete update of Confessions 8 since I’m not too happy with how it came out. I also stripped the “Confession” label from this entry. It’s something else completely.]
It’s never easy ending a school year. You look back at the whole ten months to see what it all means but it’s still far away in the future when you know whether you’ve made a difference or not.
These are my thoughts as I ended my classes with the most honest speech I’ve ever given. This is a behind the scenes look at that speech I only wrote notes for, and composed as I went along.
Written on the evening of March 2, Friday…
Classes ended today and here is a prelude I missed in my final words: I don’t believe in goodbyes. Especially to people.
When you say goodbye, you’ll only end up missing that person. And when you miss, that only means there is something incomplete between you, and this opens up images of things that could have been.
I rather believe in making the most of the time you have together. That way you always end up remembering the times you have shared, and there lingers the feeling that you wouldn’t have it any other way.
I’ve learned this from saying goodbye to too many people in my life. Since then I’ve promised myself that I would spend more time with the people who matter in my life. And when the time comes for us to part ways, there will be no goodbyes. Just a thank you.
I ended my classes with a speech. It’s neither original nor creative, but I hope I have more than made up for it in what I said. I left them with my answer to the question, “Do I believe that I live in a society that can make my dreams happen?”
I won’t retype my speech here because it is something for them alone. But the answer is a definite yes. My dream is to make a difference in the society I live in, in whatever way I can. But perhaps, I left out mentioning my inspiration for that dream, and this is something you’ll read exclusively here.
I wish to make a difference in our society because of you.
From the moment I stepped in the Philippine Science High School, I knew I met those who I would forever dedicate my life to. Because, quite frankly, they saved me. Every single one of my students, from the ’07 who are graduating this year, to the ’08 who I care for too much, and to the ’09 who brought out the best in me — you have all given me something to live for.
And thus it is my hope that I get to pay you back. You have given me a future I could dream into, and I would wish you to have nothing less.
Our society needs us, ladies and gentlemen, but considering I have several years ahead of you, I’ll go ahead. I hope you have learned enough from me, as I have from you. In class we have opened eyes, minds and hearts.
Now, it’s time to open up the possibilities.
I wish you luck in your own journeys. We’re all just getting started.
While delivering my finale speech, I realized several things.
First, I consider myself lucky to be a teacher who can afford to teach. Thus, I have no excuse to not teach well. To whom much is given, much is expected. And growing up, I have felt that I have been given everything I needed and wanted; thus, I give no less than everything in my teaching. I dedicate my entire being to my work.
Second, it is my personal business to make a difference. While I don’t have any benchmarks to determine whether I have succeeded now, I have faith in my students and hope for the future. My subject is social studies, and looking at how societies change and develop is our mandate. Thus, it would be an irony if we would never contribute to making our country a better place.
And lastly, I don’t plan to teach forever. I have reached that stage in my life where I realize that I can teach forever if I wanted to. And that in that forever, I can reach out to the youth and perhaps inspire them to go beyond themselves. But I wouldn’t want to be age 40 when I look back and think of what else I could have done with my life. I would tell my students to ‘go beyond’, but what about me? Thus I have made up my mind to leave at a certain time to pursue a different path.
I plan to go into government and public service. I’ve always talked about changing the world and I plan to do just that. People keep on complaining about government but they never do anything about it. And I’ve been a harsh critic at times, so I’ll put my money where my mouth is.
My years teaching in the PSHS have helped me realize that I can do anything as long as I put my heart into it. That is how I’m built. My encounter with our country’s youth — its future — has given me much to live for.
I continue to hope in the future because I know they will be there.
And it is this thought that I have at the end of the year which inspires me to carry on. Endings have always made me. It’s a good time to ask, “What more is there?” And life is the process of answering that question.