Thriller Overseas

“Get a life! See new places! Meet new people! Indulge in extreme adventure!” These are just few of the litanies I often hear from others who tend to be dismayed upon knowing my profession. I couldn’t help but smile for a second and then suppress the laughter which is about to escape from my lips as I looked at their aghast reaction. It’s as if I told them that the Earth’s shape is no longer oblate spheroid but turned out to be rectangular in form. Their seemingly pessimistic view regarding teaching made me dwell in this thought, “What’s wrong with being a teacher?”

To most people, to be a teacher equates to boredom simply because of the monotonous nature of the job. They might have considered teaching as a totally dreary profession wherein you have to prepare the undying lesson plans again and again until your retirement days, and wherein you have to bear six to eight hours of confinement within the four walls of the classroom dealing with the children’s individual differences. Yes, teaching may sound deadly drab by merely glancing at those said features of the job. What people failed to see is the extraordinary wonder behind every facet of being an educator which makes it a thrilling pursuit.

I would not have proven that becoming a teacher is not as dry as what most people thought of until I started teaching at a public elementary school in an upland barangay. For nearly four years of teaching at the mountains, an unexpected realization occurred to me – the thrill accompanying the extreme rides offered by amusement parks is nothing compared to the adrenaline rush brought by the experiences I came across with as I traverse the land and sea to reach my work station. Going to school appears to be an obstacle course for me to surpass. During tough times of traveling by sea, I have to endure the raging waves and whistling wind as I sat still in the motorboat together with other teachers who are attempting hard not to lose their composure. The roller coaster-like ride comes to a halt for teachers assigned in coastal barangays the moment they get off from the boat, but we, teachers stationed in the upland area embark on another adventure.

By the time I’ve gotten away from the fury of the sea, the next challenge for me is to keep going by means of a habal habal on the rugged road leading to the school where I teach. If not for teaching, I wouldn’t have known what a habal habal is. For the benefit of those who are not familiar with this kind of vehicle, let me do the honour of revealing that it is simply a motorcycle. Traveling on land becomes too difficult particularly during rainy weather. As the habal habal moves its way against the muddy and slippery road, I would just imagine that I’m in a chaotic chocolate factory where the chocolate mixture spilled over the floor. Thinking of such silly thing relieves me from the tension creeping inside my system triggered by the unpleasant condition of the path that I’m taking.

I may have gone through a stomach churning journey to school, yet I know it’s worth the agony. To see my pupils racing excitedly to meet me and carry my baggage while cheerfully saying, “Good morning, Teacher!” seems to revive my waning vitality. These simple acts of thoughtfulness from the children can melt away the discomforts of a teacher.

At this point, is being a teacher still boring? The aforementioned glimpses on the life of a teacher in far- flung areas can attest to the opposite of the common conceptions of many people concerning the teaching profession. “Get a life!”  That’s what they say to a teacher as though engaging in such work is lifeless. As I see it, you can make more out of your life through teaching. You don’t have to go far to marvel at the splendour of foreign places. Being a teacher in places where one might have thought civilization doesn’t exist is a gateway to be exposed to new place, faces, and adventure. No matter how long a teacher may have been teaching in a rural community, that place will remain to be as new as it is before because of the unique experiences unlikely to be found in the urban area.

May I ask again? Is being a teacher really boring? Try becoming a teacher overseas, be it along the coast or up on the mountains, and see for yourself the thriller that will relinquish the word “boredom” from your vocabulary.

Owned and Published by Myla C. Ogaya