Life with the Second-Stringers

Post date: Apr 25, 2018 2:59:19 AM

By: Carlot C. Orizar, BNHS

“A good teacher can inspire hope, ignite the imagination, and instill a love of learning”

-Brad Henry

With this quote in mind, I remember my teachers back in junior high, who were planning to teach in a public school. Back then I couldn’t understand the reason why their face cringed when they learned that they needed to teach in a lower section as newly hired teachers. I recalled one of them even saying that she might not survive for a year and hoping that she would not get the second-stringers.

Now, as a new teacher in a public school and given the task to handle the poorest section in grade 10, I quite understand their dilemma. Facing students that don’t even look straight in your eyes since they are always sleeping, students who straightforwardly embarrass you and will not do as you say and students who always hold their phones and not giving you a break in shouting. I was about to give up, however after a few weeks I realized that my students were not the problem, the problem was I who was not placing myself in their shoes and not listening to their silent cries.

Mingling with students in lower sections, I learned that they have various stories that we can’t even imagine what they are going through in their lives. A few of them are already working as the bread winner for their siblings since they have no parents to lean on, after school they will go straight to their work until dawn. Some students have their parents in prison and only leaving with their relatives who are abusing them. A student who always holds her phone has a low self esteem and keen on committing suicide thinking she can never be any match to anyone and she uses social media to post her emotions thinking her sobs will be recognized there.

Thus, we need to be keen enough to understand the reasons behind behaviors. Everything we do is motivated by something and understanding this motivation is key to reach them out. Our job is to try to discover what is motivating the behavior. Are they seeking attention? Do they feel insecure? Are there issues at home? Teachers need to be careful in disciplining the students we should not make a mountain out of a molehill.

To add more light into this, we need to be patient, compassionate, and understanding. I know this is easier said than done. But we need to take a moment to take a deep breath and calm our nerves to avoid unnecessary drama like blurting out unrefined and hurtful statements to the students. They don’t need chains they need a hand to hold onto.

Moreover, a teacher needs to facilitate and celebrate success. Create learning situations that allow students to succeed. Keep in mind success isn't always in the shape of an A. Success for some students can be a perfect C or just answering one challenging question in an exam.

Once a student gets a taste of success, they will want to experience it more and more. Teachers ensure to make a big deal out of each success, whether great or small.

Declaring that teaching is the noblest profession, we need to help these second stringers to maximize their ability and potential, give them courage and make them realize their dreams are bigger than the dilemmas that they are experiencing. They are just like precious gems that are waiting to be discovered. Thus, let us become an eye opener and stop giving labels.