Teaching is undoubtedly one of my heart's desires. More than a profession, it is a passion. Today, I want to share my unique experience teaching First Class Cadets of the Philippine Military Academy. In PMA, they are the graduating mammals who, in few months time will now become young officers of the armed forces. When I first taught in PMA, my very first challenge was to teach the plebes- the youngest, lowest mammals, and unfortunately the hardest to teach in the whole cadet corps. How could I forget my first day in class with the plebes. I almost ran home crying, culture shocked and desperately wanted to resign because 90 percent of the class was apparently dozing. There is so much difference teaching Plebes and teaching Immaculates (First Class), the stage alone is so much different. After more than three years of teaching in PMA, I have pretty much adjusted to its peculiar environment and practically dealt with every single cadet with patience and much tolerance. I have been teaching for the past 6 years now and I have never been so overwhelmed in my entire teaching life than now. My group of students now are far better than any other students I’ve ever had. During my first day in class with them, more than three months ago, I went to class with a tumbling cat in my stomach. I was nervous. At first I was a little bit intimidated knowing that in front of me was one of the brightest groups of students in the country. They were trained to think critically, decide wisely, argue effectively, and persuade fiercely. Their education is only a part and parcel of their great and challenging training. Their long and winding preparation to become leaders of the country does not only entail them to be good in class. Their education does not become well-rounded when they are not physically proficient. Their education does not become complete when they are unarmed with proper leadership skill which above all, is the most important part in molding them.
Our course is one of a kind because we deal with issues that are relevant and practical to the society. We deal with poverty, corruption, governance, globalization and other issues that are not anymore new to anybody but remain to be unsettled. We deal with development issues and analyze critical policies and programs whether these were successfully implemented or not. I am amazed every time they are given the chance to present or ask about their personal solutions to these seemingly endless societal problems. They have small creative ways to solve them. There were times in the past three months when I get intimidated because they have bright ideas but as a teacher, pride, more than anything else, dominated me. There were many times when I couldn't give them a concrete answer to their question because there's simply no answer to it. There were times when the answer to their question is more complicated than the question itself.. I'd often tell them that there are things and situations outside the portals of PMA that they can never understand no matter how intellectually gifted they are. I often tell them to use their hearts in answering these questions. I just simply leave the questions unanswered and allow them to discover the answers by experience. I saw them laugh but I also saw them cry at many situations not within their reach. I saw them argue yet I also saw them unite to provide solutions to emanating problems of the society. I saw some of them confused, yet I also saw them learning after wards. I saw them frown in disagreement yet I also saw them nod in agreement. All this brings me satisfaction after class. Seeing in them the different emotions of learning simply makes my day. In the advent of the issues surrounding PMA graduates, I still cannot help but be proud that I am a teacher of our future leaders. What they will exactly become in the future could not be defined while they are still with us in the Academy. What I am sure of today, is that they will go a long way in life.
My cadet-students would often make me dream when they say that someday in their Class would rise a Senator, a department Secretary or a President, which I strongly agree. They have all the potentials to be anybody. I just can’t help myself but be proud when this time happens.
Now I just have to wait and see how these gentlemen will become in the next two or three decades… Who knows…
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