Latest Stories

A teacher forever


I had the wonderful privilege of having another career before becoming a full-time teacher. This gave me a very good view of the great divide between teaching and the other professions.

I am as passionate about my previous profession as I am about teaching, and I certainly believe there is nobility in every profession. But there is something about teaching that gives that certain high—and low—that can only be explained by actual experience.

What is a teacher?

I would like to answer that question with a true story.

In my first advisory class, I had this unmotivated pupil who had been “branded” with a big loser sign on his head. He would clam up every time he was called and would not even stand up for simple recitations.

I discovered pretty soon that even the significant people around him would intone words that did nothing but bring this pupil down.

Well, I am not a master teacher and I cannot claim to be really, really good at teaching. And, heck, it was my first time, at an age when I was supposed to be “enjoying the fruits of my labor.”

But I had this burning desire to make this child realize that he could be someone, that he was not a loser. A good start, I assured myself. I needed gumption to see me through.

So every day we worked on his academics and his “self-appreciation.” We went through several exercises together and many emotional moments of high fives and quiet back taps just to assure ourselves we were on the right track.

Sometimes, it got really exhausting and, for many months, there was that feeling of futility, but just the same we plodded on together and hoped for the best.

Then came a big chance for us to assess what he had learned.

A competition was held and the first miracle happened—he was one of the finalists. Wow! It was a really big deal and, for me, already a big win.

Nobody imagined he would get into the finals. Even more unbelievable—he came in fourth!

What a wonderful feeling—so wonderful I cried.

So melodramatic, many would say. But I know a lot of teachers who, had they the same experience, would have felt the same way. Maybe not by crying  openly as I did, but I am sure in the silence of an empty room they would have cried for joy.

A teacher’s mind believes. A teacher’s heart perseveres. A teacher’s love transforms.

Professional regulation groups may be able to measure the intellectual competence of a teacher. But who can really see the depths of a teacher’s heart, the intensity of a teacher’s passion and the sincerity of a teacher’s intention?

Passion lets the teacher see beyond weaknesses and limitations. Intention gives the teacher the power to empower other people.

I will probably go into another field yet again—who knows? But the part of my life that I spent teaching is something that I will never forget.

I guess I will be a teacher forever.

Ruth Fernandez Yap is head teacher at UCCP-Anabu Christian School in Imus, Cavite. She homeschools her own children.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Learning , teacher , teaching

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  2. Chinese lawyers say they were tortured by police
  3. Hair salon’s Kim Jong Un poster riles embassy
  4. Siquijor ‘healer’: For every cure, there’s a plant
  5. State seeks guilty verdict for Abalos
  6. Why college grads end up in the PNP
  7. Estrada: I will pray for my detractors
  8. Miraculous image makes Gapan City top site for pilgrimage in Central Luzon
  9. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  10. Five men from Cavite found dead in jeep in Batangas
  1. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  2. MH370 co-pilot made mid-flight phone call – report
  3. Netizens cry: 6/55 Lotto was rigged
  4. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  5. ‘Wife of Jesus’ theory papyrus not fake – Harvard study
  6. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  7. Gay college instructor arrested for oral sex with student
  8. ‘King’ Yabut and I: Driver bares Makati dad ‘abuses’
  9. It was difficult having Japanese blood
  10. Palace: We can’t blame increase in population on Vitangcol
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Pork payoffs to newscasters Erwin Tulfo, Del Prado, others bared
  4. UP back on top as ‘average’ student aces bar
  5. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  6. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  7. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  8. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  9. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  10. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’


  • 20 killed as Islamic extremists rampage in Nigeria
  • Drug firm Novartis to help Leyte firefighter
  • Fears grow for hundreds missing in South Korea ferry capsize
  • Robot sub makes first complete search for plane
  • uFly fires flight simulator who appeared on CNN
  • Sports

  • Federer would skip tennis to be with wife, newborn
  • Manny Pacquiao in PBA? If so, he’ll wear No. 17
  • PSC sets Blu Girls US training
  • Power Pinoys settle for 7th place
  • Successful coaches to get raise
  • Lifestyle

  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • This is not just a farm
  • Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  • Moist, extra-tender blueberry muffins
  • Entertainment

  • Jay Z to bring Made in America music fest to LA
  • Why Lucky has not bought an engagement ring for Angel
  • Derek more private with new girlfriend
  • ‘Community’ star happy with return of show’s creator
  • Jealousy is kid stuff
  • Business

  • PH presses bid to keep rice import controls
  • PSEi continues to gain
  • Number of retrenched workers rose by 42% in ’13
  • PH seen to sustain rise in FDIs
  • Gov’t subsidies to state firms fell in first 2 months
  • Technology

  • DOF: Tagaytay, QC best at handling funds
  • Smart phone apps and sites perfect for the Holy Week
  • Tech company: Change passwords or suffer ‘Heartbleed’
  • Filling the digital talent gap
  • SSS to shut down website for Holy Week
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • Japan says visa-free entry still a plan
  • First Fil-Am elected to Sierra Madre, Calif. city council
  • UC Irvine cultural night to dramatize clash of values in immigrant family
  • Filipino sweets and info served at UC Berkeley Spring Fest
  • Milpitas, California kids wrap up a successful run of ‘The Wiz’
  • Marketplace