I never imagined my love affair with writing would be renewed.
My passion for writing developed when I became associate editor of our high school paper. Every time I finished a sensible write-up, I felt a sense of joy and fulfillment that was hard to describe.
My desire to write—creative or journalistic—was ignited.
However, as a college student, numerous challenges came, responsibilities were amplified and other priorities lessened my zeal for writing. I even had no time to contribute to our student publication. It seemed that the precious creative juices I needed to write were gone.
My focus was my academic career path—to be a teacher. No more school paper writing, only serious internalization of the wonders of the teaching profession.
I was blessed to get a permanent teaching position at my alma mater. Being a neophyte Grade 2 teacher, it was a complete culture shock handling uniquely challenging pupils. But that did not stop me from wanting to make a difference.
I never ceased researching and interviewing seasoned teachers on how they handled their classes and kept them orderly. After a never-ending and untiring search for perfect classroom management styles, dealing with the children became a piece of cake.
But just when I was becoming comfortable being a primary grade teacher, my principal gave me a new assignment. The journalism teacher of our school was about to retire and she wanted me to take over.
I had a very vivid flashback of my love affair with writing.
My principal had a lot of faith that I could be an effective school paper adviser. I could not fail her. That was the thought running in my mind that day.
I was aware that the journalism program in our school was not that good. The young journalists rarely won contests and the school paper seldom received recognition. And my principal wanted me to take charge?
I had mixed emotions. It was bittersweet knowing I would leave my precious pupils and coteachers on our grade level. There was also a feeling of excitement. It seemed I was going to prove that love was sweeter the second time around. My love for writing was rekindled.
My first year as a journalism teacher was a blast. For the first time in our school’s history, our school paper received two national awards. My young campus journalists also won awards.
Some may call it beginner’s luck but for me it was divine intervention. Indeed, God will never take us where His grace will not bless us.
I keep telling my young writers that campus journalism is not about winning or being popular in school. It is more about developing their creativity in a way that they are able to stimulate thought, create awareness and issue a call for action.
I always encourage them to indulge their passion for writing because it will lead them to the path that they have been dreaming of.
Joann S. Aquino is a Grade 6 teacher at Fernando Maria Guerrero Elementary School in Paco, Manila.