September 28 is Confucius Day.
This has been officially observed as Teacher’s Day in Saint Jude Catholic School (SJCS) where I taught for 18 years. And at this span of time as an educator in a Chinese-Filipino school, I tried very hard to be convinced that the yellow race is innately generous and grateful.
Uprooting myself from the institution whom I’d stay indebted to for its role in molding me into the teacher that I am today, I could say that I had the luck of encountering Chinese people who helped me completely erase my little prejudice toward them. Proof of this is my allowing myself to still communicate with them (irregular it may be) even after my early retirement from SJCS. Thanks to Facebook, I had the chance of reconnecting with former students. Confirmation of their invite though was “by choice.” A careful one. At this time when identity theft is rampant, it’s better to be wary of whom we accept in our social media account.
So, it was in Facebook, where I was reminded of the Teacher’s Day celebration last Thursday. A former colleague posted a greeting on her wall in the morning, and one of my students from the last advisory class I handled in 2010 greeted me in my inbox. Both elicited a smile. I had a fast rewind of this event which was looked forward to by this SVD community beside the Malacanang compound. Majority of these memories are indeed worth reminiscing. Then, I went on with my afternoon routine on my non-teaching day when fetching time for my three sons came. The noisy barking of our three dogs in unison stopped my track when I was about to enter our bedroom. Thinking that our “royal sentinels” again saw stray dogs passing by, I didn’t go out of the main door to check. Until I heard the sound of a metal striking our gate and a male voice shouting “Tao po!” It made me finally go out of our house to receive the biggest and most touching surprise in the month of September.
Asking who the sender was, I knew who they were when the courier replied that there was no person’s full name on the transaction receipt. I recognized the business name upon seeing it and remembered it’s the third time that I became a recipient of this genuine expression of thoughtfulness, kindness and love after all these years.
For a moment, I was at a loss for words. My feeling was beyond joy and thankfulness.
Who would ever think that up to now, the Tan family has not forgotten me? Who would expect that Alfred, Abegail, Angelica, and their parents would remember one Mrs. Gines on Teacher’s Day amidst their busyness?
Honestly, I still couldn’t find the real answer. However, I could always surmise that good karma struck again.
Whatever I had done to the Tan siblings’ lives when they were my students and even after they had finished their basic education was something this family has appreciated endlessly. But fact is, the support, motivation and empowerment they got from me were no different from what I have been extending to all my students.
Really, I am in awe with their benevolence but humbled! To this point, it’s not surprising that they’ve been constantly favored. Alfredulla, their family-owned business has been doing well locally and internationally. Adding to this is for Mr. and Mrs. Alfredo Tan Sr. to have very successful but unpretentious children despite being all London-schooled. I share in their parents’ immense pride for what they have attained and become for this is one of the simple consolations of a teacher.
I thank God for the Tan family.
I thank God for making me a teacher.