I remember my first day in high school. I had a hard time adjusting to the new environment. I was accustomed to seeing the color green, and now all of a sudden, all I see is pink. I remember looking at the vandalized walls and damaged chairs. I remember my classmate narrating to me: “When we took the IDS entrance exam, I pointed at this building and remarked at how it looked like one of those UNESCO world heritage sites.
Ancient. I didn’t know this was the school building I enrolled in. I remember missing the beautiful buildings of La Salle. I remember the gym, the volleyball girls, the soccer lawn, basketball court, open air auditorium, chapel. Heck, I even remember walking alone inside the spooky natural museum, looking at the preserved dead animals and the eerie fetus inside the jar, always keeping an eye out for where the door is in case one of these creatures sprung back to life.
I remember wanting to go back to Animo, because I felt that the place was a better learning environment than this small, pink location.
It’s like going back in time again, as I hear my first year students talking about the same complaints I had 11 years ago, when I was in their position. Back then, I kept the sentiments to myself and complained in private, perhaps a bit too wary that I might offend the feelings of others who felt otherwise. Some of my students tell me about wanting to transfer next year, raising their right arms with closed fists in recognition of their previous allegiance with the school that is closes to their hearts.
Honestly, an energy of sadness engulfs me every time I hear them say those things, but I try not to show it. I try to keep my perspectives fresh and open to all sorts of possibilities, and if any kind of burden ever presents itself which is related to the matter, I would rather attack that objectively and not emotionally. Still, I completely understand why they feel the way they feel.
There are several reasons; perhaps some of them are overwhelmed or underwhelmed with the new academic style, others may have missed their friends for 6, or even 9 years, others may have personal reasons which I can only begin to imagine.
I wish I can tell them about the pride of being an IDSian (until now, I’m still not sure about that name. Hornetians?). I wish I can get them to peer inside a glass box and see their future in case they choose to remain in this school for the next three years. Students, well equipped, well battered, straight out of the oven, fresh from a well-balanced beating that would leave them potentially calloused and ready to face any kind of challenge that tertiary education will throw back at them.
I wish to tell them, frankly, that from a general perspective, IDS is the best school in Mindanao. On the other hand, from a more general perspective, there are more important things in life than education and even everything that stems out as consequences of good education. Sometimes the heart dictates the unfathomable, and by sheer instinct, a person understands that she or he belongs somewhere. These decisions should be respected.
Whatever the decision of my students are, I will support them. 100 percent. I will try to keep in touch with them so that I can be within reach whenever I need them or they need me. I will celebrate changes.