Achy-breaky Mentor

Oct 3, 2017 | Uncategorized

By Yay Padua-Olmedo

Whew! What a roller coaster ride.

This current school term has just been a blur of preparing lesson schemes, Powerpoint lectures, assignments, and exams; a whirlwind of class discussions, workshops, students’ presentations; and agonizing exam/assignment checking.

I love teaching.

My spirit has always been willing, but this time around, my senior self―aka, aching knees, forgetfulness episodes, impatience often rearing its ugly head―unfurled the red flag, cautioning me to slow down, go easy, and take each day as it came, otherwise…

So here I am singing alleluia as each of my subjects winds down and anticipate a well-deserved vacation. It’s only been by God’s amazing grace, wisdom and strength that this achy-breaky mentor still stands.

It’s been a school term of firsts, as far as this teacher is concerned:

  • My first time to handle a string of subjects and levels, from senior high to college undergrad to post-graduate (MBA).
  • My first to teach quite a number: 62 students all in all.
  • My first attempt at different, and creative, assignment and exam configurations, because I would have drowned in a hurricane of words and unintelligible essays―which would take me forever to make sense of―if I insisted on traditional coursework outputs.

Too, I learned to let go, giving my students more leeway to explore more information and concepts, but mindful that as a teacher, I must impose boundaries so that their curiosity doesn’t bring them to the edge where radical ideas may poison them.

I pray my students have learned and gained wisdom in the process.

I pray too I’ve helped them be refined―that their character went through some molding, stretching, even breaking, and with a lot of aha moments besides.

Did I discipline them enough, reminded them of the consequences if they slackened?

“Smug!” I’ve at one point sternly told one group.

I waited for repentance, but got this chorus instead, “Ms., what does smug mean?”

“Look it up in the dictionary,” I replied rather smugly too.

Anyway, next time, they were more considerate.

It was a learning overload for me too! Just like a caffeine fix on IV (intravenous) drip perennially pumped into my veins. Some nights I spent just concocting strategies to engage them.

Miracles indeed happen in the classroom.

Where I struggled most were our discussions on family struggles—domestic violence, divorce, abortion and the LGBT culture―on the subject, “Understanding Culture, Society, and Politics”.

To put a closure on the different ideas that were almost flying off the handle, I put to use my Christian faith, sharing with them biblical truths as anchors for right living.

One of my biggest realizations: special kids are special indeed! I prepared a special exam for my special student Ana*. She insisted on taking my original exam and got an even higher grade than her other supposedly “normal” classmates.

Miracles indeed happen in the classroom. Some may take longer to gestate―like students who may bungle it again and again, but shape up later. But many changes happen right in front of me.

That’s why I love teaching. Thank you, Jesus, for being my teacher.

*Not her real name
Yay believes that her purpose as a Christian is to become salt and light where God has placed her. Aside from teaching Marketing, Advertising and Public Relations at Southville Foreign University in Las Pinas City, Philippines, she conducts motivational and business seminars and write inspirational materials. You can visit her blog at

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