Forward, the Light Brigade!
IT’S THE weekend once again and as always let me tone down the seriousness of this section of our daily paper by veering away from politics just for our weekend issue.
Let me share to you then one of my fondest memories while I was still a teacher to give you a glimpse of what a typical teacher juggles in his or her profession.
I always believe that the best of my students come out from unguarded moments. Creativity always springs out of freedom. This is why I never dictate my students or play strict.
Yet I found myself in such shoe on one unforgettable occasion. It started with my frustrations over how a few of my students ruined our sponsored school program by showing up on the day of the presentation without practice. What made it worse was that they never felt a bit of guilt or remorse for the injustice they had done to those who worked so hard to master the steps only to look silly on stage.
As a teacher I could just not let it go. Good thing there was another upcoming competition which I took as an opportunity to let them experience teamwork and learn from it. I knew that if they could just taste a sense of victory over something they work so hard for, then perhaps they will see teamwork in a better light. My only fear was that if they fail then they might end up just giving up on those values. Losing was therefore not an option, or at least just at that specific competition.
I was aiming for a miracle, they were known to be the worst class in their batch; with only two days to practice we were bound to fail. But I’m a believer. With all factors considered there was only one way to pull it off; tyranny.
I tell you it was not a pleasant road. I was hated. But as they slowly saw how they have improved in their practices, they began to own it. By the second day, they wanted to taste
victory more than I do. Then their ideas started to come out; from costumes to movement, and before I knew it I have made tyrants out of them. They were stricter than I was during practice. They couldn’t tolerate mediocrity anymore from best. At their that classmates. point, I knew They my did part not was settle over. for less than their
On the day of the competition, the tension built up, the anticipation grew, and even I who have witnessed these things year in and year out could not help but get excited. I was dead quiet as I waited for their turn to present.
Then the lights turned off. The stage went pitch-black. For a few seconds, there was absolute silence. Lights turned back and suddenly Carlos appeared from nowhere running towards the center, took a halt, looked behind to signal everyone, then shouted from the top of his lungs “Forward, the Light Brigade!”
We won! The only non-honors class who won in the history of that competition. I was sure that such victory was a defining moment for them. It made them realize that if they put their focus on a certain task, everything is possible.
Since then, their grades improved and their confidence boosted. They have learned to behave as well. I’m sure they will not win all the time and they will have their shares of failures too as we do. But I hope that when challenges come their way, they will remember that victory and be confident enough to shout “Forward, the Light Brigade!”*