Legit: teachers take the last sessions seriously. It’s the time we wax nostalgic, as if breaking up with a relationship, or retiring after eons, or folding our tents after an unforgettable summer camp. The thing that most students do not know is this: we care about you and we kind of wish that we have treated you better and we have offered golden nuggets you’d bring with you anywhere.
With the class suspension this Wednesday due to the foundation anniversary of our university, I felt like something was snatched from me. To the students I passed by this morning where I told them I was so happy the semester already ended for me, please know I am a pretty good liar at times.
Had there been one more hour for us, I would forsake one topic in our syllabus to thank the students, recollect the fun moments (especially the ridunkulous ones), reflect on why I spent the entire months mastering essential concepts, drop quotations by Kurt Vonnegut and Shakespeare, and wish the students will still remember me.
But I would not allow the world to blow up a chance for me to bid goodbye to my students, so I would do it in this space. In this post, I will compile my favorite moments in my class (using my memory) this semester, Wednesdays, 9:30 until 4:30.
To avoid libel charges on some racy contexts, I will be changing the names of my students.
So here goes:
Me: So it’s a fun U. Week, isn’t it?
Them: Yes Sir!
Me: So what did you win, College of Witchcraft and Wizardry?
Them: We’re over-all second-runner up Sir!
Me: Cool. But there are only four competing teams, right?
Them: Yes Sir!
Me: In other words, you’re second to the last.
Me: Guess what, class. Crispin followed me on twitter a week ago and until now I still can’t recover. He tweeted: Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none. All’s well that ends well, kiddos, he likes Shakespeare like I do. One more: on Crispin’s Twitter bio, he states, he’s an altar server. And I misread it. I thought he wrote alter server. Damn, altar server to alter server real quick!
I’m a good person
Me: I’m a good person because Immanuel Kant says so. But I find it hard to believe I am. For example: I have a stupid mouth and I curse a lot and I do not have any intention to change that. And I feel like I am a terrible teacher, because look at some people texting there while I’m proving a point. I mean, I’m not the best one, but I am definitely not stupid. I know what you are all doing at the back. It amazes me how students confidently feel teachers are stupid, that they can get away with misbehaviors. I mean, you can be not interested, kids, just don’t make it obvious.
Me: You know what class, things are mostly debatable. You may not approve of same sex marriage, or you may like the Philippine President. We have different positions, and they’re on opposite poles. Fine by me, we can talk about it. Okay lang. But in the process of environmental protection, it is downright anti-human to not be an advocate for it. Don’t be an anti-human.
Noisy student pt. 1
*I am explaining something while Cancer Sign 1 is too noisy talking with his classmates*
Me: Hey Cancer Sign 1! What are you talking about there? Any intelligent insights that need sharing?
Cancer 1: Nothing, sir.
Me: I felt disrespected. *silence in the class* You know what? Why don’t you transfer a seat and stop infecting your classmates with your noisiness? Sit at the other side of the room. *another silence* We will wait for you to transfer your bags so we can continue discussing. *another silence* Okay so where were we? Cancer Sign 1, talk to you later.
Noisy student pt. 2
Me: You know what, I feel so insulted that you aren’t listening to me while I try my very hard explaining something. I easily get distracted when someone is not paying attention, like anyone else. Would you explain to me why you are doing this?
Cancer Sign 1: Uhm, sorry sir. I was just talking and I was happy and I didn’t know I was loud.
Me: Do you think it was right to not listen to me and do your own thing?
Cancer Sign 1: No sir.
Me: Are you like that to other teachers? Those professors older than me?
Cancer Sign 1: No sir.
Me: So you already know why I got angry and pissed off at you?
Cancer Sign 1: Yes, Sir.
Me: Was it righteous for me to react that way?
Cancer Sign 1: Yes, Sir.
Me: Stop disrespecting me. Tell your friends to stop disrespecting me.
Cancer Sign 1: Yes, Sir.
Me: Okay, so from now on, your final seat will be on the other side.
Cancer Sign 1: Okay, Sir. I’m so sorry, Sir.
Me: Thank you.
Noisy student pt. 3
(Cancer Sign 2, who is Cancer Sign 1’s friend, is the last person who remain in the class)
Me: And you, Cancer Sign 2. Warning for you. You’re noisy as well.
Cancer Sign 2: Sir, I am not noisy.
Me: No, I was noticing your side the whole time. You and your group are not listening to me.
Cancer Sign 2: It was not me, Sir.
Me: What? So should I clean my ears? It was not you all the time?
Cancer Sign 2: Sir… I listen to you all the time. I’m the one who tells my friends to listen to you.
Me: *breathes heavily* I need help. Can you help me turn off the DLP? Thanks a lot!
Me: Come on, stop dreaming. It doesn’t matter now. We’re all gonna die in ten to eleven years.
Me: This is scientific! The adverse effects of climate change will be irreversible in ten to eleven years if we do not move a radical step on changing how we treat the environment. So all of this? Your wish to be a witch? You won’t be able to enjoy them. So I am banking on this generation to really do care about the environment, for your future. I don’t know about you, but as for me, I am ready to die. And I am so sorry our generation is failing you.
Me: You know what, class, creating a safe space for everyone is a radical act. Self-care is a radical act. It means having to defy your preconceived notions, your long-held philosophies. It means changing your minds. It means disobeying your bigoted friends and standing up for the vulnerable. You need maturity, empathetic heart, and determination to correct the wrong. And you help these people in the margins not by sitting down. You go outside your comfort zone, and acknowledge the systemic defects, the capital P Power. And you reclaim it to give each sector an equal footing.
Big dick energy
Me: It takes a lot of guts to really come forward and admit you are mentally ill, class. So I was proud I did it. In your generation’s term, it is called big dick energy.
Me: Yeah. I may not have a big dick, but I have an energy.
Me: And speaking about big dick energy, let’s talk about SEX.
Me: Okay class, that’s about sex. So in the form you’re asked what’s your sex, what the answer?
Horny kid on the side: Three times a day!
Me: Masturbation does not count, basic bitch!
Putting on a character
Me: Class, let me just explain everything and put these in context before you report me to the Catholic nuns for my language. We are talking about sexually transmitted infections, gender, and all other things. And we cannot not talk about sex, right? The classroom with me as your teacher is an appropriate and educational environment where we can talk about self-care and sexual health. So everything here, the jokes? I’m putting on a horny character. This is like acting. We cannot be overly clinical or childish about topics on sexually transmitted infections, college students. Or else, we’d either be too boring now, or I’d be treating you like you’re in grade 4. Are we clear?
Students: Yes, Sir.
Me: So I’m a good person. I won’t harm you. We will end talking about this, and I will be putting on a different character to jump at another topic. Like environment.
Me: So environment, I’d be different now. I’d be having green jokes. See what I did? Green? Environment? Trees? Wood?
Me: Good afternoon class! Let us pray.
Students: Good afternoon Sir.
Me: Let me just say the class is now full, and I didn’t expect it. I thought I’d be dropping half of you all.
Students: Sir… I got sick… Sir… I was only absent once…
Me: So I had given you all an outstanding midterm grade, then you started to not show up. That’s human nature. After you used me, you’d leave.
Me: That’s what it is right? You say hello. You pretend to care. Then you got what you want, and you say goodbye.
Me: Others leave without a closure.
Me: You wouldn’t care about my feelings. That’s very convenient. And insensitive too.
(On the hallway)
Wisława Szymborska: Hey!
Wisława Szymborska: Hey Sir, I am also writing now.
Me: Good for you!
Wisława Szymborska: I wrote a poem sir, about mental health, and my feelings.
Me: Wow! Where’s it?
Wisława Szymborska: Uhm, it’s in my bag. I will give you a copy after our class later!
Me: Oh, thank you. It means a lot to me, Wisława Szymborska! I’ll stick it in my planner.
Ben&Ben stan: Signed, sealed, delivered
(I am putting my gadgets in my bag when Ben&Ben_Stan walks up to me and shows the book Young Blood 7, where my name’s included.)
Me: Oh my gosh! You have the book! Stalker!
Ben&Ben_Stan: Sir! You happened to share you are writing and blogging, so I googled you, and saw Young Blood.
Me: You’re giving me a pretty heart attack! Where did you buy it!
Ben&Ben_Stan: In Davao Sir. I attended a Ben&Ben gig, and while waiting, I went to National Bookstore and saw Young Blood 7, and then I remembered you.
Me: OMG! I love Ben&Ben! We were in one plane to Manila last year!
Ben&Ben_Stan: Wow! They’re so cool and they’re the best musicians!
Me: I know!
Ben&Ben_Stan: Sir, can you sign this book?
Me: Sure! But wait! You shocked me! I’m not used to this! I do not have a fancy pen!
Ben&Ben_Stan: Here, sir. *hands me a pen*
Me: Hmmm.. *sits down* What will I say to you?!
Ben&Ben_Stan: Anything, Sir.
Me: Oh. What’s your sign?
Ben&Ben_Stan: Sagittarius, Sir. *says this in a low voice, as Ben&Ben_Stan knows my feelings toward Sagittaria*
Me: Okay, I already know what to write!
Me: Dearest Ben&Ben_Stan, thanks for reading me even if my nails are dirty. I take it back: Sagittarius people are the coolest people in the world. So cool that they break my heart. For revolution, Kloyde
Me: *sees Beyonce on the gate* Hey, you are always absent on my class.
Beyonce: Sir, I was ill for weeks, I am so sorry.
Me: *side-eye* Medical records? I hate you!
Beyonce: Sir! *smacks me gently on my back*
Me: Ouch! It hurts! Paramedics!
Beyonce: 🤣 *smacks me again*
Me: For every smack that you have, you pay 50 pesos.
Beyonce: More! *smacks me again*
Me: OMG! On your third smack, you will have to explain to my mother now. She’ll make you marry me. Let’s go home.
Beyonce: Let’s go home Sir!
Me: What’s your name again?
Beyonce: Jay-Z, Sir.
Me: I mean… what do you… want… to be called?
Beyonce: Oh! I’m Beyoncé-Giselle-Knowles-Carter… What’s your surname sir?
Lip sync for the crown
Me: Before we start with our class, let me see if this speaker works, okay? *students nod. I open Spotify and went to Carly Rae Jepsen’s Emotion* Be tormented by me babe, wonder, wonder how I do. How’s the weather, am I better? 🎤 Better now that there’s no you? 🎤 Drink tequila for me babe, let it hit you cool and hot, 🎤 let your feelings be revealing that you can’t forget me. 🎤 Not a flower on the wall, I am growing ten feet, ten feet tall! 🎤 In your head and I won’t stop, until you forget me, get me not!
Me: That’s one of the best albums, class. It’s my running playlist. Stream Carly Rae Jepsen, she’s a legend. She’s a Scorpio.
Smashing toxic masculinity
Me: The problem with a judgmental society, class is they easily subscribe to a certain convention and malign others who do not fit the mold. For example, a guy does not play basketball. Doesn’t go to the gym. Likes pink a lot. Watches RuPaul’s Drag Race, and likes Taylor Swift. Does that automatically mean he’s gay or weird? Should you make him a ‘man?’
Students: No, sir.
Me: Why did I describe myself? 😂🤣
Me: Didn’t you ask this class: Why is being straight or heterosexual the default? How about you? *comes near to a Straight_as_a_ruler* Did you come out already?
Me: Did you come to your parents and admit? That you realize you’re straight and you’re so sorry you like boys?
Me: Class, before we start with an interesting topic this afternoon, let’s offer a prayer. But just sit and enjoy it. *plays Tala by Sarah Geronimo and dances to it*
Students: 🤭🤯🤷🏻♂️ *stares in bewilderment*
Swiftie qualifying examination pt. 1
ME: *tweets about my thinking that Lover could replace Red as my favorite Taylor Swift album and that I am excited to receive the Lover Deluxe Bundle Set I ordered*
Meredith: *replies to me* Hala ana all!
ME: I told you in class I am a legit Swiftie, right? I can link you to the seller if you wish to buy
Meredith: I really want to but #broke
ME: Spotify! Anyway, are you a legit Swiftie? Exam: What song is this Taylor Swift bridge: Remember when you hit the brakes too soon/ Twenty stitches in a hospital room
Meredith: Out of the Woods!
ME: *slides into Meredith’s DM* You passed the Swiftie Qualifying Exam! Claim one Taylor Swift sticker in my office!
Swiftie qualifying examination pt. 2
Olivia: I’m also a Swiftie Sir!
ME: Really? Name the seven Taylor Swift albums!
Olivia: Okay! Reputation, 1989…
ME: In order!
Olivia: Taylor Swift, Fearless, Speak Now, Red, 1989, Reputation, Lover. Yes!!!
ME: Claim your prize in my office! I’ll give you one Taylor Swift sticker!
Katy Perry: Wow! Sir, Speak Now is my favorite album! A lot of underrated songs!
ME: Like? Ours?
Katy Perry: Yes sir
ME: I love the gap between your teeth 🎶 And I love the riddles that you speak 🎶
Katy Perry: And any snide remarks from my father about your tattoos will be ignored, ’cause my heart is yours. 🎶 So don’t you worry your pretty little mind…
ME: Stop it, I am going to cry! Come to my office for a sticker too!
Me: Gender roles and conventions are not entirely wrong, class. What makes it wrong is when we prescribe it to everyone and we use it as a tool for exclusion and prejudices. Doing so makes it extremism, fundamentalism, and conservatism. These isms, as Anne Lamott puts it, are “90% of the reason the world is so terrifying.”
(Class is dismissed. I am unplugging the extension wire and rolling it when Lovergirl_19 comes back to the room and talks to me)
Lovergirl_19: Hi Sir, I actually have a question.
Lovergirl_19: Uhmm, it’s hard to explain, sir. Uhh, I like… girls.
Me: That’s cool. Go on.
Lovergirl_19: There’s one friend of mine, and she has a sister. And I… like her?
Me: Wow. So what seems to be the problem?
Lovergirl_19: I don’t know, sir, but it’s hard for me to express it.
Me: Because she is a female, like you.
Lovergirl_19: Yes, sir. Is it wrong?
Me: Why? What do you want to do to her? Do you want to do her?
Lovergirl_19: Sir! Grabe!
Me: I mean, do you want to steal her stuff? Do you want to punch her in the face? Throw her an acid in the face?
Lovergirl_19: No sir!
Me: Okay. So nothing’s wrong. You like her, and want to spend time with her. But you feel you are only allowed to like boys.
Lovergirl_19: Yes, sir.
Me: God will punish you, and your parents may not understand. Or maybe, your friend’s sister likes boys. Your heart will be broken many times.
Me: If Jesus is in the room, He would say, go Lovergirl_19. He would support you, and tell you love wins. He would want you to be happy and live your truth.
Lovergirl_19: Thank you sir.
Me: But you have to be sure that you really like her, okay? And I know it’s really hard. You haven’t tried pursuing a lady, right?
Lovergirl_19: Yes, Sir.
Me: Courage and love.
In this semester, I handled Student Development Session (SDS) to three classes. It’s a one-unit course every Wednesday where we attempt to form the values of the freshmen. We are dealing on the domains like academic development, career development and personal development. Specifically, we discussed topics like Marist values, study habits, empathy, mental health, gender awareness and sensitivity, sexual health, and environmental care. These are the causes our institution is actively campaigning.
It’s my first time handling this subject. Thing is, I actually graduated with a major in English, and I am a non-teaching personnel working in the Research and Publication Center. However, I am required to teach at least three units.
With my good-for-nothing and the devil-may-care attitude, I do not know why I was given an SDS. Then I found out the coordinator for the Language program forgot to include me in the roll of teachers. So I’m happy it happened.