“Present!”

That’s what we always say when teachers call our names at the start of each class. But are we really present? Physically, we may be in the class, but are we really there mentally and emotionally?

As a former teacher, I can sense if a student is in my class or drifting far away to Neverland, where they imagine being young boys and girls playing and doing whatever they want, whenever they want.

“School is your second home.”

“Teachers are considered your second parents.”

Have you heard these lines a thousand times? I have. And I take these seriously. Majority of your day is spent in school with your classmates and teachers. If that’s the case, you might as well enjoy every minute of it.

My fondest memories as a teacher were being with my students more than preparing the lesson plan, materials, or the PowerPoint presentation. (Haha! Who here still knows what that is?)

If you were to ask me how you can have a good and lasting impression with your teachers, here you go:

Be present physically.

Being in class on time is a very good start. Frequent tardiness and absence communicate disinterest. It’s just like saying, “I don’t like your subject,” or “You’re too boring.”

Your teacher knows if you’re just making an excuse every time you’re absent or late. They make mental notes of each student.

Suggestion:

If you find your teacher boring, try to approach him or her without anyone hearing you. Give constructive criticism and suggestions that can make the class more interesting and engaging. A great teacher knows how to listen and appreciate good suggestions.

Instead of boycotting, be there!

Be present mentally.

Be ready to listen!

Be prepared to give 100 percent of your attention and energy to what is happening in your class. Your eyes and body language don’t lie. Your teachers know.

Suggestion:

Inform your teachers of your learning style. Tell them if you’re a visual, auditory, or kinesthetic learner. But never say that you won’t do other things just because they are not within your learning style. In the real world, people won’t always adjust to you. You need to learn how to adapt and be willing to learn other things beyond your comfort level.

Be present emotionally.

I once taught History and Filipino classes for a year; my schedule was one after the other. Imagine being in a class for two hours each day, teaching two different subjects right after another. I was handling three classes at that time!

One day after teaching History, it was time for Filipino. This class was composed mostly of boys, and this was their last subject for the day. Everyone was restless. Maybe they were tired, but who wasn’t?

So I stood in front of the class quietly and looked at each one of them. After five minutes of being ignored, “Let’s have a short break,” I said as my voice was breaking. I went to the faculty room and began to cry on my desk. I was spent for that day. I just wanted a release before going back to my class. After a few minutes, one of my students went into the room and said, “Teacher, I am so sorry. We were very rude.” And another student came and another and another. Each one came to faculty room apologizing. I was overwhelmed with joy. We went back to the class with more love and respect for one another. I treasure those students for life!

Side note:

Being a teacher means pouring out your time, energy, and emotions to each class you have and each student you handle. After being a teacher for five years, I have great respect for all the teachers who see teaching not just as a profession, but a calling—a noble calling of investing your life to the next generation, believing that through the time and love you give, you help shape a better future for your student and this nation.