Mom really knew what she was talking about after all

Eric Ariel Salas

Eric Ariel Salas

Numbers and complex solutions fuel me. I crave mind-boggling formulas and mathematical theories. I go where Pythagoras, Des Cartes and Pascal abound. These are the reasons I love the engineering profession.

I never liked the teaching profession. When mom advised me to get a degree in education and be a teacher, I retorted in complete disagreement, “Send me to an engineering school, and I’d make you proud!”

In my country, pursuing a degree in education is the cheapest and the easiest in town. Borderline students or even those below the intellectually deficient category, most often than not, would go for the degree. Only a few would take up engineering or medical courses.

From the start, my ideas were never parallel to a teacher’s. Thoughts of piles of unchecked papers and overnight stays in the office to finish a class grade and lesson planning scare the heavens out of me. Moreover, I never liked the idea of being with students.

But I could never blame mom for pushing me to become a teacher. She used to be in the profession and was head over heels in love with it for more than 30 years. Lend your ears to her passionate rants in a career symposium, and you’d go out of the hall lured by her, believing that teaching is the only immediate course in town. Her plans for me included pursuing a master’s degree, taking up a doctorate in education and ultimately landing a good supervisory task in the central school.

Mom was heavy-hearted when her drive of getting me into her own career path failed. I ended up enrolling in the engineering course. You should have seen Dad’s expression – he was with me, he was laughing up his sleeve.

Years later, I earned an engineering degree with flying colors, as I promised Mom. I worked for a short time in a construction company. Feeling so unsatisfied, I transferred from one company to another, like a bee discontented from a single sip.

Then, here comes the changing of horses in midstream. The dean of the private school where I graduated from asked me to become a part-time member of the engineering faculty. He probably saw my credentials and the potentials befitting as a teacher.

It raised my eyebrow. Why me, of all people? I deemed I should never try something I have never, ever loved. However, before I knew it, I was eating my own words. Devil may care, I got hired to teach mathematics and tried what Mama kept bugging me about for years.

What’s interesting in the teaching career? Is it the students questioning the strange and far-off? Is it the gifted minority showing signs that they are more knowledgeable than you are? Or is it the students tending to underestimate your competence and skills? What about young, beautiful girls giving you an enticing look, asking for a private tutorial?

Fascinating and challenging, indeed. In a matter of months, I was loving the career-playing field I got myself into. All’s well that ends well. What kept me firm every single day was the thought of Mom’s perseverance and love for her work. Now that I am in the U.S. and pursuing another career, I am beginning to miss the teaching days.

In my country, the teaching profession is taken too lightly. Most people say that teachers do not earn much. It is an understatement. I do not care at all if others would say that only average people venture into teaching – I can always prove them wrong. Teaching is for everyone who has the conviction of sharing one’s life and values, knowledge and information. Teaching is for someone who believes in sweeter rewards after a sacrifice of patience. It is for anyone whose idea of sharing is not necessarily losing something.

#1.882516:2780114954.jpg:ericsalace.jpg:Eric Ariel L. Salas, Foreign Eyes: