To start, I’ll make a confession. I hated Social Studies. Swear! I despised everything that the subject covers – from names of dead people, events in the past and dates! Yes, from grade school to college I already had that concept in my mind that I hated and forever hold my disgust in that subject. I was solid to that idea until I reached eighteen. Quirky, the age of legalities. That age was an unexpected turnover. I graduated college, started my article writing part-time job and became a geography teacher. Of course, I was astounded. Me? Teaching geography? A subject that entails memorizing all the regions and the complexities of the topography and geographical location and implications of the Philippines? Goodness. If I could just withdraw and go back to college. What in the world have I gotten myself into? But just as how every stories go, life must go on. I didn’t turn my back and accepted the challenge set before me.
Now, three years after that life-changing event, I can proudly say that I didn’t have any regrets of choosing to stay and teaching that subject. No, I didn’t only teach the subject, the subject taught me more about the Philippines, the world and as well as myself. I have learned more things in this area than the years I’ve spent in the classroom drowsing over a History book I can’t even understand myself.
What I’ve learned in teaching Geography?
- The Philippines is consist of 17 regions and 7,100 islands. This is a basic fact, you may say. Yes, it’s a basic fact but how many of us really know about this? Some even don’t know what region they belong and what’s the difference between a province, municipality and city.
- The primary and secondary locations. I am very poor with directions. I’m not even a law-abiding citizen, so to speak and I believe this rooted to my lack of knowledge on following direction. I can’t differentiate West from East, much more Hilagang Silangan from Timog Kanluran! And this isn’t funny. Directions are basics in survival but not all knows that!
- The diversity of culture. Part of understanding the geography of the place is to get to know its traditions, beliefs, festivals, food, and adaptation the people do in order to survive.
- Social issues. Because of this subject, I was obliged to read more news update than Facebook status. It is a must because most of the pupils will ask you to explain why some issues occur; and what makes it even harder is to simplify the facts and elucidation so that a Grade Two or Three pupil will get a hunch on what’s going on with his or her place or country.
- Of course, this still do exist and even got worse overtime!
- Care for the integrity of creation. The core of Studies Studies is to make pupils responsible citizens in order to help in nation building; and part of this responsible citizenship and nation building is the accountability of every individual on the resources made available to him or her. We don’t have the rights to point accusing fingers to other people or other races to be the cause of pollution, ozone layer depletion and natural or manmade calamities. We are the root cause of it! You are the cause of it. I am the cause of it. And this knowledge and self-assessment shouldn’t here. We need to act, badly and with sense of urgency.
- Yes, my obsession for travel and adventure started in teaching the subject. I found it very embarrassing to teach about places and regions I haven’t been into. I firmly believe that I need to be very knowledgeable about the things I do share in class. The future of the kids I have depends on me and I am one of the people to be blame if we have corrupt politicians, abusive government employees, and selfish citizens.
- And the complexities that comes with it. I am a big dreamer. I have set my eyes on climbing Mt. Apo, visiting every otaku’s dreamland – Japan, setting foot on Antarctica and watching the sunset in every part of the seven continents. Yes, I’m a highly complicated person with no money but with tons of ambitions. *EVIL LAUGH*
- To admit that I don’t know and that I have much to know. The subject taught me to be grounded and to accept the things I lack the knowledge on. Before I was too proud to admit that I don’t know about something but now, I will never hesitate to ask about something that’s unclear or I don’t have enough background with. I’ve realized that it’s better to be a stupid that inquires than to be an intelligent ignorant.
- To be the change I want the world to see. Above all things, this subject taught me to be independent – to do things on my own and to keep myself available in the service of others. If you want to be a volunteer, be one with or without your friends to accompany you. If you want to travel and try adventure, then go; you don’t have to wait for others to agree with you or even force you. Remember diversity on number three? Yes, not all of your friends are interested in what you like, might as well do it on your own. I tell you, you will become more responsible and more geared to move forward and try other things.
I wish I could have infinity to tell you the other things I have learned, but that would also mean that you have to sit on wherever you are right now and stay there forever. I don’t want that to happen. I want you to start the change you have pictured already in your mind. Keep inspired, be inspired and inspire others as well. I trust that you will do whatever you can by all the means that are given to you. I am rooting for you. Let’s do this!