Why Can’t I Be A Teacher?


Musings of a frustrated teacher

01 05

When I arrived in the province of Isabela on January 1992, letters and cards from Cebu kept stacking in my old shoebox. News from Cebu those times lifted my spirit high and somehow eased my homesickness. The snail mails stopped coming in by year 1998, maybe because in the advent of the internet and e-mails as latest vehicles of communication.


Tonight as I am groping for words and seek some inspiration, I grabbed Paulo Coelho’s books from the shelf and started reading. I read this book countless times already, yet The Alchemist still never failed to capture my interest to go on searching the meaning of life and the wisdom of the personal legend. Leafing through the pages, I knew by heart that this was and still be my favorite part of the book, to quote “To realize one’s Personal Legend is a person’s only real obligation. All things are one. And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” Then I put the book down and stopped reading because I remembered something. I started looking for my “mini treasures from Cebu”, and presto, I found these stacks of letters and cards carbon dated ’90s.

Yes, I still kept this 23 year-old letter from my college mentor, my adviser in our campus paper and a dean of instruction. This is one of the best letters I received from a man whom I admired most because of his integrity, a good example for the youth worthy to be emulated. I wonder whether other professors or a dean at that, would even bother to write letters to their former students. But he did, to me.

At first glance, this is just a simple letter relating some news, what’s going on the school, the school paper and those graduates who successfully pursued the right carrer path in the noble profession of teaching. The best part of the letter was his counsel to me to do good in my present job. That might sound pretty reassuring. But one thing bothered me that I asked myself – why can’t I be a teacher? Why can’t I be like them? What’s wrong with me that the whole universe seemed to never conspire in helping me out to achieve what I wanted to be. That question and similar wondering is still a mystery to me, even now.

Well, being a teacher is not my personal legend. Maybe or maybe not.


November 23, 1992

Dear Alvin,

I received your letter some 3 or 4 weeks ago but it is just now that I have a time to write. I am happy to know that you are already employed in a radio station, and a news writer at that. I think, yours is an exciting job. You may not believe me but to work in a radio station has remained to be my fantasy.

Regarding developments here, no miracles has happened yet. Things are as they were when you were yet here. The thing that I feel good about is the employment of several graduates from our school. You may be interested to know something about them. Here they are and the places where they are now teaching for some of them: Eluna Gabilan, CSCST-PC; Nerecita Flores, Colonia; Nestor Morato, Jagbuaya; Agustin Guitguit, Montealegre; Erma Brigoli, Sandayong; Rufo Itong, Kamansi; Elma Pagado, San Miguel, San Remegio; Eva Brigoli, Mandaue; Remedios Blanco; Isabel Gayatin; Prospero Lape; Marilou Pono; Rey Saavedra; Fe Guitguit; Tadeo Bragat.

You may say that many of the new teachers have the all time “high” in their life, “high” when they will be already on top of the mountain in the place where they are assigned.

Regarding our own TP Bulletin, it’s still kicking. We published a newsletter edition only for the first issue in the school year due to financial constraints. The cost of printing is already too high. I also have given the job of adviser to Mrs. Cynthia R. Maxilom.

How I wish you could be one of the faculty members of this school. But bureaucratic requirements have always prevented us from moving about. Maybe there could be a time someday that we can work together. There is always a time to have a break in our life, a time to wake up from a dream.

Wherever you are, whatever job you are in, make use of it. I mean, give yourself to that job and be happy with it, and do the job well that brings you satisfaction. And satisfaction is the key to be happy in your job.

If you really want to be a teacher, someday you will be. The things that happen in our life are controlled by the power of our mind. Things will come in our way as you have consciously cultivated in your sub-conscious. Think that you will become the manager of the station and that will come to you unexpectedly without even trying. Just do your job well.

I will be very happy to hear more about you. It will be a good sharing experience. Until then. Merry Christmas.

Sincerely yours,


Dean of Instruction

03 04

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