Back in my last year at high school I remember feeling not just a hint of fear when our homeroom teacher walked into the classroom for the first time. The whole class dreaded her, for she was very much of an earlier generation of teachers who believed students sat in silence unless asked, and that the distance between teacher and student was part of the whole system of learning. She was the complete opposite of our previous homeroom teacher who took interest in our perspective of the world and shared his own, like an older brother would. This new homeroom teacher taught us – or tried to teach us – physics. If memory serves me right, the textbook we used was called Applied Physics.
Near the end of the schoolyear, when news spread that a considerable number of my classmates might not graduate, I spoke to a guidance counsellor to complain about her methods. It was only then did I find out that, cold as she seemed to us, our physics teacher had gone way beyond her duties and met with various teachers and school administrators in an attempt to ensure the whole class gets to walk on stage on graduation day. I can’t recall if I ever told anyone about that conversation. I never thanked her properly.
Many years later, I met someone online who gave me sound advice. She spoke to me in metaphors that made sense of the maze of emotions I was struggling with. I wanted to thank her while I could, knowing my words may never be as moving as hers. As I was trying to write, the memory of my high school teacher came to mind. And so this…
My poem, “Applied Physics,” which forms part of my forthcoming poetry colletion A Thousand Eyes (UST Publishing House, Manila 2015) has been published on the electronic magazine Our Own Voice. I have made a crude voice recording and put it on Soundcloud.
I hope to hear your feedback on the poem as it appears on Our Own Voice or as I read it on Soundcloud, or just here on matangmanok. Maraming salamat, Luisa.