Happy Teachers’ Month to all teachers!

A teacher’s life is indeed inspiring, full of mysteries, and full of blessings. Despite the travails and hardships that we teachers go through at every stage of our professional life (not to forget our personal and spiritual lives), we are still as resilient as steel trusses and as pliant as bamboos. Without us, there would be no lawyers, no engineers, no architects, no chefs, no cultural workers, no religious leaders, no civil servants, and no teachers.

There would also be no one to serve as a beacon of hope and a vessel of intelligence and magnanimity.

We owe our successes not only to our parents and our community but also to our teachers. The fact that teachers shape minds, stimulate hearts, and impact lives remains, and a perfect manifestation of that fact is the way we have lived our lives. No matter how often we made our teachers’ heads hot or blood boil, they still have been instrumental in our successes and progress. Regardless of their shortcomings and oversight, they are movers and shapers for all time.

As my tribute to all our fellow teachers, short stories about teachers’ heroism, dedication, compassion, and steadfastness will be featured in my column. Thus, I will devote the remaining Sundays of September and all those of October to my short stories about teachers.

Enjoy reading and may we find a glimmer of hope and a ray of sunshine in every story!

Featured Teachers’ Month Story of the Week:
Good Things Come to Those Who Do Good

Mrs. Annabelle Borromeo-Crisostomo has been a high school teacher at Nueva Segovia Catholic Academy for over 35 years now. Married to an architect and with four sons, she is known for her immense generosity despite having limited means. Despite being a disciplinarian, she is well-loved because she cares about everyone genuinely. Not your typical English teacher, she teaches with passion and enthusiasm because she loves facilitating games during her classes. As a result, her students find learning English more fun and exciting. Mrs. Crisostomo is also known for being willing to help her co-teachers and to tutor students who need extra help.

One rainy night, as she was driving home, Mrs. Crisostomo saw a badly bruised teenage girl, about 16 to 17, drenched in the rain and shivering. Her clothes were soaking wet and it seemed that the young woman was nursing a fever.

“Oh my God,” Mrs. Crisostomo muttered. She promptly stopped her Ford Laser sedan, turned on the hazard, and approached the girl without hesitation. Then she removed her jacket and gave it to the girl.

“What happened,” the 58-year-oldteacher asked the girl. “And what’s your name?”

“Norma,” the teenager replied tearfully. “I…was…abducted…”
Misty-eyed, Mrs. Crisostomo decided to take Norma to the police station. Even if she was not able to reach home, she did not mind because she wanted to make sure that Norma would be in good hands.

The English teacher did not leave Norma’s side as the young woman was being interviewed by a police officer. She overheard Norma’s story and became more misty-eyed upon learning that the latter was an orphan from Mindanao who was abducted by a white slavery syndicate.

Norma told the police officer who was assisting her- Patrolman Ulysses Carranza- that she wanted to stay with Mrs. Crisostomo in the meantime.

However, the teacher insisted that Norma be brought to a DSWD center since it was mandated by law.

“I promise that I will visit you, Norma,” vowed Mrs. Crisostomo. “If ever you want to go back to school, please let me know.”

When she came home, Mrs. Crisostomo was greeted by her eldest son and her husband Mang Ramil, an architect on vacation from his job in the US. She promptly told them what happened and they understood her.

A week later, Mrs. Crisostomo was teaching in one of her classes when a familiar face showed up together with a DSWD representative. It was Norma, whose wounds were healing and whose enthusiasm began to show.
Mrs. Crisostomo excused herself and faced Norma, who was different from the downtrodden and bloodied young girl.

“Mrs. Crisostomo, thank you for saving my life,” Norma said. “I will be studying here and I heard that you will be my class adviser.”
“Great,” Mrs. Crisostomo exclaimed. “Welcome to my class!”

From then on, Norma was able to recover from her traumatic ordeal. She also showed exemplary performance in class and was able to make many friends.

Months after Norma escaped from her assailants, the abductors were captured during a major raid and were sentenced to life imprisonment.
One time after class, Norma approached her savior as the latter was getting into her old car. Norma hugged Mrs. Crisostomo tightly and was not able to contain her tears of joy.

“Thank you very much, Ma’am,” she tearfully blurted out. “I am able to catch up with my subjects. I wish you were my mother because you care for me so much.”

Mrs. Crisostomo did not bat an eyelash.“I want to adopt you if it’s all right,” the veteran teacher said without any hesitation. “I want to give you a home and a future.”

A month later, Mrs. Crisostomo and Mang Ramil were able to adopt Norma. Their sons- 26-year-old Niccolo, 24-year-old Leo, 22-year-old Angelo, and 20-year-old Sean- accepted the teenage girl as their new sister. Norma proved to be a very helpful, cheerful, and prayerful girl, assisting her brothers with household chores. In turn, her brothers protected her from bullies and tutored her in her subjects. Mang Ramil even taught Norma how to paint and sculpt, which the young woman eventually excelled in.

Years later, Norma graduated summa cum laude with a degree in BSE English, just like her new mother.

Mr. and Mrs. Crisostomo were very proud of their youngest daughter and could not contain their tears. Her big brothers proudly told their friends how brilliant their new sister turned out to be.

Because of her golden deed that fateful, rainy Friday night, Mrs. Crisostomo was promoted to school principal a year later and won many awards for her exemplary leadership and research work. She also successfully implemented reforms at her school. As for Mang Ramil, his construction business became more successful. Norma’s brothers also became very successful professionals. And as for Norma, she became a well-loved and widely respected college professor and then got married to an American entrepreneur from New York who loved and accepted her despite her tragic past.#