If I were Krisel’s teacher
The salutatorian who defiantly spoke on her graduation about her own truths was a controversy worth talking about. She speaks not only of her desires, but also how the adolescents see their schools – private or public. Likewise, it speaks about the values they aspire; values they laud in social media – made memes, made more videos, hailed as a great Filipino child – something they want to multiply.
She has values that she treasured; values that her family pushed her to develop.
If you are not aware of all the great things the people said about her infamous speech, go look at Twitter and read the revelries. They say that she was brave, and fair, and vigilant. (READ: Girl interrupted: School officials cut salutatorian's speech)
But what is bravery?
What is the thin line that separates bravery from rebellion? How is courage different from arrogance?
In 2011, I remember my own graduation. In 8 years, since the foundation of the Literature Department, I was the first of two students who received Latin honors. It was a death-to-the-finish kind of graduation; sacrificed blood and sweat because I wanted to be Magna Cum Laude – I wanted to prove that our batch produced the best graduates our Department has seen. I entered the literary folio; I joined debates; I ran as a student leader.
That was in 2011 – and that was college – the highest level of education.
But I don’t think my current students or my employers or my co-teachers needed to look at me based on my medals.
I am sure that I am more than my academic accomplishments.
I am certain that the rewards and the love I got from my students – the greatest recognitions of all – are not based on what I know. I would want to label myself beyond medals – and beyond finishing first.
If anything, graduating with honors was just a phase. My battle did not end with receiving the medal.
How can I be first if I am all alone? How can I relish the relief and the success from graduating if all I have felt was more hostility than humility?
Life has much to offer beyond graduating from school. I was poor. My siblings sacrificed. But what I can say was that I graduated with honors because I understood how to fail and how to rise from my failures.
If indeed Krisel were speaking the truth, was it the best way to say it? Is it wise to use that platform to speak of personal truths? Did she think of the repercussions that this storm of emotions will bring to her future life?
Why is it that most members of the society tend to value academic success than good character?
If indeed she is the epitome of modern values – what does this say about the Filipino youth?
If there is one thing I want to say to the younger members of this nation today – it is that we must always value emotional quotient (EQ) over intelligence quotient (IQ). It is beyond the measure of what you know; but of what you are. Students never do it alone. They have their class mates to credit; their teachers to thank for; their parents and their siblings who support them to be acknowledged – and the youth must never discredit them with myopic acts.
For Krisel, prepare. You always need to prove that you need to win every time after this action. You always need to prove that you deserve that title – and that does not only entail academics, but all forms of success.
If I were Krisel’s teacher, I would not abandon her and leave her with messages of hate.
That girl needs more support so someone could properly teach her how to use youth to her advantage.
I will teach her empathy.
But most importantly, I will teach her how to fail and how to rise up. – Rappler.com
Carlo Fernando was orphaned since third grade. Now, he is a teacher fellow of Teach for the Philippines. He teaches his students that failures are doors for learning opportunities; and that success comes from humility and open-mindedness