I’m not kidding. This is how people often perceive my personality:
I remember I asked my Dad once, why he thought not a lot of guys approach me to get to know me. He said, not needing to think, “Masungit ka kasi. Ang tapang tapang mo kung makatingin. Malamang takot mga ‘yun sa iyo.”
Uhh… Okay… Thanks, Dad.
But I guess there’s a whole lot of truth in that. And know what? I think I like being this terror. Yup yup! It shields me from fake wannabe-friends although it’s not to say that I don’t make mistakes on who to trust, ya know?
Anyway, like I said, I liked being … hmm… feared. When I was still active with our choir in Frisco, Quezon City, many of the newbies dared not approach me. They dared not let me hear them make mistakes because for sure, they’d get the evil eye from me with a healthy tongue-lashing. But later, they find out I’m just as kulit and kalog, maybe even more, than they are.
Then I became a teacher.
I never gave multiple choice or identification exams. It was always essay form and case studies. Plus I spoke rapido English and I had this air (some would call it confidence, for which I thank all those years at UP Diliman where I got my tertiary education), so my students thought I was the Iron Lady in the flesh. And then I was invited to be part of the panelists during thesis defense both for high school and college.
I would question their hypotheses and theses statements and findings and I’d let them feel my impatience if they didn’t get what I was driving at. And I never let up. I didn’t let them off the hook, so to speak. I managed to build a reputation of being meaner than the school president himself that years later, for the younger batches, they’d literally shrink from the idea of… PANEL SI MA’AM JETTE????
Guess what? Just this March, when I entered the room, all eyes popped out of their sockets together with a really audible collective *gasp* and then, everyone was silent. Can’t wait ’til the next batch of Seniors in 2014…
I will say this, though. I do not terrorize these kids for the sheer fun of it. Well… there is some fun in it for me (evil cackle with thunder and lighting) but I tell myself, this is my way of drilling into their brains how very important comprehension is. That for as long as they understand what they have researched on, no matter what question I throw at them, they’d be able to answer forwards, backwards and upside-down. That’s the biggest trouble with kids these days. They memorize their papers but do not bother to dig deep. It’s all surface to them. What’s that, right?
Hopefully, this terror can help produce students who value critical thinking. That’s what this country needs more of, methinks. Citizens who can think.