Teacher Mama

I’ve embarked on a new career this week. I am now a teacher. I teach 3rd year High School Zoology. (For how long, I really do not know at this point.) I’ve had some experience teaching interns and clerks when I was doing my residency. But this is the first time that I will be handling teenagers! I think of this as a new challenge I am ready to face.

I have just discovered that this new job gives me additional power. In the past, when there was a disagreement between what I say and what Teacher said, guess who my children will believe? Of course, “That’s what Teacher said.” What they’re not saying is “You’re just my mom, she’s Teacher. So I believe her.” But now, I have that same title attached to my name.

Trixi and I have been disagreeing on something she says her teacher said. I tried to correct her but she just wouldn’t listen. She would insist on what Teacher said. When I tried to correct her again, as usual, she said, “But that’s what Teacher said!” So I pointed out to her that now, I, too, am a teacher. She thought for a while, then finally followed what I said. Hooray!

Back to Work?

For the past 8 years, I have been a full-time mom to Chino and Trixi. I used to think that I would go back to ophthalmology when the kids are bigger, when both of them are in big schools. But when Bong’s associates decided to venture into a new clinic, Bong and I thought that this would be a good chance to get back to medicine. There may not be a slot available when I do decide to practice again.

So I talked to the kids and explained to them that Mama will now be working, just like Papa. Chino was hesitant at first. He had his apprehensions. He didn’t want to be left to a maid. But after I explained that it would only be a part-time job, that I would only be in the clinic 2 or 3 times a week, when he was still in school, it became more palatable to him. I would still be around when he studies at home, I would still be the one to prepare our meals, I would still be the one to greet him when he comes home from school. With that, I was ready to get back on the saddle.

However, we later found out that some ophthalmologies were coming in as a group. I was out. After psyching myself up and telling the kids, it was back to being full-time mom. It wasn’t the right time, I told myself.

Then just a few days before 2006 ended, I was being asked to fill in a Sunday slot. I have always asked Bong not to work on Sundays since that was the only day that we could spend as a family. Now this. Sunday was the only day they could give me.

Saying yes would mean that we would miss Sunday lunches with my parents and my brother (the only one left in the country) and his wife. It would mean that Bong would not have a rest day (Sunday being his only rest day) as he would have to take care of the kids in my absence. Saying no, on the other hand, would mean that I would not be able to join this new clinic. Doctors are snapping up available slots so fast. It would be hard to say if a slot would be available some years down the line when I do decide to join. It would also mean saying no to the opportunity to help my family financially.

In the end, I decided to take the slot. The kids and Bong can come with me and go around the mall while I hold clinic. After my shift, we could still spend the rest of the day together. We could visit the grandparents afterwards or go on Saturday evenings.

It’s a change, going back to work. I know it doesn’t sound much. It’s just one shift a week. But after more than 8 years absence, it seems daunting. I am so grateful that Bong and the rest of my family have been very supportive. I hope that this is the right thing to do.