I actually planned on taking a lighter burden of required non-academic courses in college. I’ve had enough experience in Citizenship Advancement Training (CAT) that tells me not to continue my military training through Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC). I wanted to prioritize my academics first, and choosing ROTC could make me sacrifice again my time for it over my studies, even though I’ve had fun during all those CAT training. So with my impression of doing a less energetic course, I was not up to attending the first general assembly of National Service Training Program (NSTP), under the NSTP module called Literacy Training Service (LTS). I somehow settled in my designated seat and waited for the program to start. I kept myself entertained by talking to my seatmates. I became aware that this seemed to be commonly done by my fellow sophomores all around the meeting area, especially when the college vice president stopped in the middle of her speech just so the students will notice her. I wondered how many of us are actually interested in community outreach programs and literary services.
It was the first time I met my NSTP formator, an approachable young woman who was still able to willingly teach us all about the course even after handling other classes before us. I knew that our adopted school for literacy training was located and even named after the place commonly understood by many as purely a dumping site of Metro Manila. I, for one, did belong to these discriminative people. One of my classmates, who lived there, was asked to describe the situation of the school. I actually smirked (which makes me look bad of course) when she talked about the stench of the place. Previously, my friend and I made jokes about it and how we are going to regret choosing this adopted school. But she did correct us that the school wasn’t so bad in terms of the surroundings, how far it was located from the garbage sites. She did mention though how small the place was and the number of students who still can’t read at a certain age. The fact about the inability to read made me assume these students will be our tutees. I was not happy about it when I had been expecting of teaching a set of older and more knowledgeable kids.
I was absent during the first skills training. During the second training, my classmates demonstrated how to teach young kids about the “left and right.” How they acted and taught was nothing short of excellence. But if I were to teach the kids that way, I thought I might as well fail this course. I was worried because I don’t get well along with kids.
During the first insertion, it was a good thing to feel when I saw the school, with the air and surroundings clean, despite the awful smell we had to endure during the trip. The kids present were naughty and carefree as I expected. I surrendered to the fact that I have to adjust and try to mingle with them the next meeting when I am supposed to start teaching them.
It was during the next meeting that I met Angelito.