Having your first time of something is like celebrating your debut; it happens only once in a lifetime and it has a very noteworthy mark.
As a teacher, it was overwhelming for me to see my students challenged and engaged in battles that would help them learn more. All as first timers, Kester, Aiman, Khine, Nahara, and Kyla, made their way to Liceo de Cagayan University last September 11 and 12, 2015 for the I.D.E.A. 2015: An Invitational for Debate, Essay, and Art conducted by Rotary Club of CDO Premier. Wearing their school uniform, they faced their opponents with such wit and confidence and with no hesitation at all. Who would say they were first timers?
My three debaters, who all look handsome and smart, scored 1-0 (1 win and 1 loss) from two matches that they had as a Government and an Opposition team. With the motion "THIS HOUSE BELIEVES THAT THE CREATION OF A BANGSAMORO AUTONOMOUS REGION WILL LEAD TO LASTING PEACE IN MINDANAO”, the trio prepared by researching and studying about BBL or the Bangsamoro Basic Law. Each of them gave time to have their speeches ready and made sure that they could defend their stand by asking teachers to question and rebut them. It wasn’t just a piece of cake. It was really, really hard, especially for students who are not really familiar with it. Yet, the motion has given them enough knowledge on what is going on in Mindanao. Furthermore, it has given them the chance to speak their opinions out and let their young voices be heard. Seeing them shaking, breathing deeply, elbowing each other during the event, and ‘fighting’, I could say that my students were indeed great! Unlike the other teams’ coaches, I wasn’t there to make speeches for them, to search everything for them, or to give them the responses that they should attack to their opponents. I was just there to listen, to check their verbal gestures, and to add what they know. They solely made it with their own keen perception, and that made me so proud above all.
Kyla, who loves to write, yet is very shy to share what she can, had surely written one of the best and sincere essays by a first timer. With the theme “Exploring the Relationship of Poverty, Progress, and Peace in Mindanao”, Kyla went out of the room after the event looking calm and with peaceful disposition. It was not an arduous topic for her, I guess.
Nahara, who was convinced
to go with me than to her badminton tournament, got her first time as well. Although she did many posters and paintings at school contest and often wins, editorial cartooning (as I see it) is not that easy for her. It requires much critical thinking and paradoxical ideas to attain a very comprehensive cartoon. With her preparation by reading what editorial cartooning is all about and by accepting the comments from her ‘personal’ mentor, Nahara did it like a pro, and she gave me excitement more than herself.
These first timers make me reminisce some of the first- time experiences I also had way back then. Press conferences, declamation, singing contests, quiz bowls, dance sports, name them and I would tell you how my first times were. My five fantastic first timers may have not been able to make it to the ranks. They could have done it better with longer preparation, or perhaps with a better mentor. Yet, I know, this is one of the things that they would be proud to share with their children in the future. As a teacher, I won’t stop believing that Kester, Aiman, Khine, Nahara and Kyla will still make it further because that is what a teacher must think. As a teacher, it is best to encourage them to try no matter what teams are there to counter them, no matter how experienced other contenders are. It may be called “forcing”, yet how bad will it be if forcing is caused by your conviction that they are born with such talents and abilities. It’s like asking an amputated spider to crawl and be at its web successfully. We have to tell them to move, to grow, to fight, and to aim high.
My five fantastic first timers, I believe, will soon have another first time. Yet, it’s not a first time of just ‘something’ at all. It will be a first time of outwitting and winning!