CLASS RECORD: Hey! Your’re scarin’ Ms. G.! PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 18 November 2011 15:05

BY Christine Y. Guinacaran

I am not easily intimidated by power or wealth. One thing I have learned in life, is that the truly great people -- those who have gone to where they are now by hard work instead of influence, are more concerned with efficiency rather than the adulation of men.

Be this as it may, there is yet a group of eleventh graders in America who think of me as the most  cowardly teacher in the world!  Thanks to Ms. Stacy.

Miss Stacy, was my partner teacher  in the US.  Part of our 5- month training in the International Leaders in Education Program (ILEP), was a practicum in one of the local high schools.   She was an African American, forty -something years old, quite fat, and looked like Oprah.   I told her so and she just grunted then said “ I wish I had her money though.” I found her pretty.  In fact, very pretty.

The first time I met her was in the orientation program in one of the most elegant hotels given for all who would be involved in the program. I sat with my friendship family -- a doctor and his wife, their son and daughter.Then Medz my friend,   approached me  accompanied by this  lady.  She  told me that she would be my partner teacher.  After the preliminary greetings, and the “looking forward to working with you” speeches, she asked me if I were nervous, to which I replied, “ A  little.”

Little did I know that Ms. Stacy would make a capital out of my “A little” reply.

In the day of the practicum, we went together to her room and I remember being excited to make friends with the students I would be teaching.  They were seated in individual desks teasing each other just like what our students do while waiting for their teacher.  “Kids will always  be kids”, thought I. When they saw me they were curious, stopped for a while, then resumed their repartee.  Suddenly, out of the depths of Ms. Stacy’s diaphragm a loud sound emerged booming,  “You’re scarin’ her!”  as she  flung  her arm at  my direction.  I was shocked and embarrassed because I never intended to appear fearful and ignorant among these teenagers.  So I smiled my friendliest smile, trying to  convey a secret message to them  that I was not,  but in fact understood that they were kids. 

From then on,  she always threatened the students with        “ You’re scarin’ Ms. G!”  The kids too, afraid that I might cry anytime with the slightest misbehavior and maybe tell the principal that they quarreled me, would keep quiet for a while.

Another, is this Ms. G. thing. During my first day of practicum, she asked me in front of the class what my name was.  I told her “ Christine Guinacaran.”  Then she started exerting great effort in pronouncing my indigenous family name, but of no avail.  Who ever pronounced an ethnic name correctly anyway?  Even the students, feeling  that the futile excretion to pronounce my name  cool, also joined her in  experimenting on the different pronunciations of my name  to aid her,  but  of no use.  It was just impossible for them to pronounce it, they have really done their best and haven’t I, myself, witnessed how hard they tried to pronounce it correctly?  Ms. Stacy   lifted her hand in resignation, nodded her head sadly and  concluded,                 “ Sorry, can’t do it.”   So I smiled and said, “Just call me Christine.”  Then, scandalized at my freshness  snapped, “ Oh no, I would not let them do that!”  Then after a while, triumphantly declared,   “ Ah! we will just call you Ms. G!”   So I shrugged and said,” Ok.” 

Ms. Stacy also had a habit of talking to you with her back turned. One time, she was walking to the front of the class and was mumbling something at my back. I thought, she was talking to her students, then she turned her head to me and said disgustedly, “I was talking to you.”  She asked me to go to the front and showed me a gadget that looked like a projector but instead of using the transparency you projected a book.  She lifted her chin, closed her eyes a little and asked, “ Have you seen like this in the Philippines?”  “No,” said I.   After that she faced her snickering students then bawled, YOU’RE SCARIN’ MS. G!” 

I found out towards the end of the training, that she had a score to settle with me.  She resented the fact that I did not sit with her during that orientation program, and considered me a racist. She also told the students during our partner teaching that somebody said that she looked like Oprah and said, “ Hey man, that’s racist.”

Anyway, I  really enjoyed the practicum in that high school  despite the “You’re scarin’ Miss G.” of Ms. Stacy.  Everything worked out in my favor especially when  I taught  “ Hamlet.”     I discovered that children are the same everywhere.  When they get to know you, they  become  less antagonistic and end up really liking you as what had happened to me.  If there was one thing that scared me in that practicum,  it was not the students, neither was it my inadequate knowledge in manipulating the high tech devices of that school, it was not the stern-looking principal, but Miss Stacy.  Miss Stacy had the power to make me appear foolish in her class anytime she wanted.