When I first came to Bahrain, I was not looking for a “greener pasture”. I just leapt at the chance to leave home, go on a solo adventure in an entirely new country, and simply live my own life. After 10 years, I find myself re-assessing where I am now and asking myself if it is for the same reasons that I chose to stay here for so long.
I came to Bahrain filled with hope. Hope that things will be better in school. And yes, we have better facilities, an environment more conducive to learning and an opportunity to learn other educational systems and international curricula. Great challenges awaited me in Bahrain. Coping with homesickness, a culture shift, as well as the demand for a new job are simply taxing. Yet, I stayed… for ten long years I stayed.
Ten long years have taught me so much about life away from home. It taught me independence. It taught me to accept and respect cultural differences. It taught me to work with people from varied cultures. It exposed me to ways to life other than my own. It acquainted me with many peoples, students, parents, co-workers, friends with whom I shared parts of my life.
But if there is one thing I treasure, it is the fierce love and pride I have for my country. This pride I carry with me anywhere I go. This compels me to inculcate Filipino values in my teachings, to pass on the value of family ties, respect, hard work, merit, and fairness. This pushes me to ensure that students absorb these Filipino values as part of their lineage and culture.
Aptly said, that is what I hope to do: to make lessons fun and enriching; to make sure that everyone acquires a grasp of the concepts being taught; to open my students’ eyes to the wonders of learning; to tickle their minds and ignite their curiosities; to provide them the love and moral support to be the best they can be; to inspire them to dream; to touch their lives and yes… maybe touch their souls, too.
I dream of one day going home and sharing my Bahrain experience to the teachers and students in my hometown.
A salute to all PSO teachers for all their sacrifices to teach students of Filipino descent, the Filipino way.
Ms. Simbala, from Philippine School Bahrain, is the Philippine Schools Overseas’ High School Teacher of the Month. You can read more about her here.