“Maya! Dalian mo na male-late ka na!” My mother yelled at me from outside the room. Today is Monday, which means that I’m going to start working a few hours from now. And do you know what the best part is? I overslept. Yes, I overslept! I was still awake around two in the morning and woke up an hour later than I used to. And now I’m really running late!!
After putting on my clothes, I sprinted outside and grabbed a banana. “Nay! Uuna na po ako!” I yelled and sprinted outside.
“Hindi ka ba kakaunin ni Simon?” I heard her ask inside the kitchen. I grunted. If only Simon could, then I wouldn’t be running late. His shift is really preventing us from seeing each other. We barely saw each other for almost three weeks!
“Hindi po Nay! Busy po ‘yon. Sige na po. Babay!” I quickly said and got outside our house. I couldn’t afford to say goodbye to Kute so I just made a mental note that I need to send a text to her. I hailed a cab and prayed that the money that I’ll be paying in this ride would be totally worth it. The text message confirming my employment caught me off guard the other night. I never expected that the answer would be given during the same day, let alone just hours after the interview. Don’t get me wrong, I was really happy about the message but I couldn’t help but wonder why it came that night yet Mrs. Garcia told me that it’ll still be after a few days.
I quickly walked inside the campus, and saw that I still have fifteen minutes to spare before school starts. I breathed in relief. I thought I was really late. I headed to the direction of our college’s faculty. Before I opened the door, I tried to fix my clothes and get some creases off. I took a deep breath and put a smile on my face. Today is a first. It’s the first time that I will walk inside of this faculty not as a student, but as a professor. I nervously opened the door and walked inside. Some of the teachers are already inside with mugs of coffees on their hands, as they were conversing with the other professor.
“Maya, oh, Ms. Dela Rosa, I mean.” Mrs. Garcia said when she spotted me. “Ah, please, let me introduce you to your fellow co-teachers. I guess I don’t need to introduce you to them because I think that you already know them.” She said and I just gave a nod. She’s right though. I’ve already known every teacher here because I would always consult them, especially during thesis work. “Everyone, this is Maya Dela Rosa. She’ll be a part-time professor from now on and I hope that you’ll treat her not as a student, okay?”
“Of course, of course. Ito namang si Ched, parang hindi kami sanay makatrabaho.” Mr. Gomez said. “Well, Maya, welcome to Biological Sciences Department.”
“T-Thank you po.” I stammered and the other teachers smiled at me. I guess they fully understand the whole reason why I might be so freaking nervous.
“Let’s settle your schedule, Maya.” Mrs. Garcia said. She led me in front of her table again and gave me my schedule. It was not really that hectic. I have to be at school around ten and it would end at four. Then my class with the dean starts at six, and would end at nine. I don’t have any classes during Wednesdays and Saturdays but I have to be at school at around one in the afternoon to attend my subjects that will end by seven.
“Your table will be here Maya.” Ma’am Garcia said as she led me this table completely away from them. It’s beside a closed room. The sign on the room says ‘Dean’s office.’ “The books are also here and the department can provide you the laptop and the PowerPoint presentations but it’s really you option if you want to use it and use your own. I do recommend it. Most of our laptops are really outdated and laggy. Is this okay to you?” She asked.
I gave her a nod, really unsure of what I will do next. “Uhmm, Ma’am I just have one question though.”
“Sure. What is it?” Sue asked with a smile. She actually looks really delighted on giving me my space. I don’t even know what I did that I will become isolated to them!
“W-why am I staying at the table near our dean’s office po?” I politely asked.
“Ahh. Well, I was hoping you will agree to help our dean from time to time. He usually works by himself and doesn’t really want any help from others. And based from what I can see, he can’t really handle it very well especially that he’s studying in med school.” She answered.
So it was really true that he’s still studying. He just got another point in earning my respect. How hard is it to be a dean, a PhD degree holder and now, he’s trying to achieve having the letters MD after his name? “Of course Ma’am.” I answered. Who wouldn’t want to help this man?
Ma’am Garcia smiled at me, looking very happy with my answer. “Well, I should leave you now. If you have any questions, I’ll be on my table. Your formal class will start at ten, as it says on your schedule. I can feel that you won’t need my help regarding your subject since its Biology. Well, good luck then.” She said.
“Thank you Ma’am.” I replied. She smiled back at me before heading on to her table. I settled on mine. I found it quite uncomfortable first because I was the only person isolated, well, besides Ms. Garcia but I’m awkwardly positioned in front of the table of the long table for the teachers and they could really observe what I’m doing if they choose to. At first, I was wondering if our dean is in, but when I saw that the light inside his office is off, I put my thoughts to rest. I won’t be seeing him anytime soon.
I’m really curious on what he looks like. If I’m going to sum up the years that he’s been living based on the years he’s studying, I guess he’s already on his thirties. Argh, why am I even thinking about him? I’m at work and everything that should cross my mind is about work. Well, yes, he’s work-related but no! He’ll never be an exception.
Around nine in the morning, some of the teachers asked me to join them for recess and said that an empty tummy is never really good when teaching. We ate at the school canteen. And I find it quite amusing that I’m now sitting at the teacher’s corner while I can see my former classmates eating theirs on the other tables while reading their books.
“So Maya, your first subject will be at ten, right?” Mr. Gomez asked as he munched on his sandwich. I smiled politely and nodded. “Well you must be nervous as hell! Even if I’ve been teaching for years here in PUS, I always get a little nervous whenever it’s my first class.” He said.
“Sus Maya, wag kang maniwala dyan kay Sir Mar. Wala nang kaba ‘yan! Natakot na dyan ang kapangyarihan ng kape.” Mr. Molina said, whose field is on Microbiology. We all chuckled at his remark. “With all due respect Sir Mar, if I may say so, you’re just making Maya feel more nervous!”
“Don’t blow it Ryan! Kaya ko nga sinabi ‘yun para kabahan talaga siya eh!” Mr. Gomez said and laughter roamed our table again. “Nah, I’m just kidding, Maya. So, how are you feeling?”
“I’m fine Sir Gomez. Well, at the moment to be exact. Ewan ko na lang po mamaya.” I replied, making them laugh.
“Ah, don’t call us by our surnames, Maya. Para ka namang iba. Just our first name will do, right guys?” Ryan suggested and the others said their approval. “Ah, just not with the dean. I don’t really want to call him by his first name. It just seems so … disrespectful.”
“Really Ryan? Kahit best friend mo si Sir?” Ms. Belmonte asked. Ma’am Zenaida is on the field of teaching basic Biology like me. Really? Sir Ryan and Sir .. Sir Dean are best buddies?
“Yep. Well, yeah, he insists, but I’m the one who disagrees. I mean c’mon, he’s our dean. I need to set some boundaries. And I do bet that he doesn’t really get enough sleep now. Ayokong mangulit, lalo na ngayon na nag-aaral siya sa med school.” Sir Ryan continued.
“So the rumour that I heard when I was still a freshman was true?” I muttered and in a snap, all their heads turn to me. “Uhm, the one that our dean is in med school while he’s still our dean.” I unsurely continued.
“Ah yes, Maya, that is true. That’s why he’s seldom here.” Ma’am Zenaida answered. But why? I mean he already has a doctorate degree, shouldn’t that be enough? I asked inside of my head. “Yeah, Ryan, I was wondering the same thing. Maganda na ‘yung naabot niya. Why pursue MD further?” Ma’am Zenaida asked and that’s when I realized that I just said what was supposed to be a question inside my head only.
“Ah, good question. Please just don’t tell him that you got the answer from me, as you all know that he is a very, very private person.” Sir Ryan started. “As far as I know, it’s his father’s choice for him to be a PhD because being a professor runs in their blood. Being a medical doctor has always been his choice so I guess you could say that he simply followed his dream.“He answered and took a bite of his burger.
“Maya, have you seen our dean?” Ma’am Zenaida asked with a smile on her face. I shook my head and she gaped at me. “Seriously?! For nearly four years here at PUS, you haven’t seen him? Even once?!” She asked.
I shook my head again. “Well, it’s not like he’s always here po right? Even if I need him to sign my paper, Ma’am Ched would do it for him by stamping his signature.” I said and they listened amusedly. “He’s not present during orientations, uhm, he’s not usually the substitute teacher when none of the professors are around and .. oh, I-I’m sorry, I really didn’t mean to say such things about him, it’s just that –“
“Don’t worry, Maya. We fully understand.” Sir Ryan said. “Well, my friend really enjoys his privacy. There are just a few people that he trusts. And .. you’re kind of wrong about him not being on campus. He always visits the school after his school hours. Hindi niyo lang talaga siya nakikita, o baka naman nakikita niyo pero hindi niyo lang talaga kilala.” He said.
Sir Ryan might be right. Even if I’ve been in PUS for almost four years now, I still don’t know half of the students here and if our dean is really that careful not being known well, I’m giving him credit for that. I wonder what he looks like. If Sir Ryan and he are friends, then it means that their age is likely close enough. Wait. Why I am suddenly interested in him? Oh right, technically, he’s kind of my boss now.
“Alright, let’s go back now. We don’t want Maya here to be late on her first class.” Sir Mar said. “Basta remember, Maya, kakabahan ka dapat para may thrill.” He said making me chuckle. I will definitely remember that.
Five minutes before the bell, I was already headed towards the room. It was just a room beside our faculty office so there’s really no need to rush. I could feel the students exchanging whispers when I unlocked the door of our room. I headed inside the classroom and the students followed suit. They settled in their temporary seats and went quiet. I was advised to make a seat plan for them so that it’ll be easy for me to know who’s absent, who’s active in class and such.
I stood before a young man and I smiled at him. “Can you please lead the prayer? Thank you.” I said and I think I just saw his cheeks turn red. I stood at the far left of the classroom as he said his prayer. After that, I walked back at front and looked at my students. I don’t know if I should blame Sir Mar because my heart is really at my throat. “Good morning class. I will be your Biology teacher. My name is Maya Dela Rosa. I’m a BS Bio graduate and I’m currently studying my masters here in PUS.” I said and the students just paid attention to me. Yep, they are really first year students.
I just discussed the syllabus of the course, what they expect to learn from this class and what topics we would tackle. Since it’s just an hour and a half class, the time dragged on quickly. It was already 30 minutes before the bell when I checked on my watch. “So, are there any questions?” I asked and some just kept on staring at me while others shook their head. “Are you sure? Even personal questions will do.” I said, making it as a joke at first but I was surprised when some students raised their hands.
“Yes?” I pointed to the lady at the back. “Ma’am, what time are your consultation hours?” She asked.
“Ah, well, you’re my fist period of the day, so I guess I could come here around 9AM if you ever have questions. I will be here by Wednesday and Saturday but because of my classes. Anyway, I think you can talk to me whenever you see me, as long you can see that I’m not busy.” I said. The lady thanked me and jutted something on her notes.
“Ma’am, ilan taon na po kayo?” Somebody asked and I saw a young man grinning at me. I raised my brows for a second and then I returned a smile. “I’m 22.” I shortly replied.
The young man that I pointed for the prayer raised his hand a little, like he was hesitating to do so. “Yes?” I called him.
“Uhm, d-do you have a boyfriend po?” He shyly asked. The class made a chorus sound of ‘ayieeeee’. I could only chuckle at them.
“Yes. He’s a soon-to-be doctor.” I answered. An ‘awww’ sound was heard inside the classroom while some patted the young man on his back saying “Okay lang ‘yan Ed, marami pang babae dyan.” They said and laughed.
I glanced at my watch again and saw that it’s already fifteen minutes before time. As a protocol, I have to dismiss them at this time. “Alright guys, the class is now dismissed and I’ll see you all again on Friday. Have a good day.” I said and the students quickly packed their bags, some thanked me and bid their goodbyes before heading outside, while I was erasing the board and removing the connection of the projector to the laptop. I was going to turn it off when I saw that young man again, reaching for the off button on the projector that was attached on the roof. “Thank you.” I said. He gave me a smile and he blushed again.
“My name is Edward Santos Ma’am.” He said. “You can call me Ed po.”
I nodded my head. “Alright Ed. You can go now. I don’t want you to be late for your next class.” I said.
He nodded happily and a huge smile spread across his lips. “Bye Ma’am. Ingat po kayo.” He said and headed for the door, but he looked at me first before he closed the door.
I sighed and shook my head. This is going to be a long day.
A/N: Late post! Caught up with quizzes and paper works ugh. Ang tagal dumating ni Richard sa story. Stay tuned! Thank you for the warm welcome of WYWG!