I never thought that teaching would be this tiring. I was used to the fatigue and stress brought to me by my studies but I was not prepared for this. For the past few hours, I’ve been talking unstoppable. I should’ve borrowed a lapel from our department because I could really feel that my voice is now hoarse. It’s a good thing that I’m teaching freshmen students. Since they are new to the school, most of them still don’t know each other and would remain silent.
I only have three classes today – the class where Ed was my first, followed by an 11:30 to 1PM and 1PM to four in the afternoon. I have no break and I was regretting that I didn’t eat that much during our brunch. I was headed to my next class when I saw a familiar face. It was Ed. He was standing outside the classroom with a paper bag on his hand and the other was inside his pocket. His head lifted up when he heard my footsteps. “Good afternoon Mr. Santos. Are you waiting for someone?” I asked.
A sly smile appeared on his face. “Uhm, yes Ma’am.” He said.
My brows rose up. “I don’t have the authority to ask who, but I’m guessing it’s a friend, a girlfriend perhaps?” I teased.
The young man chuckled and scratched the back of his head. “Not really po.” He answered. He bit his lower lip and lifted the paper bag and gave it to me. “I .. I brought food.”
My brows furrowed and I glanced at the paper bag and back to him. “For whom, Mr. Santos?” I asked.
I saw him bit his lower lip. “It’s for you po.” He shyly said.
My mouth gaped a little. What does he mean by that? “Oh, well, how much do I owe you?” I asked. Edward reached for my hand that was holding the key to the room and made me grab the paper bag he’s holding. “Just eat, Ma’am. I know you don’t have any break. Bye.” He said and ran away. I was about to go after him when I saw that it’s nearly 1PM.
I groaned and took a turn to go to my assigned classroom. I got in and as usual, the students followed. As they took their seats, I opened the paper bag Edward gave me. Inside, there was a burger and a bottle of water. On top of the burger, there is a sticky note, with a smiley face on it and at the bottom right, ‘Ed’ was written.
This is wrong.
I don’t want to assume things already, but I do think that Edward here developed some sort of ‘liking’ for me. This is not really good. My head snapped back on the class that was now sitting before me. “Good afternoon class.” I greeted and some of them greeted back. I did the normal introduction that I’ve made to my earlier classes. I discussed the course syllabus and I gave them their permanent seat plan just to buy some time. An hour passed and I still got an hour a half to kill, so I started my formal lecture.
The first topic on the syllabus is about the branches of science. I started giving them ideas, and the class was quite active. I guess they really are passionate about biology or maybe this topic is lighter compared to the other lessons where they could really feel like their head is going to explode because of too much information.
“Am I going too fast? Don’t worry, maybe someone can give me their flash drive today so you can have a copy of the powerpoint presentation, will that be okay?” I asked and the class nodded. Since its afternoon, their eyes are all sleepy, while some at the back are already on the verge of sleeping. I can’t really blame them since I’ve been on their position, but it’s really different when you’re already teaching. You will always have the feeling that what they are doing is disrespectful. But I don’t know, for me, they can sleep in my class but they should still be responsible on their grades.
I was discussing something about cells when the door bolted open. A man came inside. He’s wearing a white and navy blue checkered polo, none of the buttons were done and his gray inside shirt is seen. His sleeves were not properly fixed and looked like he just pushed it upwards. He has a bag slung on his right arm and a black filler notebook on his other hand. “I’m sorry I’m late.” He said and made his way inside the classroom and sat on the vacant seat at the last row.
My brows furrowed. Is he my student? Well, he doesn’t look like he’s in the age bracket of these freshmen. On second thought, maybe he is. Who knows right? I mean this is college. Everyone who wants to learn can enroll providing they are high school graduates. Freshmen are still allowed to dress in their civilian clothes for the whole week and I really don’t know if he will count. “Excuse me, your name please?” I asked. The man kept his head bowed down like he’s too busy in writing something on his notebook. “You Sir. Mr. Checkered.” I said.
The student in front of him turned around and called his attention. The man looked up and narrowed his eyes at me. “I’m Mr. Checkered.” He said slowly like he’s confirming if he is who I’m calling.
“Yes.” I shortly replied. That’s when I noticed that his eyes are chinky, like he’s Chinese. His eyes really looked like slits from where I’m standing. “Your name, please.”
A smirk appeared on his lips before he looked at me behind his eye glasses. “Santelices, Ma’am. Richard Santelices.” He answered then bowed his head again and continued scribbling. My eyes narrowed at him and I just decided to put his name on the paper. I continued my lesson and discussed the overview of the organelles of the cell.
“What’s the mitochondrion’s function?” I asked. Some of the students raised their hands, most of them were the same students who I’ve been calling earlier. My eyes dropped on that checkered polo. Then I decided to call his name. “Mr. Santelices.” At first I thought he’s going to say something foolish but if I bet my fortune on that, I would end up going home penniless.
“In student’s term, it’s the power house of the cell. It undergoes cellular respiration that has a byproduct of 34 ATP essential for the energy of the cell, thus for the whole function of the body.” He replied without looking up and I bet when he does, he would see that all of the people inside the classroom are looking at him. “Should I discuss cellular respiration?” He asked as he lifted his head.
His question threw me off guard. Just who is this guy? “That won’t be necessary. It’ll be discussed –“
“Ah, and Ma’am, did you know that the mitochondria is also used in DNA testing?” He continued and I got tongue tied. I didn’t know that. A smirk flew on his lips as he saw that I don’t have the answer. “The cell’s nucleus is not the only one that contains the DNA. The mitochondria also has one, named as mitochondrial DNA. Let’s take, for example, your mitochondrial DNA, Ma’am. It can be used to know your biological mother if you don’t know her because mitochondrial DNAs only came from your mother, and your mother got it from her mother that got it from her mother that got it from her mother and so on and so forth.” He proudly stated with a smile on his face and the whole room goes quiet. “Ma’am? Do you know why we only got our mitochondrial DNAs from our mothers?” He asked.
I think my heart skipped a beat as the attention of my students was shifted to me. All their eyes are watching me, making me feel like this is the last position I want to be in. Is he really a student? How does he know these things? Being a teacher really is hard, especially when things turn around 360 degrees in a blink of an eye. I bit my lower lip and assessed his question because I’m taking this as a challenge. Assuming that what he said is right, then the passing of genes might’ve happened during fertilization. What happens during fertiliza – oh he is good.
“Mitochondria of the sperms are usually located in their flagella, so that they could supply the cell energy for their locomotion. While the mitochondria of an egg cell remains inside the egg and is not harmed since it’s just waiting for the sperm to come whereas the sperm travels a distance to reach the egg. And when united, the mitochondria of the sperms are most likely destroyed and also because the number of mitochondria in sperm is less than the egg.” I answered and I do feel like I’ve raised my chin so high because of my response.
I smirk appears on the man’s face. “Very well said Ma’am.” He replied. “So guys, that is how a simple organelle can make so much difference in a person’s life.” He said and the students gave a chorus ‘oohhhs’ since our conversation was so fascinating. “Follow up question, Ma’am. If you want to know who your father is, what could you do if you’re a boy?” He asked, his eyes narrowed but there’s a hint of smile in his lips.
I swallowed the lump in my throat. This is definitely genetics. Then the answer hit me on my face. “Y chromosome. Females have XX as their chromosome. The first x came from the mom, while the other came from the dad. In males, they have XY instead. X from the mother and Y from the father.”
He nodded at me. “Very good, Ma’am. I wonder what happened to your Genetics subject.” He said and my mouth gaped. Who the hell is this guy?! And how does he know about my failing grade in Genetics? I was about to say something when a raised hand appeared in my view. I put a smile on my face again and called her.
“What’s ATP po?” She asked.
I took a quick glance of that checkered guy and saw that he’s now on his iPad and seemed like he’s reading something. I couldn’t really tell him to keep it since I know that iPads are educationally used here in PUS. I turned my attention back to the student and answered her question. Then another student raised his hand and asked something about mitochondria.
The time dragged on and I dismissed them. Students quickly left the room. They seemed so excited about going home. I reached for the tissue and started erasing the writings on the board. The students seemed to be so fascinated about the mitochondria and I discussed so many things about it already.
When I turned around, the man in his checkered polo is still there. He’s still writing something on his notebook and didn’t even bother to leave. I cleared my throat, but still he didn’t notice me. I slowly walked near him and from where I was standing, I saw that the page of his notebook is already filled with terms and his penmanship is really terrible.
“If you’re going to ask for my notes, don’t bother.” He said, making me jump in surprise. What is this man’s problem?
“Excuse me?” I asked, finding it surreal that he asked me such a question.
“I said that you can forget it if you want to ask for my notes.” He said again.
“And why would I borrow your notes? I have mine.” I replied. “And what’s your plan? To go through college without letting others read your notes?”
“Yes because that would make them lazy. They would think you could always provide them with notes and would end up always asking you for it. Then when they get good grades, they would always think that they are geniuses but what they don’t know is that without my notes, they will not survive a single quiz.” He said without looking up.
I rolled my eyes. This man is a complete freak! No wonder he’s stuck in college at his age. “Excuse me, but you need to leave Mr. Santelices. As you can see, the room is now empty and I need to lock the room.” I said. I didn’t mean to be rude but he started it.
His head bolted up and observed his surroundings. “Oh, right.” He stood up and swung his bag on his shoulder. He was holding a piece of paper on his hand and stood in front of me. “I’ll see you later. Ms. .. uh,” he looked at the paper and read my name. “ . . del Rosal.” He said and headed for the door while my mouth was hanging wide open.
Del Rosal?! Seriously?! I grunted and stomped my way on the front desk to grab my bag. Next time I see this man, he will pay!
I got back on the faculty and sat on my chair. The other professors are still not back and I think that they already went home. I sighed and sat back on my chair. Then I remembered that I need to be on my class in less than thirty minutes. I quickly grabbed the paper bag and started munching the burger Ed gave. I really need to pay him.
“Maya! You’re back! So, how was your first day?” Ma’am Ched asked as she walked near me.
“It was fine Ma’am though my food management was a bit off.” I replied.
“O right. Well, you need to eat quickly. The dean is early and he might even start his lessons thirty minutes before the time.” She said.
My eyes widened and I swung my head to the left. The light inside the dean’s office is now turned on. I glanced at my watch and saw that it’s close to that thirty minutes. What happened to the time that I was supposed to keep? I scrambled to my feet and grabbed my bag. “I need to go Ma’am. I’ll just finish eating this on the classroom.” I said.
“Good luck on your first day my dear! Be careful on munching!” Ma’am Ched’s voice followed me until I reached the door. When I entered our room, some students are already inside. I sat on the third row and drank water. It felt like I’m on a marathon today.
Just when I finished my burger, the students inside the room scrambled to their seats. That’s when I know that the dean is near. I fetched the mirror inside my bag to see if I look presentable. My hair, my face if oily .. not, my teeth, alright, I’ll do.
The door opened and a man in a black coat entered. I glanced at his face and saw that he’s Chinese because of his .. wait, why does his eyes look so familiar?
Holy mother of mitochondria.
He got to the desk and faced us. The familiar white and navy blue checkered polo is under his coat, which is now buttoned up. He glanced at his students and his gaze got stuck at me. I smirk flew on his lips even if he wiped it off immediately.
Holy holy mother of mitochondria. This is definitely not happening!
“Good afternoon everyone. I’m Dr. Richard Santelices.” He said as he wrote his name on the board, with the letters PhD after it. I’m the dean of College of Science.” He said with his familiar voice. I do bet my mouth is gaped again. His eyes stopped at me again. “And I’ll be your professor for the whole semester.”
A/N : So sorry for the late post! Hope everyone is okay po. I cannot promise another chapter right away. Kagabi lang po nagkakuryente sa’min at marami pa po akong pending na gagawin, tapos examination week pa po. Salamat po sa pag-intindi ng college blues ko 🙂
P.S. Alam ko pong mukhang magulo ‘yung nangyayari sa kwento. Intay-intay lang po tayo 🙂 Kung may mali man po akong nasasabi, please correct me~