08:07 PM January 21st, 2013

By: Josephus Anthony C. Bumaat, January 21st, 2013 08:07 PM

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

—Robert Frost, “The Road Not Taken”

After graduating high school valedictorian in 2005, I had no clue on what course to take up in college.

My calculus teacher who had noticed my knack for problem-solving encouraged me to pursue mathematics. Unfortunately, BS Math was frozen due to limited takers. The dean endorsed me to enroll in BSED Math instead, but I refused. I envisioned overworked yet underpaid teachers like my mom who don’t get the credit they deserve. I went home clueless about my future.

A week later, I won a government scholarship. The coordinator told me to enroll in a business degree and promised me employment. I swallowed my dislike for business and took up accounting just to save my parents from paying my tuition.

The system said I was overqualified even after I passed the 2009 CPA board and had no work experience yet. I reread the contract and found no required course or assurance of employment. I applied for work with private industries but then, overqualified  na  naman!

Just when all hope seemed lost, I was allowed to sub for a math teacher in a high school. Standing in a classroom full of young minds waiting to be inspired, I felt an indescribable euphoria filling up the emptiness in me. I had found my passion!

I saw the real ME unleashing the skill my calculus teacher had noticed. I explained lessons with fluency and ease while trying to level with the understanding of each learner. I went home exhausted each day, but the sense of fulfillment kept me coming back for more. The various roles I played and the modest pay didn’t matter. I felt an inner peace each time I utilized my potentials and skills to satisfy my students.

My three months of substitution ended and I landed a job at the Commission on Audit. I was thrust from my comfort zone to a boring environment, but my teaching memories lingered. Oh, how I missed talking and listening to students! I couldn’t see myself checking vouchers and receipts every day until I retire.

Though it took me so long to discover where I truly belong professionally, I couldn’t afford to let my passion die with my past. Society may brand teaching as the career for unfulfilled graduates without stable jobs, but I swore to overcome the odds by enrolling in professional education units.

Being a wide reader, I could content myself with merely passing the LET, but no! I so wanted redemption from my troubled past that I wanted to be in the Top 10.

Every night, I read random concepts and answered general info quizzes in the Net. I used a basic math reviewer for engineers to compensate for math topics I didn’t encounter in college.

I even enrolled in My Review Coach, an online review of Mind Gym Philippines for non-NCR residents. Most of its topnotchers were from the University of the Philippines, but there was no stopping this island boy from rising and being a cut above the rest.

I gave it my best last Sept. 30, and two months later, I became Mr. Top 4.

Now arises the dilemma: money job vs. passion job? Having found myself, I’ll choose the better one this time.

Josephus Anthony C. Bumaat, 23, is a state auditor at the Commission on Audit in Tagbilaran City. He is vying for a national item in the division ranking of secondary school math-teacher applicants this year.

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