Episode 8 – Thursday, July 9th, 2015 (6764)
I want to go back in my time from the past and let’s throwback when I was studying high school at International Montessori School (IMS) exactly 10 years ago. It was my first non-deaf institution that I entered for the continuation (actually) of my fourth year (senior) high school after my wonderful experience in the U.S. in 2005, and it led the beginning of Post-Deaf School (World) Era. Let’s read from my article called Tent on IMS (I just made it summarized):
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Located inside Golden City subdivision in City of Santa Rosa, Laguna, IMS was my third school to study after PSD and ASD, and it was also my first time to study in a non-deaf institution after I was transferred from PSD after coming back from the exchange program in the United States (where I studied at ASD) for almost one year.
My shift led my life anew which was called “Non-Deaf World” (coined as the beginning of Post-Deaf School Era) after I had studied in deaf institutions, particularly in PSD where I had been there for 10 long years as a “deaf” student, and ended my school life in so-called “Deaf World”. As a new student at IMS, I resumed my senior year (fourth year) high school at home because my graduation in ASD was not accredited due of the exchange program. However, because I must go back at my original school, PSD, to continue my fourth year high school, I violated the rule and the agreement of the exchange program. But, nevertheless, my move was given consideration because of my improvement from my experience as a foreign exchange student.
However, my stint at IMS was considered as my worst school and most widely criticized because of bullying by some of my non-deaf classmates, being lonely from my former deaf friends, and criticisms that I felt not comfortable with the school environment and system compared my last attended school, ASD. Despite of these distractions, this improved my socialization with non-deaf people and maintained my grades high but ended my supremacy (as being top of the class) after 11 long years.
Right after my unforgettable and most memorable experiences in the United States, particularly my host school, Alabama School for the Deaf (ASD), where I studied there for almost one year, I came back home with a shock when I was told by my mother about my unexpected transfer from my old school, PSD, to continue my studies as a senior (high school). Aside of another adjustment of my new school life, I was deeply sad because after my long years at a deaf school like PSD where I was a “deaf” student, I would be now a student in a “new world” (a “Non-Deaf World”). On July 11th 2005, I attended my very first school day at IMS even though I showed up from my enrolment four weeks late after the school opening in June. I felt anew especially the environment of the class where my new classmates are non-deaf and making too noisy unlike during my days in PSD and ASD because most of my classmates are totally deaf.
However, transferring to other school like IMS caused me into controversy after the rule from the exchange program states that I must resume (or continue) my studies as fourth year (senior) in my original school where I first attended before passing the exchange program. The coordinators of the program the exchange program argued me that they would file a case against me if I remained to study a new school or else I could promptly absorb my studies back to PSD (which was I refused because of favoritism to my mortal enemy who could possibly become my “rival” if ever I came back there). Because of the controversy, I temporarily halted my attending classes at IMS and took a leave of absence until solving the issue (and my classmates thought that it would be my last day in IMS, so that some of them sent their “goodbye” messages to me).
But despite of controversies that I faced, I was still able to come back at IMS for my “second coming” although my case was pending until it was granted to be considered because it showed my remarkable progress in my speech and personality.
Life in IMS
The school environment at IMS was so differed from my previous attended schools such as PSD and ASD because of “noisy” students even though their classrooms were separated, and the doors were always closed during the classes. Although IMS was a private institution, some of its students were just in average level of society (or source of income), and even the school was just so small compared to the public schools or even PSD and ASD.
Aside of new environment in my school life, I felt unhappy to bond with them because of being silent. Because of my experience using sign language way back during my PSD and ASD days, I couldn’t afford to use it anymore, except for teaching them sign language if they wanted to do. Most of my classmates were noisy and sometimes playful (mostly boys).
My Academic Performance During My Stint at IMS
During my first school days at IMS, I was hardly registered to get high grades especially in Filipino subject where it was my weakness because, although I’m able to speak Tagalog, I was unable to construct deeply Filipino phrases and sentences even writing an essay in Filipino. However, in the next three quarters, I started to improve my grades even though I still hardly got a high grade in Filipino which the average was only 86 at the end of school year.
Nevertheless, I was still passed all the academic requirements by getting my overall average of 91.27. That grade was not so bad where I maintained my grades 90 above, but it was not enough to reach into the top of the class which I was finished fourth. And this led me to decline my supremacy after being number one in the whole class in almost 11 years, mostly in PSD.
The awards that I received during the graduation day were: Achiever’s Award (with general average of 91.27% but with a grade below 85%; with medal), Duty Award (Citizen Army Training), and Best in Mathematics (with medal).
One of my most criticisms when I was at IMS was my playful and freak classmates who bullied me so much (but not in all times). One example was during our vacant time when one of my classmates used to play me when he threw a scattered piece of paper to me for his “attention” (papansin). Other incidents were happened such as two of my freak classmates fooled and put a Swiss knife to me threatening to borrow my ballpen, throwing some pieces of paper to me, and playing on me while we’re in graduation practice which made me so angry and walked out from them and our classmates. These made my school days worse than before, and I got traumatized for these bad incidents.
Aside of bullying, I also condemned the school when I observed during that time, even thought it was a private, being lack of school materials, environment, and facilities such as small classrooms although these were in air-conditioned (but even some air-conditioners were sometimes impaired), broken floorings, vandalism on the chairs and the walls written by my freak classmates, having a huge hole at the wall, littering some trash besides there was no garbage can of its own, lack of educational books at its library, limited use of computers (and these were really obsolete using older version of Windows), and the school canteen where it was just like a sari-sari store with a lot of junk foods (mostly) which were not recommended for students to buy and to eat inside the school. These were very far to compare during my deaf school days in ASD and even in PSD.
I also criticized the education system in IMS because of some teachers were hot-tempered because of their stubborn students, and even they sometimes shouted them even the female students in front. During idle time, my freak classmates had their horseplaying, to be noisy and especially I didn’t like the way when some of them deceived or sometimes laughed on my speech every time when I was in front of the class which made me mistreated compared to my school life in PSD and ASD where my deaf friends were treated me most. Another thing that I disliked was having their secret group such as fraternity which caused their bad influence after school hours (or even cutting classes) such as taking drugs, having a drinking session, and even having sex at the young age (fortunately, none of my classmates became already a mom during that time).
My Life After IMS
After graduating high school from IMS, I enrolled at Polytechnic University of the Philippines – Santa Rosa Campus as an Information Technology (I.T.) student, and I would meet new friends, who were not from IMS, to become my new classmates, and later they would be my closest and wackiest friends, as well. As of now, I have never heard or received some news either from my former IMS classmates, former teachers, or even staffs. Some of my freak classmates who bullied me before became my enemy (blacklisted) and eventually they were already excommunicated from any form of communication and friendship.
9 years after I left IMS, the place has been the same as before, but I don’t know if there are some changes occurred especially inside and thru the administration. I have never visited that school for unknown reasons. There was one time when one of IMS Administrators invited me and most of my former classmates to have a class reunion. However, I really refused to attend their reunion because of security reasons especially where some of them who bullied me during my IMS days were present that caused me trauma, and I really don’t want to see them. Actually, I really hate reunions from my old classmates (either from PSD, IMS, or even PUP-Santa Rosa mostly my former I.T. classmates) because I really don’t want to refresh my bad memories from the past with them.