Story by Stephen Pedroza
Her photos may have gone viral on social media recently but it was her story that captured the hearts of the people.
Clariz Jane Lasala, a teacher from Butuan City, carried the baby of her young student while the latter was taking a test. The high school student could not find someone to take care of her baby at home so she brought her daughter to the classroom.
“Ma’am, pwede ko mag-excuse sa quiz today, wala man g’yud makabantay sa akong baby?” begged the student. (Ma’am, may I be excused from the quiz today because no one will take care of my baby?)
“Take the quiz and I’ll take care of your baby,” Teacher Clariz replied.
Their exchange was posted on Facebook and has soon been shared by netizens and the media, calling the act as "inspiring and courageous."
“It was definitely something I would do in that kind of situation, seeing someone doing her part and exerting an effort … as a student would, naturally make you want to help,” Teacher Clariz shared. “I carried the baby for almost two hours while her mom took the exam but I didn’t feel any struggle while the baby was with me because I accepted the situation as a blessing.”
The event helped Teacher Clariz realize that being a teacher “doesn’t always equate to conducting quizzes, exams, and projects.”
She said: “I wanted her mom to know that she was not alone in her battle, especially at that moment. I want her to realize that whatever hardships she may go through as a student and as a mother, she will never be let down by the Man above.”
Many teenage moms face the stigma when they come to school with their baby in tow. But Teacher Clariz decided that she would volunteer to take care of the baby so her student could take the test along with her classmates.
“For me, being a ‘teacher for others’ must be the ultimate goal of every individual that ought to educate because I strongly believe that teaching isn’t about how much we receive but it is all about how much we put into giving,” she said.
Teacher Clariz wanted to show her support to the student who strives hard to finish her studies despite the challenges of being a teenage mom.
The family, friends, and netizens alike praised Teacher Clariz, saying that many would have misjudged and turned the student away as the baby would be a distraction in class.
Teacher Clariz attributes Xavier University - Ateneo de Cagayan, her alma mater, for the formation she has undergone: “Xavier Ateneo molded me to become a better person whose heart is filled with God's love and live by God's words. The institution didn't just give me the answers to my long wonders but it taught me how to make decisions without sacrificing my faith even in the toughest of times.”
She graduated with a degree in BS Business Administration major in Business Economics in March 2019.
“Xavier Ateneo pushed me beyond my limits that made me become an individual that can be a person for and with others. It served as my home and sanctuary that nurtured my growth. It helped me find God in all things, to love and understand people with their own tales,” she shared.
“It helped me embody the principle of cura personalis (care for the whole person) to love ourselves and others. It helped me realize the values behind the wise words nemo dat quod non habet (no one gives what they don't have).”
Her story has helped spread awareness for being a good role model as a teacher.
“We, teachers have so much to offer, we can do more and more for others. God gave us different missions and I think it’s time for us to do our part,” Teacher Clariz said.
“Being a teacher takes so much courage because we have to deal with different personalities but if we will take the situation as a reason to grow and serve others, we will soon realize that being a teacher is indeed a blessing.”∎ (Photo courtesy of Clariz Jane Lasala)