The Substitute Teacher


When our teacher in Character Formation took a leave of absence, Ms. Dimaculangan was hired as substitute. Actually, she is good. She has mastery of the subject, fun to be with, very energetic, and never boring. She could have been a great teacher…. except for one thing…

“Good morning class! Let’s begin right away. What do we have for today? Hhhmmm! Aha… you have an assignment. I told you to find some quotations related to INTEGRITY. You will be called one by one in front. You will recite the quotation, recognize the author… then after that… what do you do… EXXPPLAINN. Is that clear? Hhhmmm…. What? Are you asking why you need to acknowledge the author? To avoid PLAGIARISM (mispronounced)….”

Then I told her… “Ma’am it’s PLAGIARISM.”

“Ahh… PLAGIARISM… Okay… sorry… I’m only human.”

“Now … let’s have first…. KULLLAASA… Stand up Kulasa. Begin! Acknowledge the author first… to avoid PLAGIARISM…

“Ma’am… My quotation was from… from…”

“From who Kulasa? Why can’t you say it?”

“From Fran… Francois (mispronounced)?”

“What Francois (mispronounced)? Spell it.”

“Ah… F-R-A-N-C-O-I-S.”

“Ha, ha, ha… That’s Francois (mispronounced also)… my Gosh…”

I smiled again and had to tell Ma’am that it’s Francois. Ahh, that’s my role in her class. To watch out for her pronunciation and grammar. Glad that she would never take offense whenever I correct her.

“Hhhmmm! Kulasssaa! According to the expert, that’s Francois.”

“Okay Ma’am, you really are very good.”

“Don’t say that anymore Kulasa… I know that already… But thanks anyway.”

“My quotation is from Francois Demetry. It reads… “Prosperity achieved by losing integrity is shameful.” Ah Ma’am… Did I read properly all the words? You are my idol in pronunciation and grammar. I mean… you know.”

“Kulasa, are you insinuation something.”

“Then I said.. Ahh, Ma’am shouldn’t that be insinuating?”

“Yeah… yeah… I know…. I mean, are you insinuating something”

“No Ma’am. I’m only telling the truth. You really are my idol! Ma’am… do I still need to explain the…”

“Not anymore… it’s self-explanation.”

The class had a good laugh again.

Then Kulasa blurted… “Correction Mam, that’s not “self-explanation…” but “self-explanatory.”

In the midst of the laughter of my classmates I saw how delighted was Ms. Dimaculangan. I started to suspect something. It seemed that she was committing all those boo-boos in pronunciation and grammar on purpose.

Then that night I chanced upon a public service show on TV. I could not be mistaken, one of the resource persons was Ms. Dimaculangan. I almost fell off  my seat when I heard our substitute teacher dished out perfect English in a distinct British accent, with impeccable grammar, pronunciation and enunciation. I could not believe what I heard and saw. It was a totally different Ms. Dimaculangan.

I was right with my observation, she intentionally committed those grammatical slips and mispronunciations. Probably, to elicit laughter and get our attention. Her ploy was effective. We enjoyed her. Despite her “intentional” bad grammar and pronunciation , we learned a lot from her. I remember that at times when I was not in the mood to check her pronunciation, she herself would do it. I decided not to tell my classmates about my discovery.

After her last meeting with us I approached Ms. Dimaculangan. “Ma’am I saw you on TV one night.

My gosh… Abelgas… you saw me in the boobtube (mispronounced).

Ma’am, it’s “boobtube.”

She just smiled and gave me a wink.


(NOTE: This declamation piece was used by the Bulacan Private Schools Association [BULPRISA] for their 2014 declamation contest – Elementary Level 2)


Teacher-Writer-Advocate for Self-improvement M, A, and D are the initials of my two first names (Massuline and Antonio) and my mother's family name (Dupaya). Ligaya (a Filipino word which means happiness in English) is my family name. MAD is actually one of my nicknames aside from Tony and Ching. My full name is Massuline Antonio Dupaya Ligaya. Many times I was asked the question "Why do you write?" I don't write for material rewards nor adulation. When I write poems, stories, and essays, when I do research, the process of creating them gives me immense joy and seeing them completed brings me great satisfaction. I don't write for cash incentives, "likes," and "praises." I would be thankful should I get those but the happiness and sense of fulfillment I get while doing them and completing my works are my real rewards. Is teaching difficult? No! When I teach, I don't work but I play. My educational philosophy - "The classroom is my playground, the students are my playmates, and the subject is our toy." I am a lifelong learner too. My daily goal is to be better than I was yesterday. It's difficult, but it's worth the try. It's not for what I get from doing it but for what I become. Proud to be me! Proud to be a FILIPINO! TO GOD BE THE GLORY!

Posted on November 14, 2017, in BULPRISA, Declamation, Dramatic Monologue and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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