One day in the summer of ’85, I was seated in a cozy couch beside my Mom located inside a small but charming little school. From where I was seated, I can see that there is a mini playground right outside the classroom and a tree stands staunchly in the middle of it all. This made me more excited about going to school as I’d have a bigger place for me to run and play. This is the day I’m supposed to take my initial evaluation exam for the Principal to determine if I’m good to go for Kindergarten or if I still have to go through Nursery. Here are their basic requirements for entry to Kindergarten as I remember it:
- Should be able to identify basic colors
- Should be able to identify basic shapes
- Can recite and recognize the alphabet
- Can count to 10 at least and recognize numbers
- Has the ability to write her/his own name
My mom’s confident that I’ll do good in this evaluation and that I don’t need to go through Nursery anymore. She’s a teacher herself and a good one in fact, so even at a tender age I already know how to read, write, identify colors and shapes.
And so I was asked to come inside the classroom for a one on one with the teacher. First test, identifying basic colors – panis! I passed with flying colors (boohoo, corny!)
Next exam, identifying basic shapes. Like the first part, tapos agad, di man lang pinagpawisan. Same thing happened for the third and the fourth part of the exam.
Then came the last exam. It’s as simple as writing my own name on a sheet of paper. This time, I was asked to join the other kids who are, like me, undergoing the entrance exam. The teacher instructed me to sit beside this tall, pretty girl who is obviously at least a year older than I am. When we were asked to start writing our names on the paper handed to us, I wasn’t paying attention to my stuff at all and was just in awe, watching the girl beside me write her name in script. In my mind, I was like saying “COOOL! she’s pretty, she’s tall and she can write in script” and “Poor me, I’m negra, I’m frail and I can only write in print”. And so the pretentious, inggitera Joy took over “ha!, if she can do it, I can do it too!”
And so, to the shock of my teacher and to the horror of my mom, this is somewhat how my paper turned out to be:
During the discussion part, my mom, for the life of her, couldn’t understand how her legible child suddenly became dysgraphic. A secret, that up to this day, my mom still doesn’t know of (not if she reads this though). Good thing the teacher took my mom’s word that I can really write and accepted me in Kindergarten right away instead of having to go through Nursery first.
Thank you Ms. Fely Baterina for taking a chance on me. I Could only imagine that my life would have been totally different if I had to go through Nursery first. You are one of my greatest influences during my formative years. You taught me how to sit properly, how it is always good to share and why it’s important to always keep my fingernails clean. Well that and many others. I know you’re in heaven now smiling down on us. Like how you used to be our North Star, when we were still Twinklers in our Star Scout days.