Our former colleague from the Division of English, Department of Humanities, College of Arts and Sciences in UPLB, Prof. Ruperta “Perting” Asuncion passed away. Cancer took her away, but memories of her impossible dedication to teaching and mentoring will not go forgotten.
Teaching is a thankless job, but Ma’am Perts is one of those who treated it like a calling, a real profession. She was never absent, never late, she “boasted” during one of our last meetings with her last year. She always wears a threateningly serious face that matches her aura that tells you she’s not interested in any monkey business–student or colleague.
I liked her scent, old age,for she reminded me of my mother (both of them are Ilocana) when she was inches away from me, talking to me, how English 2 should be taught: with extreme attention to detail and disciplinarian attitude so that each student learns not only how to excel in acads but how to make it through in real life, where diligence and perseverance count.
When her illness got the better of her, I took over one of her English 2 classes and I was surprised that the students have finished the Library Research Paper in 3 months. They were all proud. They understood the uselessness of procrastination and the urgency of things to be done–something that Ma’am Perts has told them. They understood that they have to undergo this rigorous process to be better equipped in the future. They also told me that Ma’am Perts would talk to each of them (that’s why there’s always a loooong line outside her cubicle) commenting on their individual performances and advising them in their personal academic lives like a mother.
That is love. Stupid love perhaps. But love is stupid by nature. And Mam Perts is one hell of an educator, writer, and performer!
If she’s still alive, I bet my arms, she’d kick the admin’s asses for even thinking of the large class scheme in Eng 1 and Eng 2. I’m sure she’d stitch her eyebrows together, close her fists tight, and blurt out Ilocano curses.
May she rest in peace, she whose cubicle is five steps away from mine.