May 29, 2017

PROFILES: Sheryl Kamantigue


I've never been a fan of Frappuccinos lately but on that sunny morning, I was just a couple of sips away from finishing my cup. That is also when we decided that it's time for our interview. At 39, Sheryl Kamantigue is a Professor at De La Salle University - DasmariƱas, my Alma Mater. I was blessed to have been one of her students during my college years and when I was teaching, she was not just a colleague but became one of my closest friends.

Prior to the interview proper, we were already indomitably speaking for two hours for we had so much to catch up. For five years, we taught students together and spent almost everyday at the same faculty room. That is when I have known her, when I really have known who Sheryl was. Strong, warm, and yes - inspiring. Sheryl was the only name in my mind when I decided that my next interview will be with a Teacher.

Stevenson Que: Good Morning Maam Sheryl! And thank you so much for accepting my invite to be my next guest.

Sheryl Kamantigue: Yes!

Stevenson Que: Maam She, let's say you are speaking in front of an audience, How will you introduce Sheryl Kamantigue?

Sheryl Kamantigue: I have to say, I'll introduce myself as Sheryl, the professor, the teacher in DLSU-D. I've been teaching for 15 years and I can say that I'm happy and fulfilled as a person and it's what keeps me going with my life.

Looking Back


Stevenson Que: Wow 15 years!  So, let's turn the hands of time, tell us who Sheryl was during her early years.

Sheryl Kamantigue: Early years as a teacher?

Stevenson Que: As a person.

Sheryl Kamantigue: As a person, I remember myself as someone who's really determined. When you come from a background where things are not handed to you, you have to strive very hard and that's the time when I realize that education is the most important thing for me to overcome poverty. And for me to be able to do things for my family. I am where I am right now because of that dream.

From L-R: Clara (Mother), Alejandro (Father), Sheryl, Alex (Brother)

Stevenson Que: Was there any situation wherein you almost gave up on that dream?

Sheryl Kamantigue: Actually, on a dream of having a degree, No. When I graduated highschool and I wasn't still sure if I will go to college, I had this determination to tell my Nanay [mother], I should go to college. I should study. Or else nothing will happen. It's my faith in the Lord that tells me to say those things and I was never wrong with that.

Stevenson Que: You have always been one of my heroes. Being the breadwinner to the family, you still maintained that effervescent positivity in life. Knowing that you have siblings, do you think that being the breadwinner was a matter of choice to you?

Sheryl Kamantigue: I suppose Yes. That's when I realize that when you pray and you are specific, God will give you the specifics too. Because when I prayed to be able to graduate and earn a degree, I told God that I'd provide for my family. Perhaps this is it, this is the time and fulfilment of what I have prayed for. So you have to be careful for what you pray for. Being the breadwinner to the family is something that that keeps me going. It's part of my mission in life so I suppose I don't regret it.
"The attitude of being grateful for everything
that you are blessed with, that's one
source of happiness." -Sheryl Kamantigue
When you come to a point in life where you get to accept the situation you are in and you are thankful for it, because I wouldn't be able to be where I'm in without the help of my parents. The attitude of being grateful [to your parents], I suppose you are the person that you are because of them. I wouldn't live my life any differently.

Life as a Teacher


Stevenson Que: After we talk about your past and how you've been through life, let's talk about your profession. What is something different about being a teacher from other professions, in terms of character?

Sheryl Kamantigue: For me, I'm just being myself. People get to see me for who I am. Perhaps my students also accept me for who I am. My relationship with them is something that is so important that I don't have to pretend, to have to be someone else. That's why I don't have any difficulty relating to them. Teaching is really a noble job and I just have to be who I am. I just have to teach the way I believe I can influence my students and at the same time nurture them for being who they are.

Stevenson Que: How do you feel about living by the norms of what a teacher should be in this judgemental society? Do you think it's fair?

Sheryl Kamantigue: Regarding people?

Sheryl Delima Kamantigue

Stevenson Que: Regarding to the society that we have right now, where in you have to encompass certain characters to be something like a role model? Someone who is almost perfect?

Sheryl Kamantigue: When you relate to your students, they can see who you are. You can't hide, especially students nowadays, you can't fake them. They will know who you are, what type of person you are, based on your relationship with them.I'm not perfect but I suppose there's something in me that they see that I'm true and that I'm genuine. It is how I relate to them with my faith and belief [in God], that they see me as someone who is not a role model by being perfect, but a person they can imitate.

Someone who they can look up to, with the positive influences that I can give them. Because I can be a friend, I can listen to their problems, I can help them if I have a way to do so. I see my students as persons too. But more importantly, they are my students because I have to impart knowledge to them. But more than that, it's building a relationship with your students that makes them trust you and not judge you.
"Most students will forget their teacher, but they will never
forget the teacher that influenced them positively"
-Sheryl Kamantigue
Stevenson Que: I can attest to that because I have been your student. But to be honest, everything you said is actually evident and I can prove that. But how about for other teachers? Do you think it's fair that every teacher should watch themselves, their reputation with their students? Do we have an obligation to be almost perfect and be someone who should be imitated?

Sheryl Kamantigue: Yes, it's a big responsibility to be a teacher.. When you become a teacher, people look up to you, your students will look up to you. You are not perfect but your goal is to at least do things that will influence your students to do good.

As a teacher, attitude can influence your students. Even if you're not perfect, [but] you are trying at least to be perfect for your students, it's one way of getting the job done. Most students will forget their teacher, but they will never forget the teacher that influenced them positively. It's not always about the acknowledgement and recognition, it's being remembered that I have done or said something positive to them that they may always remember me by, that's already a mission accomplished for me.

Stevenson Que: Nowadays, do you think teachers of today are still respected by society? Why or why not?

Sheryl Kamantigue: There's this connotation that teachers are teachers because they can't go anywhere[in life, farther].

Stevenson Que: Oh Yes! I've heard that one.

Maam Sheryl and me during the 2014 Graduation Rites at DLSU-DasmariƱas

Sheryl Kamantigue: Yes. Society can be judging, but at the same time they can also be, [the term is] not forgiving eh, but very considerate. When people say that there will be no engineers, no lawyers, no doctors without teachers, that lifts the spirits of teachers up.

All professions must be respected, but I suppose it's how you separate teachers from other profession that makes you want to appreciate it more. At times, it's sad to hear these stories that teachers are regarded less, but at the end of the day, as a teacher, it is your own fulfillment that defines you. If teachers are not respected by the society, but as a teacher, you do everything in your power to be respected by your students or your friends or anyone who is in your circle, that's what's most important.

Stevenson Que: Was there a time that you had a difficult student? I'm sure! In my 5 years, I had a few, and you have been teaching for 15. Tell me about how you handled that situation.

Sheryl Kamantigue: Honestly, in my first years of teaching, I was very strict. These difficult students always give me a hard time-always absent, not submitting requirements, before i was really very furious. I was still in my 20s when I started teaching, I would retaliate. I would lose my patience. As you mature, you'll see that these students, these difficult students are those that have problems. Therefore it is better to understand and know where they're coming from instead of getting angry.

Stevenson Que: So it's not a matter of how the students are changing, it's a matter of how you change as a teacher.

Sheryl Kamantigue: Yes. Now, I try to see where the problem starts and try to understand my students. And if there's something that I can do, even if I have to get out of my way, I'd do it. Because there's always a reason why they are difficult, why they are doing these things to themselves, why they are the way they are. It's really a different phase, because before I just burst out in anger, even tried to get back at them. But now, it's a different story.

Love and Friendship


Stevenson Que: Tell us about this unwritten chapter, your Love Life? Is it really unwritten? Can you share about it?

Sheryl Kamantigue: I think it is really unwritten.

*both chuckles and laughs*

Because I'm in this point in my life where I am contemplating if I will still be able to get married or not. But when I talk to my best friend, what's nice about where we are in life right now is maybe because we are still needed by our parents that's why we are not yet married. It's a mission that we have to accomplish for our parents and not for ourselves. It's really good when I talk to your Ate Yen [Sheryl's Best Friend] about these things. But the good thing is we are still open to it, we're not giving up, yet. I suppose when you mature, the most painful heartbreak that you had is just something to laugh about now.

From L-R: Sheryl, Memey, Yen, Lhot

We've had our share of ups and downs when it comes to love life. We've met people we never thought we'd meet if not in that area. These people have helped us and shaped us to the person that we are right now. With your Ate Yen, I'm very sure she wants to get married. With me, I am...also, but I'm on the verge of contemplating that 'Lord, if it's not for me, then, it is not for me' I believe that every people has a calling. I may not be in the vocation of being married, but I can still be a parent to my nephews, students, therefore, it is not necessary for me to be a real parent. But I'm not closing my doors.

Stevenson Que: That's the good thing.

Stevenson Que: How do you manage to become both single and a person who is happy and thankful. Because I can see it in you.

Sheryl Kamantigue:I guess it's about being content with who you are and what you do. Knowing what could fulfill you. Being single has made me a stronger person, because I don't have to rely and do things on my own, I have to, I don't have a choice, but I'm happy. Being happy means realizing that you are where you should be, in a place where you are bound to. You don't need things, the affirmation of other people for you to be happy. The attitude of being grateful for everything that you are blessed with, that's one source of happiness. Therefore it's true! You can be happy and single at the same time.

Stevenson Que: You have been through a lot, I know that. I am very proud of what you have become today. Any words of encouragement to the Sheryl's today? people currently experiencing what you have experienced in life.

Sheryl Kamantigue: My advise, perhaps, is what I did. Because the experiences that I had were rewarding. Just have that dream, that goal, it's really important. At times I get sad when I realize that my students don't have that goal anymore because everything is given and provided for them. It's having this goal and doing everything to achieve it, to make it happen. And at the same time, balance it with your faith in God, your belief that things will go your way if you just pray and believe in yourself. I just prayed, I dreamed of earning that degree - which I did, and at the same time, I have this faith in God and with my family that kept me together.
"To those people who have been blessed enough,
at least be grateful for it;and still have
that dream that will make you feel
accomplished and fulfilled." -Sheryl Kamantigue
To those people who have been blessed enough, at least be grateful for it;and still have that dream that will make you feel accomplished and fulfilled. Have that sense of courage and determination that I had, things will go your way. It's not that easy but it will in time. There's no specific formula or element that you can use to get to where you want to go but you have to take people to journey with you. Put Emphasis in your character and how you deal and relate with other people. You can never say that you will not depend on people because  for sure you will need people to help you carry that burden, lift it up with you, and make your load lighter. Have that dream and be very specific on what those dreams are.

Maam Sheryl at the Grand Canyon, USA - 2016

Stevenson Que: Finish this Sentence. I'm happy right now, but I still want to...

Sheryl Kamantigue: I'm happy right now, but I still want to have my own family.

***

PROFILES is a new segment on my blog which will be a one-on-one interview with an interesting personality, as I ask them to share a page of their life as they know it. I've always wanted to be a journalist so this is my way of feeding my hunger for that little taste of being a host. Through this blog, this world that I can call my own, this is my talk-show.