by Ralph A.

Work is hard, very hard. As an adult, it gets worse, and for Mrs. Nereyda Garcia, it’s not simply being an adult. It’s being a mother of three, a teacher of many, a supervisor of many events in Xavier School Nuvali, and a person of her own. To her, however, each of these versions of her support each other. Of course, this was something she had to learn.

Mrs. Nereyda Garcia, also known as Ms. Garcia by students and Reyds or Ms. Reyds by her friends and co-teachers, has been a teacher for over 10 years already. Besides being a teacher, she also takes on the role of Formation Coordinator of Xavier School Nuvali.
During Mrs. Garcia’s high school years and throughout her college years, teaching was far from her mind. It wasn’t cool, and no one in her family was a teacher. When she entered the University of the Philippines-Diliman, her original plan was to become a lawyer. At first, she believed that her becoming as a teacher was an accident because she thought that she was only accompanying her friends to apply for the job, but it turned out that she was the one who got hired. When she was hired by Xavier School San Juan, she thought to herself that she would just stay there for a year just to try teaching. After a while, she started indulging in teaching, and then her thoughts about it changed. Now, she believes that it was no accident in her becoming a teacher, and eventually changed her plans from becoming a lawyer to becoming a full-time teacher.

After her teaching years in Xavier School San Juan, she decided to resign and transfer to St. Scholastica’s College Manila for one of her daughters, She was informed by Mrs. Choo that there will be a second Xavier School in the South because back then, Mrs. Choo was her team leader. Eventually, she transferred to Xavier School Nuvali to make it easier for her family by putting her children into one school to be much closer to them and to spend more time with them, as her children used to study in three different schools.

During her first years in XSN, she was feeling uncomfortable because it was a really different environment. There were very few teachers, and they got home very early, but then she gave herself time to adjust, and when she saw that her kids were happy, well taken care of by their teachers, and in a friendly environment– that’s when she felt good about her decision.

She was hired first as a Kindergarten teacher in 2014, but at the time, she thought she wouldn’t like being a Kindergarten teacher, until she started loving the kids.

Two years later, she became the first ever “Formation Coordinator” in Xavier School history. She was chosen by Father Ari and Mrs. Choo because they believed that her experience in Xavier School San Juan as a teacher, as a team leader, and as an officer for the teachers organization were enough to prepare her for this job.
In San Juan, there was no Formation Coordinator because the role was divided into 3: CMSO Coordinator, SAP Students Activity Program Coordinator, and the Ignites Coordinator.

Mrs. Garcia is the one handling all of the positions, with her job being  the Formation Coordinator of the school which is a great challenge for her considering this is the first time that Xavier School Nuvali has a Formation Coordinator. She handles all the students’ programs like recollection, retreats, all the workshops, and different seminars. She told me her favorite part of the job was making sure that they enjoy, and learn from the activity, be it service interaction, recollection, scouting, clubs, etc. She is the one preparing everything: taking care of the module, making sure that she puts the right people at the right tasks, and choosing the best people for an activity. Her favorite part is when she sees the students develop their character and show their values.

Also, she handles the faculty development, and the one who takes care of all the different offices. We don’t usually notice her position or know who’s the one responsible for all the activities in the school because we don’t see her that often. We always say and think that, “Oh it’s the planned activities of the school,” and sure that’s true, but we don’t really know who exactly the person making sure everything goes according to plan, and that the students have fun enjoying it.  Well now we know, the one working “behind the camera” is Mrs. Garcia.

She also told me her not-so-favorite part of the job. Maybe this is the same for all teachers. It’s working during the weekends. Normally, a lot of student activities happen on a Saturday, like recollections and all the workshops and seminars. Even though weekends are for relaxing, resting, and spending time with your families, she told me that it is fine with her because she knows that she is spending her weekend well for others.
What is incredible is her mindset towards her job. Even though sometimes it gets hard and very challenging, she is always up for anything no matter how difficult it gets. She told me that, “ I believe that you have the choice in everything you do. You have the choice to be thankful, to be kind, and to be happy. It all depends on your attitude whether you’re working in a school, in a big company, in a small company; it all depends on your attitude toward your job so when you choose to be thankful for where God brought you, it is easier for you to be happy and when you’re happy it’s easier for you to be kind as well, so it’s a cycle. So I always tell that it’s always you who has the choice to be happy, kind, and thankful. Those three things are very important.” What is rewarding for her are the development of students and them being able apply their morals and values in their different activities and in their everyday lives.

Mrs. Garcia is also a mother of three. In every decision she made in her life, she always considered the well-being of her children. She told me that during the weekends, she tries to bond with them, to adjust and tend to their needs, to their interests, and also to be able to catch up with them because she and her kids have a busy life. She always tries to make sure that they are doing well in school and that there are no problems. Sometimes, they encounter different problems, but she tries everything that she can to fix it. She knows she is not the perfect mother, but she tries the best that she can, just for them to be happy. Even though Mrs. Garcia has a busy week, she does not let that get in the way for some family time. She very deeply values her relationship with her kids. Being a mother is not easy because there are many things she has to do to attend to their needs and also while being busy at her work.

There are three things she told me during the interview that struck me because I thought that she would just answer the questions based on the content without really opening everything up. First, she told me that she did not just want to do a normal interview wherein she just answers the questions, but also she wanted to give honest answers because she told me that she wanted me to learn and not just think that “Ah, isa lang ‘to na interview” (Oh, this is just a another interview). Second, during the interview, she wanted me to learn that no matter how hard it gets, may it be academics or different aspects in my life, I should stay strong and keep embracing the challenges because those tests makes you stronger and a better student and that everything is all about your attitude towards the different things you encounter.”

Finally, the last thing that struck me was when she told me, “Never lose time for yourself because if you do not have any time for yourself then you cannot give time to others. If you are not happy then you cannot give any happiness to others that is why never forget about yourself and use that time to recharge because sometimes it can be really tiring with all the work.” She ended the interview saying that the world can be tough and tiring sometimes because we tend to forget to have time for ourselves and also because our mindset changes, which leads to us backing down when there is a challenge right before us. That is why it is very important to always have time for ourselves to recharge and to use that strength to face the different challenges that are put before us every day and to always remember that attitude is everything in everything we do.

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