Words by Hannah Angelique Bacani
High School Musical got us to believe that school’s super cool with all that singing and dancing and handsome basketball athletes. But let’s be real, that’s not how it is. Especially if you’re in a public school where proms are held at the school grounds instead of fancy hotels, and some students double as school workers. But although you may not be allowed to wear anything cooler than your school uniform, some public school experiences are actually just so great, you can’t keep them private. 😉
Here are seven things only people who ever went to a public school can understand:
7. Lots of classmates, lots of names
I’m one of those few people who can actually remember people’s names quickly and match it with their faces. What can I say, studying in public school has given me years of training. Public schools are ooover populated. That means each class has at least 50 students. If, in college, you can survive a whole semester without knowing your seatmate’s name, that ain’t gonna work in public schools. If you want to be their friend and earn that space in their slam book, you gotta know their names, sis.
6. School is also your resident health care provider
Never ever forget to let your parents sign those waiver forms and permission slips. Or else, you don’t get to have those free deworming chewable tablets. Or that vaccine shot for flu. Sometimes, you also get free check-ups and dental exams. Gosh, you really feel like you’re being cared for in public schools. Or at least your health is…
5. Hand-me-down books
Public school students don’t get to own books; you only get to borrow them. At the end of the school year, you return it to the school so the next set of students could use them. So don’t freak out if you get a book that’s yellowing, has a lot of dog-eared pages and has been used by ten other people from ten years ago. Also, don’t write anything on the book. And never, ever lose them or you’re going to have to pay for it.
4. Calling all underweight students, get your free lunch at the school canteen
This is something I personally never got to experience. As an overweight kid, I never got to be a part of that feeding program for the underweight students in school. Every year, all the student get to compute their body mass index (shout out to our MAPEH teachers for teaching this), and if you’re underweight, the school will prepare a free meal for you. As if that one meal can help you gain some weight. But still, FREE FOOD!
3. Sorry, was agriculture part of the curriculum?
School’s the perfect place for learning and discovering new things. And learning’s not limited to only Math, English, and Science. In public school, learning expands to farming and agriculture—digging, planting and land tilling are required for students, usually under the heat of the Philippine sun. Nobody said the schoolyard doubles as a vegetable garden?
Only to find out that, a year later, all that kangkong we planted and have started to grow will be ripped up because the mayor’s finally constructing a running track. 🙁
2. The worst day of the week is the day you’re a cleaner
Because school is our second home, as teachers say, you also have to learn to do household chores in school. So bring that broom, bunot, and floor wax to school and start polishing that floor, or else, your section won’t win the cleanest room award at the end of the month. AND! Wear a foot rug. We don’t want all that floor shine to disappear.
1. Tuition is not the only thing that’s free
One of the main reasons parents opt to send their kids to public schools is the free tuition. One less thing to fit in the tight budget. But more perks of being a public school kid is, really, free bigas. Yes, rice! We get to take home kilos and kilos of rice. It may be NFA, but it’s enough to last for a whole week. And if you’re lucky, you also get to have your uniforms and school supplies for free. Gotta love your city mayor.
Class size might be a struggle, ‘cause you always have to fight for that seat near the electric fan, but the truth is, the experiences and memories you make in public school are things that are hard to trade for anything.
Did you go to a public school too? What did you enjoy most about it? Tell us in the comments!