Monday, May 09, 2005

Lesson In Subtraction

I got an email from our alumni office: “In your prayers, please remember Fr. Prudencio Macayan, S.J. who passed away in the Grace of our Lord on Sunday, 8 May 2005.”

He was with the high school Math faculty from 1966 to 2003. He was my first year math teacher. He actually looked quite funny: a bony body, a Chaplin-like moustache, and a badly crafted toupee sloppily placed on his scalp. But the moment he stepped into our classroom and fastened his stare on us, he turned into the terror teacher he was known for. Suddenly his moustache looked more like Hitler’s. His voice had this sinister growl rumbling underneath. His favorite expression was “Gad demmit!” And nobody dared to make fun of his false hair, at least to his face.

Fr. Macayan could throw a chalk or the blackboard eraser with unerring aim at a sleeping student or someone not paying attention. He had the habit of pointing at someone suddenly and randomly to answer a question; most of the class would be on edge, praying silently that his bony finger won’t be pointed at our direction. He always injected his lectures on math with lectures about life. And we also found out a bizarre habit of his: he talked to the trees scattered all over the campus. Apparently he believed that plants would grow better if one talks to them. I don’t know if the trees grew out of encouragement or out of fear.

Whenever we look back fondly at our high school life (cue music: “High school life, oh my high school life…”) we always mentioned Fr. Macayan with a mixture of fondness and awe. More than just math, he taught us the basic theorems and axioms of life. Now that he’s gone to the great Math class in the sky, should anyone of us misbehave, I expect a piece of chalk or eraser to come hurtling down from the sky and hit him on the head.

Adios, Fr. Macayan. That’s one more memorable priest gone. Gad demmit!

4 Comments:

Blogger Nelson said...

Why are all Math teachers the terror teachers? My math teachers were like that too--kaya siguro mababa learning curve ko sa Math, kulang sa aruga at himas? ;-)

5:34 AM  
Blogger McVie said...

Feeling ko uso noon ang teaching thru FEAR, tapos the more difficult the subject, the more fear should be injected into it.

Wala lang, fanciful theory lang.

9:47 AM  
Blogger sky said...

I have a theory too that Math profs have this certain "air" and they expect students to live up to their standards. If they can teach a difficult subject, they feel they are indeed superior and can impose anything at a whim.

But then again, so do Religion teachers. Ironic nga e.

9:59 AM  
Blogger McVie said...

Oh, but I had great Religion teachers. Most of them were priests, some were female. Young or old, they never had this air of superiority. Or at least I felt they were imposing stuff on me.

Most of them were trying to make a boring, stuffy subject interesting, which is why I guess I appreciated their efforts. Maybe I was lucky to be in a Jesuit-run school.

10:17 AM  

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