05 May 2012

What if the Chickens Cannot Talk?

Back in the early nineties when I was still working in the Discipline Office of the high school, Marcia Guevarra of the Guidance Office and I devised this program which we called Career Exposure.

The concept was remarkably simple. To help the graduating seniors choose their college programs, we thought that it would be a good idea to take them out for them to see their prospective careers in action in the workplace.

Marcia Guevarra and her staff did all of the leg work. First, they conducted a survey among the seniors to determine career preferences. Those who expressed similar preferences were grouped together.

Then, they contacted establishments around the city to ask if they could accommodate groups of graduating seniors. They also asked if the establishments could designate people who could answer career questions that the students might wish to ask.

Each of the career groups was to be led to each establishment either by a teacher who was free or any of the office staff who could be spared. I was assigned the group which expressed interest in agriculture and related careers.

On the day of the exposure trip, I met with my group in one of the rooms, gave some instructions and soon we were boarding a jeepney for the short trip uptown. Our destination was LIMCOMA, a local cooperative that manufactured animal feeds.

We were at the venue in no time at all. Soon, a veterinary doctor in the employ of the cooperative joined us in the small room to which we were ushered.

As with other similar company visits, the veterinarian as was expected gave a short talk not only about the cooperative’s operations but also the other opportunities available to those who were interested in taking up Veterinary Science.

After the short talk, he asked if there were questions. The lad who first raised his hand was a student in my History class. I was surprised that he did because I knew him to be very shy.

Then the boy started to speak, “Pa’no nyo pô nalalamang may sakit ang manok eh hindî naman nakakapagsalitâ.”

I was initially embarrassed by the question; and inside my head, I was thinking, “What the eff sort of bleeding stupid question is that?”

And a good thing that I did not open my mouth…

As the veterinarian composed himself to answer, I paused to think about the question. If a person who is ill goes to the doctor, the first thing that the doctor does before even poking the patient here and there with his gadgets is to ask the person questions.

It was a good thing that I did not attempt to moderate because, I belatedly realized, the shy lad actually had a very good point. In fact, his question was brilliant!

The veterinarian, finally speaking, said so as well. He praised the lad for his ‘good question.’

And yes, he told the lad who was by this time beaming, diagnosing illnesses among animals was a bit harder compared to humans because one could not talk to them.

Imagine that. I never even gave the matter a thought before.

Although, the veterinarian patiently told the lad, that as with humans they also looked for symptoms to be able to make accurate diagnoses and prescribe medicines.

Unless the vet went around with the name Dr. Doolittle, of course… Nah, he did not say that!

At any rate, this was a learning experience for me; and in subsequent trips I was not so quick to judge the seniors when they asked their career questions.

In fact, I just pretty much left them to ask whatever they wished. They were the ones who had to make their choices, anyway!

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