I Wasn’t Born a Leader. Were You?

I wasn’t born a leader. Leadership got shoved on my plate. Why? I never really understood to be honest. I changed schools during high school. As a freshman, I became a class president and my dad became PTA president as well that same year. I was surprised for many reasons:

  1. I did not see myself as a popular kid. Ergo, I was not expecting to be nominated and voted as the president.
  2. I was new just like everyone else.
  3. I was actually kind of a nerdy kid.
  4. I was tomboyish = rough around the edges. I was not afraid around boys. They did not faze me because I grew up around strong women in my life: my mom and my sister.
  5. I never felt I was pretty = popular = I was insecure and unsure why they would choose me.
  6. I was friendly but not like I was gathering friends left and right.
  7. I did not want responsibilities = real truth! They had to really convince me to take the presidency. I was quite averse to the limelight. Also, I did not think I had the charm and will to do it back then.
  8. I hate president duties = I am not one to lead but got pushed into that seat. I will do it if I really have to. I like to do it well and right once I am in the position.

Thinking back, my college leadership opportunities grew as well. I was the appointed batch head (aka leader) because I was different. Picture a young ‘hippie’ girl who wore flip flops, khaki Capri, a black shirt (saying whachamacallit) donning a short boyish haircut (See picture above). I also became President of the first geological society (University of the Philippines Geological Society or UP GEOSOC for short) for undergraduates in the first and only National Institute of Geological Sciences — UP Diliman (NIGS-UPD).

My only regret was that I wish I was a better leader. Leadership camp should be done so as to equip the young ones with the tools they need for guiding others. The lost should never lead the lost or as they say:

The blind cannot lead the blind.

Now, I am a leader of children. I teach kids and adults of all ages. I never wanted to teach but those negative thoughts flew out the window when I first taught undergraduate courses in my Alma mater. I held a geology 11 (basic geology), geomorphology (landforms) and geophysics (essentially remote sensing of the rocks below) class back when I was taking courses in the Master of Science Geology program. I got hooked while I challenged minds regardless of age. I love seeing the spark in my students’ eyes. I enjoyed testing their critical thinking and encouraged them to ask questions. I was taught well by multiple professors but mostly by my most esteemed late boss and geochemistry Professor Rodolfo “Nonoy” Tamayo, Jr.†. I was his last university research associate. I was told he always wanted a student who will change the world. I think I am not too far from that dream. =] I say it with pride because I shape young minds into a scientific mindset using the Socratic method. I have introduced gravity, experimenting, and making educated guesses (hypothesis). In my next article, I will talk more on how I did it but my take away for you is this:

I am passionate about teaching because I love learning new things. I will share what I have discovered because when I write, I reflect. When I reflect, I learn.


Did you ever think you would be a leader? You don’t have to be a CEO to be considered one. I believe anyone who is an innovator, a go-getter or someone who takes the initiative is a leader.

Picture this scenario in preschool. I was teaching kids how to play the memory game. A child comes up and wanted to play FIRST:

Well, it’s not about being first [Bee]. This game is about being patient, taking turns and teamwork. You don’t always have to be first. Even if you are last, it is OK. If you can’t handle that, then go play somewhere else for awhile. Do you understand? — me

Yes. I. Do! — Bee

So, are you gonna play the game like the rest of us? — me

I [pause] WILL- Bee

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Published By

Anna Canto I read. I reflect. I write. I learn.

Originally published at https://www.linkedin.com.