Of Shoes and Values

I usually do random checking of my student’s uniform after flag ceremony, but last week, my students got a surprise when I told them to show their black leather school shoes to their classmates. I asked them if they were satisfied with the cleanliness and shine of their classmates’ shoes, to which I heard a unanimous “No sir!”. When I asked them how often do they clean their shoes, one student was actually quite proud to answer:

“Sir, I don’t really clean my shoes. My mom does it for me!”

Okaaaaay. Right there and then, I required all of them to bring shoe cleaning materials the following schoolday after our school holiday President’s Day – rags, brush, and shoe polish, cream, or wax. I was intent on teaching them how to make their shoes shine.

I was pleasantly surprised when yesterday, most of them really brought these materials – some brought newly-bought ones, while the rest have stocks at home. Only a few did not bring because, when I inquired of them, they mentioned they already knew how to make their shoes shine. As for myself, I brought another pair to shine which I usually only use for special occasions, and not my everyday school shoes.

To start off our common learning experience, I instructed those who have laces to remove first the laces of their shoes. After which, the first step would be to wipe off the dust and other debris stuck in the crevices of their shoes with a rag. This my students did, and they were already having a contest who could wipe off the most dirt. Yuck.

Second step would be to use another rag to spread either the cream or wax evenly on all exposed surfaces of their shoes. When asked why use another rag, I explained that if they used the same rag which they used to wipe off the dust, then they would just be reapplying the dust to their shoes again. Some brought the liquid type – the easy way out to polishing shoes. For those who brought these, I instructed them to spread the liquid sparingly; they do not want to have a lot of this liquid as they need to wait for it to dry up first before brushing.

Finally, with their brushes, we all brushed our shoes until everyone was pleased with the shine. Most of them again had a contest who could brush the fastest, the longest, who could make their shoes shine the brightest. One student who used the liquid polish did not wait long enough for the liquid to dry up, thus, when he brushed his shoes, the liquid polish ended up splattering across his uniform! Well, at least, he learned from first-hand experience!

After about five minutes or so of brushing, all of them were greatly pleased with how their shoes look now! Some even exclaimed their shoes were shining as if these were brand new again! Some were not yet satisfied with how their shoes shone, thus they resorted to reapplying more wax and brushing again. Generally, everyone was happy with the new skill they learned for today. And to end our session, I reminded them that I will not be checking their shoes, but hopefully, they will form the habit of cleaning, polishing, and shining their shoes at least once every two weeks.

I believe that, sad to say, the generation of our students today are much different from what we were before in a sense that these “life skills” are not being taught anymore. I learned shining my shoes when I was still a kid, with my father only giving my allowance for the schoolweek ahead during Sunday evening if he is only satisfied of my schoolshoes’ appearance. Hopefully, with this simple shoe-cleaning demonstration we did, I have imparted to my students something that they will carry throughout their lives. More than the skill of cleaning their shoes, values such as perseverance (Ayaw matanggal ng dumi? Sige, linis pa more!), hardwork (Masarap ang pakiramdam kapag pinagpaguran mo ang kintab ng sapatos mo!) , and pride (Ako nagpakahirap maglinis ng sarili kong sapatos!) may hopefully be instilled in them.

And to my old man up above, thank you for teaching me how to clean my shoes. 🙂

(Image taken from http://www.preventishoes.com/blog/it/2014/04/01/los-mejores-cuidados-para-tus-zapatos/)


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