High School Teachers

High School Teachers

One of the things I have been busy with this academic year: my Senior high school students in their NSTP class where they share stories to second and third graders. Teacher Bam and I bring our almost-adult-kids kids to two public elementary schools every Monday to inspire in younger kids the love for and of reading. The thought that I am able to build memories of this sort in my high school students’ hearts and minds makes me grin and smile in a sly way. Well, knowing what being a teenager is all about, the plan is to inspire them to help bring change in our country; but actually the greater plan is simpler: to care for, think of, and spend time with people other than themselves. For now, I think that is more than enough.

I’m making change after all.


On Being a Dad and a Teacher

I haven’t blogged since Nov of 2012. My mind is full of thoughts about life and where I am right now. I am about to end my third year of teaching and at the moment I am starting to think of other things I can do or other places I can be. Top of my head: do I really want to be a teacher?

Teaching sucks you into this limbo where you find your self asking, is teaching for me? For one, I cannot complain about my salary as mine is one of the highest-paying schools for an early grades teacher. The work does however make sure that that pay  is worth their pockets, thus I have meetings until nine, work I have to bring home, and  a class that I’m not even sure is paid.

Yes, money matters to me. Probably not as much as it matters to the bourgeois, but it does. You see, I have been, and probably will be teaching children most of my life. I want to for I find peace in being with them.But right now, it’s like I’m working the moment I wake up til the moment I sleep. It gets tiring sometimes. With this, it’s like I work and work and work to earn. Money isn’t working for me.

So what if it isn’t working? Well, it is my dream to start my own family (I proudly think I have what it takes to be a good dad) so I have to be financially stable to do that, and as society isn’t really accepting of people like me who are outside the norm–no laws to protect me, no marriages, etc., I have to work harder for I might have to do it on my own. Then again, who knows? 

So yes. Money matters to me because I will take more responsibilities when I become a father. I will be living for other people and I have to prepare for that. Right now, I don’t have the financial stability and by the time I become a father, I might have been already burnt out by teaching.

I love teaching, but how do I not burn out and earn more? three-robbersHere’s Tomi Ungerer’s The Three Robbers where they became fathers to many children 🙂

The Day I Openly Talked about My Homosexuality with My High School Students

Today is the day I felt I directly contributed to World Peace.

Our high school students were tweeting their hunches about our sexuality. So my co-teacher and I finally decided to talk openly about our sexuality and made it the topic for discussion where everyone can simply ask questions about homosexuality without fear and contempt.

Interesting questions came up.

  • How did you know you were gay?
  • Can you choose not to be gay?
  • Was it hard coming out of the closet?
  • Was it hard for you when you were growing up?
  • Do you want to have a partner someday?
  • Did you ever want to be a girl?
  • Have you ever had a boyfriend?

We explained several things about homosexuals too.

  • Being gay doesn’t mean we’re extra attracted to people–we are as attracted as anyone else
  • Not all homosexuals are pedophiles or sex offenders
  • Being homosexual and transgender are two different things altogether
  • Homosexuality is as natural as heterosexuality and that even if you don’t agree you have to learn how to respect these differences in belief.

It didn’t stop at homosexuality though. The entire point was respect and acceptance. In the end, all we are hoping for is harmony among people, that differences are to be embraced and not to be condemned, that this conversation we had with a bunch of 14 to 18 years old would help each one accept one another.

It was tough. It made us sweat like bacon in a frying pan, but we did it hoping to teach these young minds respect, love and human decency–hoping we made a difference.

(BTW, Here’s a book I really would love to have. Just saying! 😛  )

taken from http://booksforkidsingayfamilies.blogspot.com/

The Rain, My Students, Literature, and Water in my Head

In the past year, I have been learning about literary criticism and theory. I was forced to know who Spivak, Damrosch and Hunt are. I was taught that everything is discourse, a play of power and knowledge according to Foucault. I was made to evaluate representations, deconstruct narratives and construct and reconstruct canons.

I don’t know, but learning about these things also made me think I’m a superhero. Suddenly, I was equipped with different perspectives to view my world–which is mainly teaching children. Suddenly, though I may be in the bottom of the class, I felt I had more power to save the world, to change it.  Suddenly, politics and economics are involved. Suddenly, life’s issues aren’t just life issues anymore. I was starting to learn new things. Uncovering information that could very well protect me against baffling concepts or help me understand them.

And then I got my heart broken.

I am no superhero after all.

I forgot that learning about how the world works will not make you immune to unfathomable sensations such as pain within. That after all, I am still an individual who can get—well, wet.

It is raining so I decided to use Shel Silverstein’s poem in my class today. Though literature isn’t Darna’s stone or Peter Parker’s spider bite, it is still respite from inner chaos that I am sure even Spivak, Damrosch and Hunt cannot explain, or even problematize.


byShel Silverstein

I opened my eyes
And looked up at the rain,
And it dripped in my head
And flowed into my brain,
And all that I hear as I lie in my bed
Is the slishity-slosh of the rain in my head.

I step very softly,
I walk very slow,
I can’t do a handstand–
I might overflow,
So pardon the wild crazy thing I just said–
I’m just not the same since there’s rain in my head.

After the giggles of my grade 2 kids as they imagined the rain overflowing in the author’s head, I asked them to wear their jackets and to get their umbrellas.To their delight, I brought them outside and together we read the poem under the  “slishity-slosh” and pattering of the rain.

Right now, my thoughts are a puddle of questions, but for now my student’s laughter, their merry water splashing, should suffice in bringing peace in my head. Then again, maybe putting water inside my brain is still the better option. Then all I have to do is to step very softly, walk very slowly, and avoid doing a handstand.

Iloilo Love Affair

So I went back to Iloilo as part of the Mentoring the Mentors Program (MMP). The only thing different (aside from my weight) is I have more confidence in my being a comparative literature major mainly because of better grades (shallow, don’t you think?).

Well, with that I have come to talk to daycare workers/teachers not just as a pedagogue but as a comparatist-in-the-making as well. If only all teachers were comparatists then everyone would be more critical with the things they teach–especially the literature they use no matter how young their students are.

As I believe in mother-tongue (MT) based teaching and as K+12 will be following principles of MT, I humbly reminded daycare teachers in Iloilo that they have to strengthen their student’s Hiligaynon culture by, at the very least, looking for stories and books in their native language.  Here, I found an example of such a book.

Translated into Hiligaynon by Genevieve Asenjo, this book may just open a child’s world from thinking as an Illonggo to thinking as a human being who is part of this world.

Epistaxis 😛

On a more personal note, the participants really loved my talk on storytelling for teachers (based on their smiles and faces). It was very humbling. I still can’t believe that people listen when I talk (or maybe they are simply forced to). I enjoyed sharing with them as much as I enjoyed listening to accounts of their experiences. Ewan ko ba. Ang saya talaga makipag-usap sa mga kapwa guro tungkol sa aming mga classroom, estudyante ang pagtuturo. Pero syempre, andun pa rin ang mga problema ng mga guro. Kahit saan naman sa Pilipinas madalas pare-pareho lang.

  1. sweldo
  2. mga pasaway na bata
  3. mga pasaway na magulang
  4. mga pagbabago

Anyhow, I love Iloilo. I fell for it the first time I visited to give a similar talk and I’m still in love with it. Kung pwede lang sa Iloilo na lang ako magtuturo. I love its airport, its food (Aligue rice!) its people, its languages, its culture. Though I admit two visits are probably not enough to give someone an accurate impression of the place. Eitherway, it was another happy experience. Another moment, another memory that will help me through days when I feel burnt-out as a teacher.

I love Iloilo. I love children’s literature. I love teaching.

P.S. Thanks to _geek_ for the cakes, coffee, books and the wonderful conversations! See you soon!

Resign Pala Ha?

One of the Engagement activities I painted for my Kids 🙂

Dahil tingin ko ibinigay ko na ang lahat sa trabaho at na-burn out ako ngayong linggo, The Giving Tree ni Shel Silverstein ang tinuro ko sa mga bata.

At focus ko: Loving back people who love you.

Drama book for grade 2. Muntik na namang may umiyak na bata. Well ako hindi ako umiyak ngayong linggo (WEH?!).

Ok. Binalak ko mag-resign. Pinasa ko ang resignation paper. Nag-isip ako uli at binawi. Mukang ewan nga lang actually. Kaya naman hindi na nakapagtataka na nasabon ako dun. Sorry talaga.

Isa pang ok. Na-realize ko lang teh na ang exag at ang drama ko minsan. Feeling ko kasi nasa pelikula ako at may conflict. Iba na nga papanoorin ko. Si Popoy at Basya kasi nagsimula ng linggong ito. Ayan ONE MORE CHANCE ang drama ng career ko.

Isa pa ulit na OK. Hay naku, kahit ilang beses ko i-try iwan, tae! Mahal ko yung pagtuturo sa early grades. Pera lang talaga at pagod ang kalaban mo. In-attempt ko na naman lumipat ng trabaho (sales trainer ang kinokonsider ko. San ka pa?!). Wow lang ang walang kwenta at unecessary effects nito sa buhay ko.

Last na ok. Hindi naman ako nag-sna-snap everyday pero na-realize ko kulang pa efforts ko sa pag-deal sa emotions ko. Tae much. Tama, I-tatae ko na lang ito.

Ang bakla na masyado ng post na itech. Dahil  diyan, nanalo kaya si Heart Dino sa Elections?

Recover mode muna ako. Napagod ako sa drama ng linggong ito.

Special mention kay Maam Dedette ng UPIS CA EMA department sa oras na ibinahagi niya sakin at sa pagtulong niya sa aking mag-isip ng mas obdyektib (sorry at nawala ang etymology sa pagbabay ko ng objective). Teach! You saved my life today 🙂

Sa mga nagbabasa na hindi naman nag-co-comment: mag-comment naman kasi kayo bigla ko na lang nalalaman binabasa niyo pala ito 😛

BTW: Adjectives at Fractions ang tinuturo ko ngayon habang Canon formation at deformation ang sa MA. (wow, magkaugnay lang, hindi ba?)

2 Papers (MA) for March. Postive thoughts na agad! Dami kong babawiin at itatama sa buhay ko. KERI!

The Polar Express: Huling Kwento para sa taong 2011

Patapos na ang taon.Bilang huling kuwento at lesson sa taon 2011,  binasahan ko ang aking mga estudyante ng isang madramang libro na Caldecott awardee–The Polar Express.

Simple lamang ang mensahe na gusto kong maparating sa aking mga estudyante. Ito ay ang maniwala lamang sa kung ano man ang kanilang pinaniniwalaan: kay Santa Claus, sa mga anghel, sa pangakong uuwi si nanay ngayong pasko, sa pangakong hindi na iinom si tatay, sa kanilang mga sarili, sa pag-ibig, sa kahit ano pa mang magagandang bagay.

Nais ko na sana mapanatili nila ang kanilang paniniwala kahit sabihin pa sa kanila ng ibang tao na hindi totoo o hindi mangyayari o imposible ang kanilang inaasam, minimithi, ninanais. Marami na masyadong negatibong pananaw sa mundo, hindi naman masamang mangarap at maniwala.

Drama lang. Haha. Kasi naman, ang seryoso masyado ng buhay ko nowadays. Dami masyadong teorya, mga clashing ideas,  mga puna, mga problema. Ano ba yan! Haha kung tutuusin kailangan lang naman natin maniwala at umasa.

Drama talaga Hahaha. Anyway, pasko naman. Natuwa naman ako sa aking mga estudyante. Tuwang-tuwa at kinig na kinig sila. Isang maligayang kwento para kapaskuhan 😀

3rd National Conference on Children’s Literature

Four years ago, I was this lost kid who wanted to teach but didn’t have the guts to admit it; I was this kid who was overly inhibited to tell stories to children; I was this kid who enrolled in EDR 121 (Philippine Children’s Literature) under one of the best teachers I have met, Prof. Portia Padilla who introduced me to the magical world of children’s lit.

Fast forward to 2011, I am now going to be one of the demo-teachers at the 3rd National Conference on Children’s Literature on October 14-16, 2011 at the Claro M. Recto Hall, College of Arts and Letters, UP Diliman.

Excited and scared! I wonder how I’ll fair? I just wish I could bring my students with me and teach them in front of the conference participants. Hmmm…

28th National Children’s Book Day

Every year, the Philippine Board on Books for Young People (PBBY) celebrates the National Children’s Book day. Aiming to develop children’s literature in the Philippines, they give out two major awards in Children’s Literature.

  • Salangga Award (Writer’s Prize)
  • Alcala Award (Illustrator’s Prize)

This year’s Salangga grand prize goes to Eugene Evasco’s Rizaldy (whose main character is named after the Rizal Day) while an honorable mention was given to Patricia Marie Grace Gomez’s Pepe’s Gift. 

The Alcala prize was awarded to

  • Yasmin Doctor (grand prize)
  • Leo Agtuca (honorable mention)
  • Jonathan Ranolla (honorable mention)

Here is one of Yasmin Doctor’s illustrations.

The awarding will be held on the 19th of July–this year’s National Children’s Book Day

To read more information on PBBY and the 28th National Children’s Book Day and to read the manuscript of Rizaldy and to have a look on the other illustrations, you may visit their website at http://www.pbby.org.ph/awardees_2011.html

Happy reading!

Ang Ending ni Doraemon

Matapos ang ang aking pagpasa sa level 2 climb at 10 kM run, matapos ang unang markahan at magawa ang mga grado ng aking mga estudaynte, at matapos magtapat sa isang crush (hehe) ay nalaman ko ang katapusan ng isa sa mga paborito kong cartoons –Ang Doraemon.

Mayroon palang tatlong iba’t ibang katapusan ang Doraemon.

  1. Tumama ang ulo ni Nobita sa bato kaya siya ay na-comatose. Binenta ni Doraemon lahat ng gamit niya para mapaoperahan si Nobita kaya lang hindi ito naging matagumpay. Nabenta na ni Doraemon ang lahat maliban sa isang gamit na ibinigay niya kay Nobita. Ito ay magdadala kay Nobita sa kung saan man o kailanmang panahon. Sa dulo ay pinili ni Nobita pumunta sa langit.
  2. Si Nobita ay batang may Autisim na nasa bingit ng kamatayan. In-imagine lamang ni Nobita ang lahat ng tauhan kasama na si Doraemon na nagpadali at nagpasaya sa nalalabi sa buhay niya.
  3. Naubusan ng battery si Doraemon na isa palang robot. Maaring palita ang battery ngunit mabubura ang lahat ng memory ni Doraemon. Ang isa pang maaring gawin ay maghanap ng Robot technician upang buhayin uli si Doraemon kaya naman nag-aral mabuti si Nobita, nagtapos ng kolehiyo at naging Robotics Professor at AI Developer. Kaya naman nabuhay muli si Doraemon at ang pagkakaibigan nila ay nagpatuloy.

Ayan ang mga endings galing sa (http://jeny.multiply.com). Syempre hindi nagustuhan ng mga fans ang suggested “pessimistic” ending kaya nagkaroon ng “optimistic ending.”

Ang saya ng cartoons! Iba’t iba ang maaring ending para sa mga tauhan. Sana tayo rin no? Alam sana natin ang ating mga katapusan. Kunwari na lamang kung may pag-asa ka ba sa sinisinta o kung makakapagtapos ka ba ng Masters Program.