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.


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 Blues

ImageBack in Iloilo.

I shall be sharing things about storytelling and children’s literature to another set of day care workers here in Iloilo City for the Mentoring the Mentors Program (MMP).

But here’s the thing.

I have been giving lots of talks on pedagogical storytelling and literature-based instruction in the past  year that I realized the progress of my knowledge on these things gets slower and slower and have been stymied by the lack of personal readings and workshops on  the topics–then again lack of mentoring also figures in.

And so I’m bothered.

At the very least, I know what I have to do. For the meantime, I’ll continue sharing what I know and learn along the way.

It’s good to be back 🙂

World Turtle Day

Mula noong taong 2000, ipinagdiriwang  tuwing Mayo 23 ang World Turtle Day upang mas lumaganap ang kaalaman tungkol sa mga pagong at pawikan. Kaya naman humingi ng storyteller o kwentista ang Manila Ocean Park mula sa Alitaptap Storytellers Philippines at ako ang napili nilang ipadala upang magkwento.

Napansin lang ng kapwa ko kwentista na sa Philippine children’s literature kadalasa’y negatibo ang karakter ng mga pagong sa mga sikat na kwento. Nariyan ang Why Do Turtles Carry Their Homes kung saan ganid o greedy ang pagong. Nariyan rin ang Alamat ng Pagong kung saan naging pagong ang mga magnanakaw bilang parusa. Isama pa diyan ang Ang Bugnuting Pagong kung saan mayabang at masungit ang pagong.

Buti na lamang nariyan ang Si Pagong at si Matsing, kung saan matiyaga at matalino si pagong, at Si Pilandok sa Pulo ng mga Pawikan kung saan iniligtas ni Pilandok ang mga itlog ng mga pawikan. Ang huling binanggit ang siyang umangkop sa pagdiriwang kaya naman iyon rin ang aking ikwinento.

Maayos naman ang naging pagkwento bagamat medyo pagod na ata ang mga batang aking kwinentuhan sa paglakad sa Ocean Park. Natapos ang kwentuhan sa pamamagitan ng pagsusulat sa mga itlog na papel ng mga mensahe para sa mga pawikan.

Para sa storytelling na ito, binigyan ako ng dalawang complimentary tickets sa Manila Ocean Park. Pinaalala rin sa aking ang kaibahan ng pagong sa pawikan. Naipapasok ng mga pagong ang kanilang ulo at mga galamay papasok sa kanilang shell samantalang hindi ito kayang gawin ng pawikan. Mas mabilis namang lumangoy ang mga pawikan kaysa sa mga pagon.

Pagkatapos ng masayang araw ni ito, isa na lang ang hindi ko pa rin alam. Ano nga ba ang tunog na ginagawa ng mga pagong?