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/

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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.

Rain

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 🙂

Ubuntu: My First Day of Class

Months ago, I came across a Facebook post about an anthropologist’s experience with African children who taught him the word ubuntu which roughly translates to

I am because we are

Deeply moved by the post, I decided to adapt it into a first-day activity for my kids in an attempt to teach them unity and empathy, or simply sharing and concern for one another. I keep telling myself that more than teaching my kids to read and write, I must teach them how to love.

I started with a story about the African kids, asked the class to remove their shoes and socks, and asked them to form a circle using their feet. With their puzzled faces, I continued the story by explaining how these African kids know how to live together trying their best to avoid fights while giving it their best to help one another. Then, smiles filled my student’s faces.

And this is how I stared my year.

Third year of teaching, Here we go!

Ang Mga Guro ay Umiibig rin (at nakikipagtalo)


Nag-away kami. Nagtalo. Pero katulad ng tinuturo ko sa mga bata dapat laging pagusapan ang mga bagay. Naasar ako. Naasar siya. Kapag naasar na mahirap nang makining. Nag-usap pa rin kami. Sabi sa nabasa namin kapag sobrang daming differences baka hindi magtagal o hindi tama ang isang relasyon. Pero dahil postive thinking dapat. Naglista siya ng mga bagay matapos kong itanong, “ano nga ba ang mga pagkakapareho natin?”

we both believe in God
we love eating
reading
praying
[being with] kids
we love our families
we want simple lives
we want to live in a province someday
we want to serve our countrymen (kahit hindi namin ma-define ang Filipino therefore pati ang countrymen)
we love knowledge
we both love songs, (although sintonado ako)
we love seeing our special someones happy
we love movies
we love hugss and kissessss
we love discussions
we [would] love to go to Bhutan someda[y]

Ayun tapos kinilig na uli ako. Salamat at lagi tayo nag-uusap (at umuutot) kasama ang isa’t isa 😀 sana paalalahanan lang natin ang isa’t isa lagi.

Caluguran da ca!

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!

Bakasyon Na!

Spy Goggles para sa Show and Tell. Astig!

Nakatutuwa ang mga dinala ng aking mga estudyante. Sa ikalawang taon ng aking Show and Tell, hindi naubusan ng mga interesanteng bagay ang aking grade 2 students tulad ng scooter, baseball bat, bahay na gawa sa lego, mga pagon at kung anu-ano pa. Ang dami pa nilang kwento tungkol sa mga ito at sa iba pang mga bagay na gusto nila na nais kong marinig. Kaya lang, lilipat na sila sa grade 3. Isa na namang grupo ng mga batang nakasama ko ng sampung buwan ang lilisan at magpapatuloy sa kanilang paglaki at pagkatuto.

Sa pagtatapos ng isa na namang school year, di ko maiwasang matanong sa sarili, sa dami ng gurong makikilala pa ng mga bata, tatatak kaya ako sa kanila?

Alam ko balang araw masasagot rin ang tanong na iyan. Pero sa ngayon susulitin ko na ang nalalabing dalawang araw na sila ay aking makakasama. Sana kahit papaano napasaya ko sila sa aking mga bloopers, mga jokes, at mga lessons na akademiko at iba pa. Sana may naiwan ako sa kanilang mga aral na magagamit nila sa kanilang pagharap sa buhay.

When Children Talk About Homosexuality

I have this grade 2 student let’s name “R” who seems effeminate to his classmates. He gets teased about it everyday (i.e. bakla!), specially by the boys of the class.

So today, as R was about to deliver his show-and-tell, I explained to the class that sometimes there are boys who simply move “gracefully”, and it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re gay.

I also told them that to begin with there is nothing wrong with being gay. I then asked them if they knew of any nice and good gay persons.

As the hands of my students shot up the air, they named uncles, brothers, neighbors, and friends who they really love and like.

Then, I asked the boys of the class.

Those who care for R, come up front and hug him.

And then almost all of the boys, even those who teased him, hugged him tightly.

Everybody smiled as R started talking about his remote-control car.

😀

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!