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Mahaba at Pasuga-sugasong Pag-Utot! [A Long and Winding Fart] - A Classroom Anecdote of F.Y. and Bye Bye

Tuesday, September 6, 2011 comments powered by disqus

Over the past weeks, we were talking things regarding education and the system. Tradition and culture. Values and perspective. And some other complications.

And speaking of education, some of the new friends are asking me how was it when I was a teacher. I said fuck, that was cool! And I would like to believe my students were kewl with me too. I can fart inside an air-conditioned room in the middle of a class. I can sit and stand above my front table. They can say whatever they want. Bring foods and drinks just don't let any admin catch them. They can intoxicate themselves with beer or whatever alcohol if they want. Again, just don't let any admin officer catch them. And yes, don't bring any illegal drugs. Fuck you, asshole and other profanities were flying. No strict code or rule. They just have to be there. Because it is a lonely meeting of minds when the classroom has only few students attending. 

And going back, to answer my friends' inquiries regarding things, I will be posting this goodbye letter entitled "What's in a Grade?" that was published in the school organ days before I resign. This letter can somehow show not only my gung-ho attitude but also my personal connection with them. 

What’s in a Grade?!

I. What separates truth from imagination? The doors!
To the many that can not understand the musing.. It is the intention. To my students, the very reason why I am still here (as of this writing), thank you for the memories. And to all who will read this piece of shit and will be wondering if this is just another self-serving article written by the self for the self..

You're right!

Consider this another entry in Facebook at any given day for and by this generation x and y that consider self as the center of this solar system. But as my opening remarks in all my classes, I will say it again: I am not promising you to learn whatever academic knowledge you were expecting prior the first meeting. Or in this case, before opening the page. For learning is the fruit of one's want. Not by any pre-conceived notion as a result of society's self-righteous definition of education. Yes, I am not promising you to learn anything from me in any of my class (as well, from this junk) but one thing is for sure.. you'll be entertained!

As Mark Twain said, and I agree, "don't let academics get in the way of your education." But that's another story, or article.

As Eraserheads, my favorite band of all time, is playing in iTunes 9 the dark-toned Spoliarium, the bittersweet Maselang Bahaghari, the very sincere Pare Ko, etc..
I will continue in contemplation and wonder about the things only few might agree and many will not bother to understand. But that's okay. Maybe that's the plan. Maybe that's the idea.
As our TV gods said.. Niche market! But marketability and scent of this print and words are the least of our concerns. At least for now. For this comes handy and free. Yes, whatever that means.

II. Goodbyes.
Goodbyes will always be associated with sadness. Or to be melodramatic about it - melancholy. But at times, goodbyes are experiential liberating. And it takes some balls and rhythm to make it cinematic. But who concerns who that such a low emotion of pain and isolation will still ask if it's cinematic or not?

But that's a rhetorical question. We don't have to answer it.
The beauty of some things lies not in answers but in the question. And I will explain no further for the point will be nil.

III. Methodology Ambiguity: Hindi mataas ang aming pinag-aralan. Malalim! [This is not higher education. This is deeper.] 

While some can not agree with the approach, I would like to believe that many students are enjoying the method. Thou I’m not writing this to explain how, I may show doodles of its rationale. At least, in the perspective of me. That as I have explained ad nauseam, each session is an experience. Or at least, should be. It is like watching a theatre play, or a concert, or a stand up comedy. Each performance is a different adventure. Of course, a classmate can tell what happened but what's lacking is the feel of it. For in doing is learning. Not in telling enormous chunks of blah-blah-blah and purple prose. 

A high academic official was heard saying she went out of my class after some minutes of observation because she can't take it no more. She can't understand a single thing of what's going on. She asked what's the module; what's the plan; and what the fuck! I saw it in her gestures. I saw it in her eyes. But I continued doing what I should do that session. For my master ain't the gods. Learning is the highest order, as seen through the eyes and heart of my students. Maybe, I offended some sensibilities in the formal institution called the academe but what can I say? The students in any of my class who got the highest grades are those who have true talents and wisdom in the real sense of the word and world. They are not the knowledgeable-studious who can memorize piles of books and theories but are novice ignoramus outside school. Regardless of their study habits or the lack of it, what counts more for me as an educator is their heart (natural or studied) for creativity, resourcefulness and leadership. Where can communication arts students who will graduate with high grades that can memorize countless theories land a job?  Where can they build their career? 

Will an ABS-CBN executive producer interviewing an applicant ask what are the principles of TV writing? What will be the basis of a GMA business unit head for a new creative member to be considered a hotshot -- his knowledge in the history of broadcast media?

Of course it is cool to know these basic knowledge but come the real world, it will become as trivial as fun-to-have and well.. cool. The true test lies in his/her rhythm and balls, creativity and accountability. 

And speaking of revisiting the module..
I will forever be grateful to Sir P, our department head. There are times that I am suggesting some changes in the ways and means of some topics and he is very accommodating. Trusting my handling of it saying that I may know better because it is me who's in the field. Of course, his wisdom in education is unmatchable. But because of trust, he is letting me do some changes. 

After attending some meetings and fora inside the school, the highest officials are encouraging all teachers to be more student-centered. To let the students do the talking. To let them feel first-hand the applications rather than teachers talking lessons. But as I see it, many gods are still adamant and uncomfortable seeing classes having unorthodox approaches. Maybe, they have a different idea when told about new approaches in learning. 

Anyway, as I said earlier, I am not here to please the gods. The goal is for my students to enjoy each day in class. To let them experience it. To let them feel good being there. To let them realize their potentials. To let them know if their project sucks. To inform them that in the real world is not the sheltered home but of bullies and disappointments. That a miserable life is what's ahead of them. Hard and challenging. Tough and enjoyable. That only the strong and the partially insane survive!

In this part of my life, I am a teacher. I told my class this is one third of my dreams. The other two are: being a filmmaker and country's presidency. Half-meant, half-hallucination. But at times, clinging to a title even if it hurts is punishing not only the self but also others who believe in you.

After some days of meaningful and fruitful stay, albeit a relatively short one, I find myself in some tight spots. Suffice it to say that I am blaming no one, my actions and inactions have brought some quarters discomfort and blemished credence. 

And there is only one word to say..

Sorry for the discomfort and in the emotional low I may have brought. But personality and character unchanged. Ideology, thou seemed twisted, is still where it was. Love, like church, is an opium. Forget all the logic. Forget common sense. For common sense, actually, is not common.

At the start of the semester, one class asked me why I do not have some powerpoint presentations or formal lecture structure or at least books as paraphernalia. And I answered, "The mere presence of me ..is education!"

Of course, it may be too much a bravado. So I mellowed it down. At least, that's what I like to believe. I said, "I'm a teacher. I'm not teaching lessons. I change lives."

IV. Hindi distansya ang naglalayo sa dalawang lugar.. Panahon! [It is not distance that separates places. It is time.] 

The band Pupil is playing Monobloc, "Di alangan sa tukso ng ulan/ Ang ihip ng hangin tila nambibitin/ Atin nang simulan/ Kahit walang mapaglagyan.."; Nasaan Ka, "Kaninang umaga nagising ako/ may bakas ng ngiti sa mukha/ kasama kita sa aking panaginip/ sasabihin ko dapat sayo/ Pero wala ka na/ wala ka na..".

A mix of Pupil and Eraserheads songs. 

Ely Buendia. The definition of 90's alternative music scene that reverberates even until today. 

90's. My kapanahunan (time). The arrogance of youth that I still adhere. A state of the mind. A state of heart, and maybe of hallucination and make-believe.

But it will always be in the memory of my smiles. Because it made me happy while at it. To all the readers, thank you for your precious time. To the gods, some I can't mention, this piece, in half is dedicated to you. To my students.. if you can't convince them (whatever the term "them" means), confuse them! 

What the fuck am I saying?!

What's with the music? What's with the blurbs? 

But as well that I am in blur saying these things, I am in a direction many may not understand. And I'm kewl with it. That's the intention!

iTunes 9 is now playing Eraserheads' Ha Ha Ha, "Ha-hahanapin pa/ halimuyak na/ hanggang hatinggabi'y/ hinahangad ng/ halos walang kurap/ ang hinaharap/ habang buhay hawak-hawak/ ako'y biglang nakarinig ng tawa/ Ha ha ha.."


..Because while in class, specially in teaching the rudiments of mainstream writing, I always tell them the importance of clarity. That it should be audience friendly. But now, you are reading a vague essay. Talking about "walk-the-talk" principle!

But for me, it makes perfect sense.

The conscious subconscious.

Death and liberation.
The jubilation of headless souls.
Warm bodies turned cold hearts.

The clichés.

The blowing of the wind and falling of the rain.

Yes, whatever that means.

What's this?

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