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11:59 P.M. Ramblings

My schedule is in a limbo these days.  What with all the upcoming papers for two conferences and a looming project deadline on the other hand.  Next month, classes in the graduate school will once again start and I am left to wondering how I will fit all these in my schedule.  Still, I am blogging right now.  Blogging as a way to de-stress and not to think of all the deadlines.  I am also going through my Twitter feed and reading the thread of pro- and anti-president tweets.

I do not like this current president.  So it is safe to say that I do not like his administration too.  Well not all but most.  I detest his policies and his personality.  These days I vacillate between praying for the Philippines and asking forgiveness from God for the resentment I harbor in my heart against the current administration.

It is a daily struggle, a daily conscious choice to ask for forgiveness after I keep forgetting and say [or tweet] something against it.  Never in my whole life had I imagined getting to a point like this where I would say that I did not like a sitting president.  I had always considered myself a nationalist.  One who loved her country so much and supported anything that would be beneficial for the nation and the society.  But today…it is a different story.

Last week, there were three violent political deaths.  A mayor, a vice mayor and a councilor were shot dead — in broad daylight.  All for the world to see.  Life seems to be getting cheaper these days.  I shake my head at how easy it is to take a life in our time right now.  The thought of it makes me a bit scared and more prayerful.  Every day, I say a prayer of covering for my loved ones and for some outspoken critics of the administration.  A four-year-old boy died in a shootout between police officers and suspected drug addicts.  He was a bystander, an innocent one.  What have we become?  What have we, as a society, allowed simply because we have stayed silent?

Next on my thoughts as I scroll through my Twitter feed are the tweets of an jf;ajfasjdf;al*** named benign0.  His name does not even warrant a capital letter.  Like the president he supports, I detest him too.  Loathe.  I have a strong aversion to people like him who attempt to sound intellectual but cannot even write a proper essay or blog post for that matter.  His writing is bad and sloppy.  It is not even backed up by journal articles or hard data like statistics.  All that he has is a strong loyalist sentiment which he thinks can make up for his lack of writing and research skills.

He came close to my “loathing radar” when he tweeted about how Tagalog is “not an intellectualizing dialect.”  Wow.  He cannot even get his facts straight.  A dialect is very much different from a language.  Tagalog is one of the major Filipino languages.  For all his intellectual wannabe posturing, he cannot even get that single fact straight. A dialect is “a regional variety of a language.”  That being said, the kind of Cebuano spoken in places like Dalaguete, Bohol and in some parts of Mindanao are dialects of the Cebuano language.  There are eight (8) major Filipino languages: Tagalog, Ilocano, Bicol, Kapampangan, Pangasinan, Cebuano, Hiligaynon, and Waray.  This is a basic fact often taught in Philippine History classes.  But maybe benign0 was either absent or asleep when this lesson was taught as he could not distinguish between the two.  Alas, such is the fate of those who cast that stone against their own identity.  Rizal puts it nicely when he said “ANG HINDI MAGMAHAL SA SARILING WIKA AY HIGIT SA HAYOP AT MALANSANG ISDA.”

Teaching in the 21st century

Last year I was asked to share some of my thoughts on teaching millennial learners in a student congress.  Looking back, I realized that I had dwelt too much on making use of technology, reaching out to them through their learning styles and preferences.  But if I had a chance to give that talk again I’d think I would focus more on “life-focused stuff and relational stuff” instead of the academic stuff.

Something happened in the classroom today that reminded me that, as a teacher, as much as I emphasize excellence and hard work in the classroom, it is also equally important to teach and model to students “how to fail”, how to deal with failure and mistakes and modeling forgiveness and grace. Are we hard on ourselves and others when we and they commit mistakes? How do we deal with mistakes in the classroom that teaches students how to deal with it in real life?”

If I were to revise my talk on Millennial learners, I’d add humility and a willingness to learn from others; having integrity; having the initiative and resourcefulness to find knowledge and truth instead of relying on news without verifying it first.

I would tell them that more than the lesson plans, strategies and techniques, that teaching is love, servanthood and kindness towards our learners.  For when we love, we want the best for our students and will find ways to make learning accessible and easy for them to understand.

I guess teaching isn’t as hard as rocket science but not exactly the easiest thing to do.  For loving another person also means laying down one’s self and rights for another — just like how Jesus did it.

I still have a long way and a lot of lessons to learn about teaching.

Objectivity

ken-suarez-moalboal.jpg
Photo by Ken Suarez (Moalboal) — Taken from the Unsplash website

 

Can a social scientist remain objective especially in our time today?

Two Saturdays ago, a professor of mine (in my Historical Methods class), gave us an article each to read and review.  I was amused to find that Leloy (Lissandro) Claudio’s article on “Postcolonial Fissures” was not given to me.  “Ahhh, oh I have that article.  Sayang, ma’am ___, siya jud diay to sa Manila Hotel.  I should have my pic taken with him.”  😀  She told me, “Mao na ang reason I did not give the article to you” with a smile.

Ah yes, objectivity can be a challenge when reading an article written by someone I look up to and admire.  That brings me to the thought:  “Can one be truly objective?”  How we write, what we write about and how we hypothesize always manage to color our thinking and theorizing.

I remember that incident as I reread my review of Claudio’s Rappler article “The Moralist Thinker in Digong’s Time” and I finally understood what my professor meant. Hah! The review I submitted was very “emotionally close” and emotional.  It was half intellectual and half emotional. I saw how wise it was of her to give me the postmodern article written by Dr. Hornedo.

It’s something I am looking forward to reading since I still am kind of ambivalent towards postmodernism and history given my training and background from Diliman.  I was taught and trained by professors who were allergic to the postmodern framework.  But then studying in USC has opened my eyes to different theories and perspectives that I am not familiar with since the department in Diliman, during my time,  was not so open to postmodern theory.   I remember a professor of mine who would smirk every time Foucault’s name was mentioned.

As a History major, I was hesitant to dabble in and explore other theories like postmodernism and Historicism but today I learned that part of growing up as an academic is to look at the unknown, unlearned and the unexplored.

I see it as like a child who wants to explore what her parents warned her about but were not really sure it was scientifically grounded or had basis backed up by research.

I have that feeling today.  Poised at flight, wanting to plumb the depths and horizons I was told not to step foot on because it was against tradition.

Let’s see where I land after this.