Teaching

Tapestry of stories

How does one weave a tapestry of colors to come up with a beautiful piece of art?  That question keeps running through my mind as I examine and analyze the data that I have on student activism in Cebu in the 1970s.  It is no longer as black and white as I assumed it would be when I first started doing my research.  Now I see the nuances and the gray areas as well.  It is like knowing a person better.  Once you get to listen to a person’s story, you get to understand him/her better as the whole picture becomes clearer.

I was never a student activist in my college years in spite of the fact that I studied at the supposedly “bastion of academic freedom” and activism.  I always found the explanations of the activists lacking and because of that I never joined their ranks.  Their all-out “no” to anything the government did or said turned me off.  I asked one of them, “why can’t you acknowledge the positive or good things the government has done instead of being focused on all the wrong things?”

I am not blind.  I know our government’s flaws.  I am well aware of our leaders’ flaws but I am also aware of their strengths and accomplishments.  That is why I admired what one of my interviewees told me this afternoon.  He was a student activist during the Marcos years.  He said, “I’ve never been for Duterte but I acknowledge that I liked what he said about the mining industry and I acknowledge the other accomplishments he has done in other sectors.  It is important to look at things objectively.”  I liked how he said that.

I think one can serve this nation without being allied to a student activist organization.  Activism is not one organization’s monopoly.  In the same way, one can also be a critical thinker without being critical of everything the government does.  I do not agree with protesting for protest’s sake.  I also subscribe to the idea that if we are quick to judge what is broken or negative then we must also be equally quick to acknowledge what is good and positive.

So going back to my question about all these stories…I told my interviewee that, at times, I am stumped about how to write their stories altogether as some of them want to keep their anonymity and “exploits” unwritten.  Well, there is always a way.  I just have to find it fast. 

Life, Teaching

Full circle

TC 1
This view always reminds me of Diliman. 🙂

During a “messy” time in my life and career, my former boss, sir Pascual, once told me, “Yen, take a break from teaching and History for a while.  Try other things and explore other places.  When you think History (and teaching) is really for you, go back to it.”

Fifteen years after he said those wise words — an advice that really helped me a lot — I’ve finally come full circle today, this semester, this school year.  I am no longer teaching in USC but I am back as a graduate student of History and finally with the wholehearted choice that History is for me after so many twists and turns, so many delays, lessons learned and mishaps.

I am back in one of sir P.’s classes again and the first day our class met, his lecture reminded me why I have always loved History.  I went home inspired after that first session.

In my mind, I was already expecting this weekend trip to Tangub to be “challenging” and “hard” given the fact that going to the place via Dipolog City was something I was not quite familiar with.  Somehow I  also knew (subconsciously), I would not be reporting but I had set my heart on coming here.  I wanted to see the place I once fell in love with the first time I set foot on it. A place that held so many precious memories for me. The thought of staying here even crossed my mind back then, well, only for a minute but the lack of coffee shops back then made me think twice. 😉 I chose to come in spite of the additional expense it would entail because I felt that it was something I had to see and feel:  coming full circle to a profession, a school and a department I left because of a broken heart.

When I had my first heartbreak fifteen years ago because of someone I met in the university where I first taught, I mistakenly “personalized” the experience and disassociated everything related to him as something to be shunned, forgotten and left off for good. I stayed away from USC for quite a number of years.  And in a sense, I threw away a lot of opportunities in my attempts to forget, move on and make peace with the past.  I heard that he is no longer with the university but even then if he still was it would still have been okay.  I guess forgiving one’s self and the other person makes it okay. 😉

TC 3This year, I knew it would be a different season.  The first time I entered USC TC to process my admission, I no longer felt the familiar twitch of pain that often accompanied every visit I had since 2002.  I walked up to the 4th floor of the AS building and snapped a photo of the cement road from the entrance gate to ISMED and breathed in the fresh air.  Sounds OA I know but I reveled in the fact that I could finally say I’ve moved on. 😊

I only remembered the happy memories I once had in Talamban.  Of times spent with students talking with them after classes, of friendships made with co-teachers at the faculty room and of walks I took in TC to the chapel to pray, walks with a “friend” after checking papers at the faculty room and just good old plain memories hanging out in the canteen overlooking the soccer field, of times spent in prayer sitting on the steps leading to the chapel.  That place was quiet and far away from the crowd back then.  It made for a perfect place to pray and read the Bible.

TC 2

It feels good to be back, feeling lighter, a lot happier and no longer haunted by past mistakes.

It feels good to make peace with the past — finally.

As I look to the future with expectation (especially this August), I understand how important it is to study History not to be held back by the trauma and mistakes of the unchangeable past but to be enlightened and strengthened by it.  I think that is how Philippine history should be taught to students.  Not just merely a string of events but a book of lessons and stories, both good and the bad, that makes one a better person, a better nation.  The bad should not be covered up or revised but examined with a different set of glasses and a heart ready to learn from one’s mistakes and stand up again after a fall.

Thanks to this rainy, circuitous trip to Tangub, I have finally come full circle and said goodbye to the ghosts of my past.  The future looks bright and happy. 🙂

Teaching

Elusive sleep

I’m on a boat bound for somewhere in Mindanao and sleep eludes me.  Now it is quiet.  The time on my phone tells me it is  5:00 in the morning.  I gave up trying to sleep twenty minutes ago.

Four hours earlier, different sounds surrounded me.  From phone rings to the usual snoring to babies crying when their sleep is interrupted.  I had covered my face with a handkerchief to shield it from the light above me.  It didn’t work (apparently) or i would have been asleep by now.  

As I lay on my bed, I turned from one side to the other every ten to fifteen minutes.  The heat was terrible and I was sweating profusely in the back.  I thought of my bed at home and the electric fan and the more I could not sleep.  I yearned for something that wasn’t there. 

And it made me think how our lives can be like that at times.

We seem to get into a quandary or get stuck in an unfavorable situation because we are looking for something elusive.  We want something and if that thing escapes us, we think life is uncomfortable, hard.  We base our comfort and maybe even happiness on that one little thing. 

If this post is rambling that’s because it is.  My mind is sleepy at this time but I can’t sleep. 

History, Teaching

Teach. Research. Community work.

Seventeen years after graduation and letting go of my fears and apprehensions, I am now able to articulate 3 areas where I want to focus on professionally:  teach (part-time), do research and write a book and write articles and do community work.

It has taken me that long to let go of my fears and sort out what I really want.

When I was much younger, it was the steady income and money that was uppermost in my mind.  I wanted a stable job never mind if the teaching requirements took up most of my time from doing research.  After an experience teaching 2nd graders in a public school and teaching 7th and 11th graders in a private school, I finally put my hands up in surrender and mustered enough courage to pursue what I want and what I enjoy doing and that is to teach a subject or two, read, read and read books and articles and write and have time for my blogs and other creative ideas.

As my dad again reminded me this morning during breakfast, “Tsi, don’t think about the money.  Work on what you’re passionate about first and then the money will come later.  Sow first by doing unpaid work first and then the income will follow.”

I guess I now have the strength and self-awareness to admit to myself that I am not cut out for an all-out teaching career.  The kind of teaching career that makes one stay all day in the school churning out lesson plans, grading papers and working on all the paper trail.  It makes my brains go out, makes me restless and bored.  I want to work outside the box (literally and figuratively).

I would rather go to school for my classes only, mentor a few students for their papers, work at the university library for research work and publish a book and some articles.  At the same time, I would want to work on a community project that combines some of the things I am passionate about which are:  community development and history.

It was scary at first contemplating about this move but it has been two months now since I left the school where I once taught and so far this has been the most restful, “busy but not stressful” and enjoyable time of my career.  It is a bit challenging though not to have a fixed schedule as you have to be mindful of keeping time blocks to make sure that you work on the research projects you are involved in.  I have found that these days while I do not have a fixed schedule and a time in, time out schedule, I am more punctual without absences at this time.

Hopefully, I get to work on my planned Instagram and blog for Cebuano History and Culture.  That’s always been my dream:  to someday work on something that will make the ordinary Juan de la Cruz and the Bisayang Dako (like me) passionate, more aware and more knowledgeable about our local history.

 

*Photo mine – Taken at the Museo Parian sa Sugbo 1730 Jesuit House*

 

Teaching

HANDOUTS (PDF and Word versions)

Dear LET Reviewees,

I am in the process of converting my PowerPoint files to Word versions.  Here is the first file I have converted.  It is a combination of the following files:  Society and Culture, 2Q1_Socialization, Maslow and Alderfer’s theories, Social Inequality and Cultural Assimilation & Diffusion.  Thank you!

*Other files to follow 🙂

I. SOCIETY AND CULTURE 

PDF1_HANDOUT_Society & Culture_Jun 17

Word version:  HANDOUT_Society & Culture_Jun 17

II. ECONOMICS:

PDF version:  PDF2_HANDOUT_Economics

Word version: HANDOUT_Economics

III. CONSTITUTION:

PDF version – PDF3_HANDOUT_Constitution

Word: HANDOUT_Constitution

Teaching

Updated Social Studies (Gen. Ed.) files

Dear LET reviewees,

Here are some updated Gen. Ed. Social Studies files from yesterday’s lecture.  Feel free to download them.  God bless you and I’ll be praying for you as you study and prepare for the LET.  🙂 Phil Constitution articles1 Phil Constitution_final

2 State and Government

3 Rizal’s world

4 Society and Culture

5 PHIL HISTORY

6 Phil History _ Part 2

7 2Q.1_Socialization

8 Agrarian Reform & Taxation

9 CULTURE_Assimilation Diffusion

10 Economics

11 Maslow and Alderfer theories

Addendum:  12 Social Inequality:  Social Inequality

 

==========================

PDF VERSIONS

PDF_2Q.1_Socialization

PDF_Agrarian Reform & Taxation

PDF_CULTURE_Assimilation Diffusion

PDF_Economics

PDF_Maslow and Alderfer theories

PDF_Phil Constitution_final

PDF_Phil History _ Part 2

PDF_PHIL HISTORY

PDF_Society and Culture

PDF_State and Government

PDF_Rizal’s world

PDF_Social Inequality

Teaching

Maki-Uson din ako

I don’t know where to start. All I know is that my Facebook news feed is flooded with posts against the appointment of the blogger Mocha Uson to a government post.

What has become of us? But then again, is this a manifestation of postmodernism in our society today wherein the grand narrative of needing Civil Service eligibility, proper and extensive training in writing and communications can be done away with because the powers-that-be have written off the usual qualifications for this one?

Does this mean that I have to study the provisions for political appointees in the first place and stand corrected if, technically, the President is indeed entitled to appointing whoever he wishes to. Key words are “entitled” and “wish to”.

If that is the case then, I go to the issue of morality and propriety. Is is proper and fitting for a Mocha Uson to be appointed to a government for the simple reason that she is rabidly loyal and very pro-Duterte in her writings and stance? As the president pointed out, he appointed her out of “utang na loob” which, to me, is actually a detrimental Filipino cultural trait. In the name of “utang na loob” hundreds (if not thousands) of unqualified candidates have been given government posts or jobs because of it. The one who appoints owes them something — a debt of gratitude that cannot be paid in cash and must be paid only through a favor.

This and other questions run through my mind. Is this my UP arrogance (as some would contend) speaking when I call her out as unfit for the role of an Assistant Secretary simply because she does not look, talk, write or think like it? I still think that government leaders must have a modicum of propriety and proper training when appointed to office. But then again, if you look at many of our politicians today that seems to be a rare thing in politics these days.

TV shows would pale in comparison to Philippine politics today. Our politics and the politicians resemble that of a circus, a comedy of errors (to borrow from Shakespeare’s title) and a wrestling match. It’s both a sad and an amusing reality and way of life. But hey this is the Philippines where anything goes and nothing is impossible.

Just look at Mocha Uson and her being an Assistant Secretary.

Teaching

Catharsis

Someone once asked me if I write.  I told him I write whenever I’m happy (very happy), sad and mad.  Today, I feel the latter emotion.  Mad and infuriated is more like it.  I had a very good day today at work — reading my journal articles and discussing history and life with a workmate — until I got on Facebook and saw all the posts about Sen. Sotto.  I was already disappointed and kind of mad knowing that Sec. Gina Lopez’ appointment was not approved by the Commission on Appointments.  And like adding salt to a wound, came Tito Sotto’s remarks about DSWD Secretary Judy Taguiwalo’s civil status.

I wanted to lash out at him, at his supporters and even his family.  I wanted to tweet and post something vitriolic and harsh but something caught me.  It allowed me to think twice and see all these from the lens of history and from a social scientist.  What does it say about us as a society?

A thought just crossed my mind about how the Senator got into Congress.  He was elected by the masa (masses).  And so I thought about how his remark caused a furor on social media TODAY but tomorrow and in the years to come, will the masa learn from this incident or will they revert back to their short-term memory?  Just like how we treated the Marcoses, welcoming them back to power simply BECAUSE WE FORGAVE.  Will this incident be among those that will be chalked up as something “forgivable” instead of something to really THINK DEEPLY ABOUT and cause us to examine issues?

Yes, I wanted to post something harsh and bitter but then again what we are seeing right now is simply a mere reflection of us.  I might not have voted for him but the majority did seeing as he is part of the Senate right now.  It makes me think what I, as a History teacher, keep lamenting against:  that most of the Filipino DO NOT REALLY THINK DEEP AND HARD about Philippine politics, social issues and Philippine History.  What we care more are personalities and yes, money.  I sound harsh, cynical and bitter but this is the truth without its sugar coating.

Call me an intellectual snob and I am indeed one but this is precisely the reason why I chose to teach Philippine History when I was younger.  I dreamt that — someday — the masa would eventually learn to study History, think hard about politics and choose politicians who are full of integrity, wisdom, intelligence and a fear of God.  Sigh.

And while that remains a dream, I will keep talking about this in the classroom and calling on young people to think and study Philippine History as if their lives (and the future of the country) depend on it.

======================================================================

Sen. Sotto’s conversation with the DSWD Secretary

Sen. Sotto: On a lighter note, Secretary.  We’ve been looking at your personal information and found out that you have two children? Daughters ba or sons?

Sec. Taguiwalo: Yes, two daughters.

Sen. Sotto: But you’re single? (This question drew laughter from the room.)

Sec. Taguiwalo: I’ve never had a ‘normal’ family, if that’s how you call it, growing up.  But it’s a non-issue.

Sen. Sotto: Ah kasi sa amin, if you have kids, tapos wala kang asawa ang tawag diyan ‘na-ano lang’. (Drawing more laughter from the room.)

Sec. Taguiwalo: Senator, I teach women’s studies in UP.  The definition of a family also includes solo parents.  Thank you.

Teaching

Social Studies Files

Hi LET Reviewees,

These are the files on General Ed. Social Studies.  You’re welcome to download them.  I will upload the PDF versions in a while.

A link to the Google Form docs for practice test will be “live” hopefully by the end of this week which is Friday.  Thank you for your patience!

God bless you as you prepare and take the LET! Will be praying for you guys!

Yen Cano

Phil History _ Part 2

PHIL HISTORY

Rizal’s world

Phil Constitution_final

State and Government

Agrarian Reform & Taxation

Economics

Maslow and Alderfer theories

Social Inequality

2Q.1_Socialization

CULTURE_

Assimilation Diffusion

Society

 

PDF versions of these files

PDF_Agrarian Reform & Taxation

PDF_Economics

PDF_Phil Constitution_final

PDF_State and Government

PDF_PHIL HISTORY 1

PDF_Rizal’s world

PDF_Phil History _ Part 2

PDF_CULTURE_Assimilation & Diffusion

PDF_Maslow and Alderfer theories

PDF_Social Inequality

PDF_Society

Lacking pdf version of Socialization and Types of Families but the powerpoint version is available – Check the ppt versions in the first part of this post.

 

Teaching

Part 3: Refined in the Waiting

WARNING:  The waiting period is very challenging.  And in the waiting, God refines you and teaches you to just really surrender and trust Him.

I learned that on the day the September 2016 LET results came out.

It was our school librarian, Miss Bea, who called me up and told me that the LET results had already been released and our conversation went like this.

Bea:  “Miss, the LET results are out.”

Me:  “Oh my, really miss?  I’m scared.”

Bea:  “Do you want me to check the results for you?”

Me:  “Yes, please, if it’s okay with you, miss.”  (I put down the phone, praying and telling the Lord, “Ikaw na bahala, Lord, if I don’t make it.)

She calls after a minute or more.

Bea:  “Miss, you passed!”

Me:  “Huh? Bitaw, miss?  Basin naay laing O_____ C____.”

Bea:  “Di ba you’re middle name is P___?”

Me:  “Yes, miss.”

Bea:  “You passed, miss. Congratulations!”

I was still a bit nervous that time but it was no longer anxiety that I felt.  It was like a more settled feeling that pass or fail, God had my future in His hands. 🙂

Upon learning that I passed, I was so elated that I went out of the faculty office wanting to shout at the top of my lungs “Thank You, Lord!”  Of course, I did not shout.  I was in school.  The students in the hallway who had seen the funny expression on my face asked what had happened.  I had no words.

I did not even know at this point I had made it to the top 10.  I only knew I passed and for me I was already very grateful.  No words could describe my gratitude to God.  I knew it was a God-thing.

In my elation, I mistakenly went to another classroom to start classes after the bell had rung.  I was dazed.  After the class, I went back to the library to work on a school requirement and received a text from Teacher Jane telling me that our jokes about topping the board exam finally became true.

I did not get my friend Jane’s text and told her “Yeah, I wish.”  She replied with a “No, ‘Cher, this is not a joke.  You topped the board.  10th place.”  “What?”  I told her it was not a nice joke.  She told me to check my Facebook.  The librarian who had earlier checked the result said, “Oh no, miss, it’s really true” after she checked the LET results the nth time that day when I told her a friend of mine said that I made it to the 10th place.

The moment I confirmed the news, I rushed to our school’s fifth floor and there, near the school chapel, broke down in tears.  My first thought was, “Lord, thank You, this is for my parents.”

You see during the last week of studying, I only wanted to pass for my parents because they had assisted me financially in the preparations especially in buying different reviewers and other materials.

Had I studied straight for several months for the LET and answered all the required 10,000 questions, I would have attributed it to my superb intellectual prowess. Hah! But as I see it, it was all God’s grace and goodness.

I did what I had to do and gave God the rest, trusting in His wisdom and grace.

So as I end this, I give all the glory and praise to God for passing and making it to the 10th place.  This is all for His glory and for His honor.  I am just a vessel of His faithfulness, mercy and goodness.