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Thursday, July 01, 2004

School Assignments

Was it last week when Sassy hinted in one of her comments her irritation with some assignments given to youngsters by teachers which seems to be ridiculous. I am not surprised. Although I am a teacher, I have a few experiences myself.

Since I have started blogging about my eldest son, Mickey, in a previous entry with him giggling as he reads the blog and hollering to his mom, "Ma, si Papa o, pati yung ganon ikinwento!" Let me tell you this story. You see, from among my children, Mickey is the one who shares my passion for the arts. He has represented the school in Art contests, won some-lost some, and is trying to play the violin. He is a member of the school orchestra and plays second violin in a string quartet.

When he was in Grade two, he was given this project to draw and paint something, (I have naturally forgotten what already), on a big illustration board. I saw him laboring on it for several nights so I'm sure he did it. That's why I was surprised when the teacher came to me a few days after saying, "Sir, I don't think your son has submitted his project yet."

"What? I'm sure he has done it because I saw him working on it for a couple of nights now."

"No, I haven't seen his work," the teacher stressed.

"Okay, I'll ask him about it tonight when we get home." (You see, because of what I perceive to be a not-so-ordinary situation between me and my children being in school together, I set them free when we're in school just so they won't feel their father is just a breath away and lead a normal student life)

That afternoon, the teacher came to me again and said, "Sir, I found it already. I checked the names on the submitted works and found your son's" Then she admitted that she was looking for the most "beautiful" project as she expected me, an art teacher, to do it for him. So, in jest, I told her, "If you really expected me to do the project for him, you should have written on the notebook, ASSIGNMENT FOR FATHER"

I learned about this "do your own assignment" bit from my dad. When I requested him to draw a carabao for me, he asked me, "What does a carabao look like?" as if he didn't know. When I described to him how it looks like, he said, "O alam mo pala e. Kaya mong i-drawing yan!" I really felt bad at the time because my assignment was the ugliest in class. I don't regret having followed my father's footstep. here's a sample of what my son can do.

done by Mickey last night Posted by Hello

He did this last night using Adobe photoshop which unbeknownst to him, I am trying to learn by watching him from the sides pretending to be reading a book. ;-). This is for a contest in school sponsored by the student organization for each class to design the best Hall Pass. It shows two students and a caricature of their adviser. The background states that they belong to the Performing Arts class, being members of the orchestra, theater and the like.

Back to the issue of assignments, let me set the record straight. I do not say that collaborative assignments given to grade school kids are without any merit. They do! For one thing, if done properly, the lesson is learned even before the kid comes to school. The ensuing class the following day becomes a mere re-enforcement. Most of all, these assignments can strengthen the bonds within the family as they work together doing the homework. It is when parents do all the work just to get the job done while the kid watches tv that gets to me. What do you think?

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Blogger BatJay said...

i agree. if done properly, family members working together (i.e. student doing the homework, parents assisting) helps strengthen the bonds within the family.

i remember in high school, all homework must be signed by our parents. otherwise, you don't get any credit.

9:18 PM  
Blogger BatJay said...

galing nga pala ng artwork ni mickey. pag uwi ko, isama natin sa jamming.

9:19 PM  
Blogger Sassy Lawyer said...

"Adobe photoshop which unbeknownst to him, I am trying to learn by watching him from the sides pretending to be reading a book."

He he he

He's good, Tito Rolly. I'm no artist but I can appreciate art.

I don't care if they get 70% in their assignment/project so long as they did it themselves. Kaya na-shock ako minsan, when I was with friends na mga nanay din... wow, sila gumagawa ng assignment ng anak nila... Sabi ko, kapal n'yo. Eh kasi daw masi-zero. Eh paano, sabi ko, kayo gagawa ng trabaho nila pag empleyado na sila para hindi masisante?

It's this obsession with grades. Basta mataas ang grade kahit walang learning. Hay, naku, the hypocrisy of it all.

9:34 PM  
Blogger bayibhyap said...

Hey, Tito, your son's really good. It's an impressive piece of work with a lot of thought put in.

Though I never really had the bonding experience of doing homework with my children (like Sassy's husband, I presume), I do believe in the bonding benefits of such activities.

I know some parents who do their children's homework. It's a shame. They are actually harming their children, who will find it difficult to be independent later.

9:46 PM  
Blogger rolly said...

Hey Batjay, we still do this in school. Have the parents sign the assignment. That ensures that the child is doing the assignment at home.

What about mass on Sunday? Nung bata pa ko, we lined up in front of the priest's office to have a card signed by the priest. What the teachers didn't know was ang nag-papapirma e yung ate becky ko habang ako ay tulog sa loob ng bahay. Sometimes, being the youngest has its own advantages. hehehe

Yes, Sassy and Bayi. It's hypocritical if not downright stupid. What they fail to understand is that education is all about learning. Not getting a high grade. Josme, when I was a new teacher, parents of the honors section would intimidate me. Kesyo bat daw ang baba ng grade ng anak nila. E 95 na ayaw pa. Like as if good grades is an indication of their good genes, no?

Mgayon, they can't intimidate me anymore. Natutunan ko na. Sindakan lang yan, hehehe

10:00 PM  
Blogger Matapoor said...

Mataas nga grade, pero di naman yung bata yung gumawa. Anong naturo mo non? When parents help kids with their homework, they should not forget whose assignment it really is.

11:20 PM  
Blogger Matapoor said...

forgot... galing naman ni Mickey mo!

11:21 PM  
Blogger Dr. Emer said...

Would you say kids draw better today because of advancements like Adobe?

I think your son did a pretty cool artpiece. Ako di ko alam gumawa ng ganyan. =) And I agree that school assignments enhance family bonding. I am a living proof of that. =)

12:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


wow, mickey is an artist in the making. good work.

in my kids' homeworks, i guide them when they're doing all their assignments. although i admit that there are times when i'm tempted to the their homework instead hehe (i'm impatient when it comes to tutoring). but i did not. for me, grades is not all that matters. its the learning part that's more important to me and mostly to them.

10:01 AM  
Blogger rolly said...

Hi Matapoor - precisely! Assignment ng bata, siya gumawa. di ba? I have been telling my students "di baleng pangit gawa nyo, basta kayo gumawa!"

Doc Emer - Sometimes I'm amazed at what Mickey can do with the computer. Maganda ang composition and lay-out sense niya. Actually, nagugulat na lang ako kasi I always have a hard time using a mouse to draw. Hirap controlin.

MAri- yun na! Often, sa inip ng magulang magturo, or out of exaasperation dahil it seems hindi matutunan ng bata, ginagawa na lang nila.

Thank y'all.

10:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi again Tito Rolly,
It seems that some of the assignments given by teachers or those which can be found in the workbook for grade school students are given to test the knowledge of the students rather than train them slowly for the subject. I don't know if my observation is right but this is my experience. Sometimes, even I do not know the answer what's more with the kids.
Just curious about your situation, with you and your son. Noong araw may tuksuhan kami kapag ang anak ng teacher ay naka-enroll sa parehong eskuwelahan. Kapag magaling o mataas ang grade ng bata sasabihin kasi anak yan ng teacher kaya mataas ang grade. Kapag mahina o mababa ang grade ng bata "Bakit ganoon, anak pa naman ng teacher."
- Santi

8:57 PM  
Blogger rolly said...

Hi Santi, thanks for coming back.

sometimes assignments are given so that children would have additional information other than those found in the workbook.

Ang swerte ng bata ngayon because any information is a click away in the internet. Yun nga lang, kawawa yung mga walang access dito.

Hmm, hindi ko alam kung natutukso mga anak ko ng ganyan. Kita naman nila di ako nakikialam, like when my son joins a school sponsored contest, ni hindi ako lumalapit sa mga judges at walang pangalan yung mga entries.

6:28 AM  

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Twenty years of teaching must sure amount to something. A new friend in cyberspace suggested I ought to have a journal by now. I agree.

Taken by my friend Arlene Lawson in her room at Century Park Sheraton in May, 2000.
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Location: Bambang, Pasig City, Philippines

Jack of all trade, master of none. First a disclaimer. My students have discovered this blog and they might think that what I write is gospel truth. Worse is they might find an argument that they think they can use, for some reason or another, against their teachers. So, to set the record straight, it is NOT. As a matter of fact, I write and open it to feedback to get another view in the hope that somebody would tell me if I am wrong and reenforce my thinking if it is right. Not that I will accept anything thrown my way, though. Just so I can think about it some more and decide whether my original stance is right or definitely off tangent. So there. I hope that clarifies everything. Now, on to blogging.

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