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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Education, joy or pain?

At last, my youngest has graduated from high school. He is the last one of my children to leave my clutches. Fortunately for me, unfortunately for him for where I left off, my wife shall take over! Hah! If he thinks coming to school with me was a pain, wait till he experiences his mom's training. For one thing, there will be no more car to take him to and from school. It will be an arduous task of having to commute everyday, just as what his siblings has experienced. This also means that I will be riding to and from school alone. I don't have to sit and wait in the car until a child comes before I go home. I had to do just that for almost twenty years of my teaching life.

But this is not a post about my youngest. This is more about what students and parents alike experience during this time of the year. Did the student pass with flying colors or was there a glitch in his studies for the whole year? What's worse is, will he repeat the year? If you are a student reading this and you passed all the requirements for the course, I salute you. If you belong to the other one, then, how do you deal with it?

The pain of failure is not the student's alone. It is shared, to a much greater extent, I suppose, with the parents. Having to see your child fail is a stab in a parent's heart. A lot of questions and soul searching happens when you see those red marks in your child's report card. Questions like, "where did I go wrong?" or "Did I not teach him/her enough?" "I always told him/her to study the lessons, didn't I?" or much worse, "is it in the genes?" If it's the last one, fingers are pointed to the better half, I guess. hahaha That is not to mention the financial worries. The cost of education keeps on escalating that parents practically have to work a lot harder just to send their kids to school.

Maybe to the student's surprise, the pain is shared by the teacher, too. The same questions arise. "What part of the lesson(s) did he/she not understand?" "If only he had more time for studying..." Failing a student is likewise a failure of the teacher. "BAkit hindi siya natuto?" (Why didn't he/she learn?)

Whatever it is, a failure can develop different outcomes. It can be construed as a weakness, a surrender of one's capabilities as a student and consequently, as an individual. If this happens, the individual becomes a total loser. This is the worst one can view a failure in one, two or more subject areas. Turning a failure into a positive thing is a more acceptable stance. It can be taken as a wake up call. Surely, the student has not done enough. Maybe too much partying or playing with friends. Staying on the phone for too long doing nonsense talk with a friend and lately, chatting for long hours on a computer. How much time did you spend studying the lessons? Have you reading and done all the assigned works? Did you listen to the teacher while lessons were being discussed?

In the end, it will always have to be the student who has to face the consequences of his failure. How does one deal with it? I guess, the best way to deal with the situation is take this as a wake up call. Admit that ones failure is his/her own doing. To blame it on somebody else is pointless. Take it as a challenge to do better next time.

Happy vacation, everyone!

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A new world order?

If we are to believe a Russian dean of diplomatic academy, Igor Panarin, a new world order might be in the offing. According to him, the United States that we know may not be what it is come autumn. The union will disintegrate into six different territories as a result of the financial crisis that plagued the US last year.

Through an interpreter, the soviet diplomat, who had forecasted the collapse since 1998, said that the six territories would compose of
California Republic (California, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Arizona, Utah and Idaho)which would be absorbed or fall under the influence of China, and the “Texas Republic” (Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida) that would become part of or fall under Mexico’s influence...
Canada would get or influence the “Central North American Republic” (the Midwest plus Montana, Wyoming and Colorado), “Atlantic America” (the northeastern American seaboard plus Kentucky, Tennessee, and North and South Carolina) would end up with the European Union or the United Kingdom.
Alaska would revert back to Russia, and Japan and China would take over Hawaii.


The forecast is based mainly on the US's plunging economy which continue to plummet to this time. Should this happen, there will be a new world leader and I wonder where we, a nation whose econo-political stability has always been in question, will put us. For sure we can kiss our Kalayaan claim in the Spratley Islands goodbye for according to Panarin, China would take over the California Republic :-)

Personally, I still think that the breakup is a very far scenario. Panarin's prediction is based on the collapse of the USSR and has likened Obama to Russia's last leader Mikhail Gorbachev. There is a big difference, in my opinion. While the USSR shared with the US in terms of power, its ideologies are different, hence the mindset of their people. The USSR may have enjoyed the privilieges of being a world power but this may have only been with their political leaders. The US has shared it with their countrymen living the American dream of someday making it rich at the very least. I think that there's no way that any American would allow a foreign country take over its affairs knowing the potential of losing their own privileges. As Randy David said “While I could imagine California declaring independence, why would they allow themselves to be absorbed by China? Why would Californians think that their crisis would be solved by China?

But of course, we cannot deny the possibility of a US collapse. After all it is faced with a terrible blow and has not yet solved its problems to date and many things, including the impossible can still happen.

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Thursday, March 05, 2009

Baguio- the summer (brawling) capital

It has been last week and last night that I saw a ramble happening at the city of pines on tv. In both instances, the protagonists were young men, probably in their twenties, involved in a free for all fisticuffs. The one I saw last night was sparked by one group challenging the other to rough it up right after a drinking binge (probably as they were all drunk as reported). You know - male machismo and all that kajologan. So juvenile and oh so primitive!

Now that I have two teen-aged boys, my greatest worry is that sooner or later, they would learn how to drink with their friends and probably go to a bar. What are the chances that they might encounter a group like these who has nothing better to do but test their machismo? Makes me shudder. To think I can't even rest in peace as I watch my youngest play basketball with his friends. What am I to do? I grew up during a time when basketball always turn out to be a brawl. First, during the MICAA which later on became the PBA. I could remember how the likes of Jaworski, Guidaben, Arnaiz, etc. would all turn the game into a boxing ball. You can just imagine how the basketball games in every municipalities were like during those days. Bottles were being thrown on the court as the players rough it up. I'm glad that this phase of the game is no more. We have matured somewhat in that regard as basketball games now are relatively peaceful. No more hotheads playing the game, I think.

I just hope my children are far from harm everytime they are out of my sight. I am not worried that they'd do anything wrong. I know they know better. It is the surroundings that I am always worried about.

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About
MGA TURO NI TITO:
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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