The history of ideas is like a drama in many acts

“The history of ideas is like a drama in many acts” – Sophie’s World, Jostein Gaarder

I have always hated history back in high school. It was all ‘what year did this person do this thing’ – when did the war start and when did it end, who started it all, and where. The Filipino presidents and national heroes turned into something of an acquaintance, someone whose names I was familiar with, but whose stories I never knew, nor did I care to understand.

A lot of things have changed since then. In a span of four semesters in college, I have taken about five classes about history: Kasaysayan 1 (Philippine History); Theatre 160 (History of the Theater); Arkiyoloji 1 (Philippine Archaeology); Philosophy 10 (History of Philosophy); Global Studies 197 (Contemporary Islam). In these five classes, the same eras popped up, but all with a different story to tell. I began to love history.

What influenced me the most was the semester when I was taking Theatre 160 and Philosophy 10 at the same time. I took Theatre 160 every Tuesdays and Thursdays, while I had my Philosophy 10 every Wednesdays and Fridays. During the first few sessions of my Theatre 160 class, we had a quick overview of theatre history, from Ancient Greek times to the present era. During that same week, our professor explained the development of Philosophy, also starting with Ancient Greeks.

It fascinated me, how looking at history through another perspective absolutely changes the way they are being taught to others. My favorite example of this was our one session during Kas 1 wherein our professor just continuously debunked every lesson we were taught back in high school. We were taught lies, because until now, the Americans have an influence on the way we teach children Philippine history.

History went from being my dreaded written memory test, to a thrilling five-act play.

I began to see how overly dramatic people were before, especially during Ancient Roman times – with emperors creating monuments and having year-long celebrations. I pitied their greed, feared their power, and sympathized with the destruction they have brought on to themselves. I wondered what it felt like, to discover something so new and so different, to witness the whole world change their lifestyle because of one person’s inventions… or one man’s advocacy – of religion, of politics, of literature, of art.

It all seems so grand. It was impossible to imagine that all of it occurred in the same planet I am living in right now. I guess the human mind has yet to adapt to such a wide perception of humanity. If we were able to comprehend everything that has ever happened in every continent of this whole planet, we wouldn’t have a problem getting along.

“It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building process,” said Carl Sagan. And come to think of it, the same could be said about history.

 

I have been taught in my history classes that the history we know today is not a linear traditional novel. Some parts are purposely being kept hidden, and other parts are only being discovered today. And everything we are taught in our era today will not be the same thing we teach children in the future.

Some say we preserve the past as a warning to us today, to not repeat the same mistakes. But, there is no telling what the main goal of history is, as it is still being written as of this moment. People will always use history for their own personal agenda. But there will always be those who pursue it in all its forms, and those who continuously try to understand it.

The history of ideas is like a drama in many acts

DLSU-IS Practicum 2014

On my first day back to my province after a long and stressful month of college, my sister mentioned that a few of her friends still think I’m ~cool, because of the stunt I pulled 2 years ago during our Practicum.

Context

Our high school gives its Grade 11 students a chance to become a teacher for a day, and we call this our ‘Practicum’. It’s to help us appreciate the work our teachers do everyday by stepping into their shoes.

For a day, I became an adviser for a Grade 9 class (my sister’s batch), and a Christian Living teacher for 3 classes. I was to teach the history of the church – in one day, for 1 hour, three times. And boy, did I gave it my all. I tailored my PowerPoint to suit their needs and made sure it wasn’t boring. I added videos that personally made me learn more about Christianity.

Two Years Later…

I can still remember a few of their faces – with their knuckles on their chins, eyes squinting, but filled with curiosity. I can still remember how, at the end of my last class, I asked a student to lead the prayer. Surprisingly, the student made a personal prayer, instead of the usual “I will continue, o my God, to do all my actions for the love of you”. And I can still remember him saying “Thank you for today’s lesson, and most of all, thank you for our student teacher”. And I was so moved. The next day, I gave the class a handwritten letter, telling them how thankful I was for having them, even if it was just for a day.

Two blood-draining, tear-filled college years have led me to become a mess of a person – the kind where a voice inside your head mocks, “Where’s your god nOW?!”. Two years have given me a lot of experience, and it has taken most of my soul in exchange.

But two years later, I was suddenly reminded of that first time I taught a class. Out of the blue, I hear that my sister’s friends – who were my students then – still look up to me to this very day because of that Practicum.

I was suddenly reminded of all the reasons why I was here, on this tiny archipelago, on this tiny city.

I want to make more children wonder. I want to teach. I want to contribute in making a better educational system – one that does not let them forget their mental and physical health in the way of achieving academic success.

I have had my fair share of school abuse, and maybe some people think all this stress in high school is ‘normal’. But I am an advocate of having a better educational system. One where every day is informational and aspiring to both teachers and students alike.

DLSU-IS Practicum 2014

Pangalan Ko’y Kalikasan

A/n: Essay na ginawa ko para sa Filipino class namin noong Dec 30 2013.

Pangalan ko’y Kalikasan. Bihira lang ako pansinin ng tao, at nakakalungkot ito dahil mahal ko ang tao, at nakaraan ay may isa kaming matamis na pagkakaibigan. Tugunan ang aming relasyon at balanse ang mundo. Ngunit sa panahon ngayon, ang tao ay lumalayo na saakin, lumalapit nalang kapag may kailangan, kinukuha ang laman na gusto at binabato saakin ang buto-buto. Kahit masakit sa aking kalooban ay hindi ako kailanman susuko. Dahil pag namatay ako, mamamatay rin ang tao. At hindi kaya ng puso ko, dahil may mga tao pa rin sa mundo na, kahit minsan, ay tumutulong saakin. Isa na doon si Nicole, isang batang nananahimik, at bihirang mapansin.

Bata pa lang sya’y malapit na sya sa puso ko, at dahil bihira na ako magkaroon ng kaibigan, naging malapit na rin ako sa kanya. Bata pa lang sya’y mas gusto na nyang maglakad sa damo kaysa sa konkreto. Nang tumanda sya’y sinisita nya ang mga kaibigan nyang hindi rumerespeto saakin. Kapag umiiyak ako at tumutulo ang luha ko sa lupa ng tao, ngingiti sya at ipipikit ang kanyang mata – iniisip nya kung gaano ako kaganda, kahit na nagmumukmok ako dahil wala akong kasama.

Nang maranasan nya maging masaya ay naisipan nyang pumitas ng bulaklak at ihagis ito sa mga ulap. Nang maranasan nya maging malungkot ay ginugunihin nya ang sarili nyang burol – at ang kabaong nya’y gawa sa kahoy at may suot syang korona ng rosas, at dahan dahan syang itutulak sa dagat kung saan kami magkakaisa. Nakapikit ang kanyang mata – at naisip ko kung gaano sya kaganda, kahit na lumuluha ang kanyang muka dahil minsa’y wala syang kasama.

Dahil doon, araw-araw ay hinihinipan ko sya ng hangin. Kahit saan sya pumunta’y hindi sya gaano naiinitan, hindi tulad ng iba. Dahil tunay ngang hindi sya katulad ng iba. Minahal nya ako kahit wasak-wasak na ako sa maraming sulok ng aking katawan. Malapit na akong sumuko, at bumigay, ngunit dahil may batang naniniwala na ako’y maganda pa rin, at dahil tuluyan syang nagiging mapagpakumbaba pagdating sa akin, hindi ako susuko sa tao. Dahil nalaman ko na, marami man ang mang-iwan sa iyo, ito naman ang magiging dahilan kung bakit ang kakapiranggot na natira ay magiging espesyal sa buhay mo.

Pangalan Ko’y Kalikasan

Public vs Private Schoolteachers

 Written on March 6, 2013

The world depends on teachers, and I don’t understand why public school teachers are not getting the rewards they deserve. As a matter of fact, I think public school teachers are more important, and should have more respect than private school teachers, simply because they are teaching the minds, correcting the morals, guiding the souls, of more than 75% of the whole student population in the whole country. Now, where would our country be if these teachers did not do a good job?

 

Where would we be if they manipulated them, forced their own opinions, choked their students, with lies, impurity, and impressive ways to deceive? Where would we be if they simply just quit, because of the lack of respect, because of the lack of appreciation, because of the lack of salary?

 

These public school teachers handle almost twice, and sometimes thrice, the number of students private school teachers do. I cannot stress just how much the future of the world depends on them. Because parents of these children, the government of our country, put their faith on these teachers to teach them rightfully.

 

These teachers can tell the 40 students in their classroom that being who you want to be is sinful, wrong, and that you will be damned to hell if you are in any way different or unique, and these students will believe them. These teachers can drill into their heads that math and science is simply all about memorization, and these students will obey. These teachers can order their students, scold them, tell them they are unworthy to live simply because life is a race and they are already too far behind to catch up, and these students will listen. These teachers shape almost 10, 000 students in their whole career.

 

One act of ignorance done every day to the same student and he will think he is unworthy of attention, that he has nothing to show. Favoritism amongst the class of 45 students will drive the students to compete, not for the sake of knowledge, but for the sake of getting the higher grade.

 

Do you see why they are so important?

 

Whereas, private teachers can attend to every need of each individual, one moment at a time, simply because they only have to nurture 30 or less students.

 

And yet private teachers get a higher pay than public teachers.

 

If these private teachers go wrong, if they teach the students to make sins, it won’t make a revolution, simply because these students are only 20-30% of the whole student population in the whole country, and the number of public students outweigh them. In the end, the influence of the majority wins.

 

But if said influcence of the majority is a bad one, well, what happens to the country? What happens to the future generation? What happens to humanity? What happens to us?

 

Do you see why they are so important now?

Public vs Private Schoolteachers

The curse of being a teenager

Too young to work, too old to play. Our worth is judged by how well we do in general things that have no relation to what we are passionate in.We are judged by how well we follow another human’s instructions.

The only way to survive and ace is by brainwashing not just our minds but our hearts too, for there is no space for both what we wish and what others expect us to accomplish.

Some just suffer through it all, others try to make a stand, a few simply gave up and ended their lives. How often do we hear such news nowadays. How tragic.

This is our curse.

We are the victims of every critic, every bigoted, narrow-minded, judgmental person in the world. We are prejudiced. People think that everything we do are yet too childish to be taken seriously, but unlike children, we are not allowed the same privilege of a child to let our imaginations grow and run wild. “It’s to train you for reality, you see,” they say.

What we like, others hate. It has nothing to do with the quality of what we are obsessed with. Rather, it has more to do with the fact that teenagers are the target audience – or rather, just a majority of it. One Direction, Glee, Justin Bieber, Daniel Padilla… All over the world, people loathe us.

This stage of life is most essential, for it shapes our beings, shapes our future. Our actions will be recorded in merits and awards and it’s either you are a talented youth, or just a nobody.

For those whose skills are overlooked, whose talents are underestimated, or when the field of their passion itself is less appreciated, this is a difficult task. The school itself – the place for higher education – does not give them a chance to showcase, to hone, to nurture, their unique and special abilities.

Tell me life is fair now.

The curse of being a teenager