Thursday, December 23

It is what remains...

They say that today is a world of intangibles. The things that we don't see are the drivers of our progress. Knowledge, resourcefulness, innovation... stuff that we can't really see nor hold but nonetheless change our lives.

But then, there's nothing really new about valuing things we can't physically grasp. As the Fox told the Little Prince, "It is only through the heart that one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye." And in spite of the fast-paced beating of our daily lives, one essential intangible remains. Its power is timeless and its beauty continues to inspire.

Amid the cheering of the Holidays, a TV bit caught my attention, a human interest story to be shown in one of the local networks. It was about a kid suffering from physical deformities that left his growth stunted. In it, the kid, teary-eyed, tells his mother, "Huwag kang mawawalan ng pag-asa ha?"

Hope. When all else is lost, it is what remains.

I'm sure each of us has gone through some form of difficulty this year. Be they finances, family problems or matters of the heart, at some point, we might have felt as if we're running on empty with nothing more to give. But then we pushed on. And in trying to make sense of our difficulties, holding on proves invaluable in seeing through our hardships.

So here's to dark moments and better days! For in the kaleidescope and see-saw of life, even if we lose everything, one thing must remain... hope.

Merry Christmas to the many beautiful people that blessed my life this year... and that includes you!


Wednesday, December 8

Teach Me

I never thought teaching would be this difficult. Every meeting is a practical mine of self-doubt.

Am I making sense?
Am I being credible?
Are these kids following me?
What are they saying behind my back?

More than finding time to prepare my lectures, it's looking the part and making myself professor-ly that's difficult. Minus 6 or 7 years, my students are the same age as I. And that's not exactly a different generation. Being more or less in touch with how they think, I am all the more reminded of how ruthless students can be to professors they don't like. Seriously, that's what's stressing me out.

And just recently, I had this "incident" when after attending an earlier orientation, one of my classes dissed me and missed my session. Save for a handful, most of them decided to skip my class... when they were in fact already in school! I saw them! I attended the same orientation for crying out loud! And to add insult to injury, they were pleading all sorts of excuses to extend the submission of a one-page paper I assigned last week. Geez, come on! It's a one-page paper!

I'd like to think that I'm very straightforward with my students. What you see is what you get. These are my requirements and these are my expectations. And I seriously doubt if I'm a terror professor.

I guess that's it. I'm torn between treating these guys as adults who can make informed decisions and treating them as kids who need to be trained and disciplined. But then I made a firm resolution early on that I WILL NOT BE A BABYSITTER!

It's kinda frustrating and I thank God that he made me a little clueless and dense by nature. I'm not really devastated by this recent power struggle. If at all, it made me think of maximizing my arsenal to drive home a point. And for graduating kids, I guess there's nothing more potent than their final grades. But if so, then why did they wage this "war" to begin with? Shouldn't they be bowing before me and throwing themselves at my feet?

Oh well, at least I get to exercise my patience and better judgment. I have no intentions of throwing a fit to express my frustration. In fact, I've made a mental note of how I should act if and when this power struggle escalates into an actual confrontation:

Dramatic pause 1.

Ask, "Ano'ng problema natin?"

Dramatic pause 2.

Ask, "Bakit niyo ako binabastos?"

Dramatic pause 3 followed by an even more dramatic bow.

Darc raises his head and says:

"Class dismissed."

If I find nobody moving - and I do hope they find themselves stunned and off-balanced - Darc says:

"Get the hell out of this classroom... now!" in a raised but not shouting voice.

'Di ba? I may be frustrated and seething in anger... but I vow to at least do it in style.

Good luck naman talaga!