Monthly Archives: June 2016

“Sa Likod Ng Pader” (Short Story – Filipino)

Tagaktak ang pawis ni Marco, mahapdi na ang kanyang mga kamay ngunit kaylangan niyang tiisin. Tatlong minuto pa lamang halos siyang nagpapadausdos pababa sa pader na iyon gamit ang isang lubid ngunit parang napakatagal na niya doon. Ayaw kasi niyang bilisan at baka mahulog siya. Tumingin siya sa baba. Gabi noon pero maliwanag dahil sa buwan. Kaunting-kaunti na lang at makakatungtong na siya sa lupa. Pwede na siyang bumitaw mula sa pagkakahawak sa lubid. Dalawang dipa na lamang halos ang layo niya sa pinakakaasam na kalayaan.

Source: Sa Likod Ng Pader

GRADING GRADES

a+

We label students as pesky when they keep pestering us with questions about their scores in quizzes and exercises. We find them annoying when near the end of a semester or shortly after final exams they send emails or call to inquire about their grades.

We say they are desperate when after seeing their report cards they move heaven and earth to make us reconsider the grades they received and possibly give them higher marks citing 101 reasons why we must  do so.  Reasons they cite range from queer to valid.

There are times when some teachers drop the correction fluid unto the grades they have given because they get moved either by the appeal of the students or by pressure from upstairs.

We often criticize students for being so grade-conscious.

But is it their fault?

NO!

Students are grade-conscious not because they want to but standards of society force them to be. The policies and procedures in the academe frame that kind of mind-set in the consciousness of students. They are seemingly programmed to become grade-conscious.

It all begins at home. Parents keep reminding their children to study hard and get good grades. When the children get to school, the indoctrination goes full steam. Teachers give a battery of tests and exercises telling the students to perform well if they want to pass the subject. And that if they want to be part of the honor roll then they need to have high scores.

Parents tell students to study hard, the teachers tell them to study harder. Day and night students are told that they must get good grades. After school, parents would even acquire the services of a tutor to further improve the academic performance of their children.

That’s how the “getting-good-grades-is-a-must” mentality gets ingrained in the consciousness of the poor little kids.

Companies and corporations deliver the coup de grace by frequently advertising that they hire only the best and brightest. And what’s the tangible measurement of these superlatives (best and brightest)? GRADES…A+, or 1 or 5 or what-have-you.

Society have assigned GRADES as proof of excellence. Academic performance of students is measured through their grades. The higher the grades the more excellent is the student. That’s how it goes. RESULT? The students become grade-conscious. The grades they receive is a microscope and they are the specimen in the slide. Their academic marks are like lenses used to magnify the contents of the shell between their ears.

The parents want them to work hard for their grades. Yes, perhaps for the children’s sake but the grades they receive is an instrument used by the parents in monitoring their investment. They want to make sure that their children are not wasting the money they are spending for their education.

Parents become so mad when their children present to them unsatisfactory academic marks. And of course, when their children perform well academically, they are elated no end. It is a boost to their pride, a feather in their caps.

The schools in any country stretch their students to the limits of academic achievement because when students pass standardized examinations given by their governments it redounds to their benefit. It’s good for ranking and accreditation purposes. It’s a boost to their reputation. It’s good for marketing.

The parents and the teachers keep telling the kids that good grades is a prerequisite to success, the only way to get a good job. Thus the students think that the purpose of education is purely economic, to prepare them for a job. And if they fail to get good marks their future is doomed. They will not succeed.

This is the way the students are brainwashed into getting the highest marks possible. This is what developed among students a tunnel vision about education, that it’s all about getting good grades in order to be among the best and the brightest to who the big companies and corporations would give a chance to get a high-paying job.

The grades have seemingly become a curse. The grades take joy off learning. They make students prisoners in the classrooms and the teachers the unforgiving and unrelenting prison guards.

The grades put blinders on the students preventing them from seeing the bigger picture, that education is more than getting good grades and that the purpose of education goes beyond getting a job.

It’s sad that both the parents and the educators themselves are the ones putting the blinders on the students. They are the ones who put enormous pressure on the students to get good grades.

There’s nothing wrong with inculcating excellence among students. That’s what schools ought to be doing. There’s nothing wrong as well if  students are encouraged  to get the highest marks possible.  But educators  must not forget to tell them at the same time that grades are not the be-all and end-all of schooling. The students need to be told that the world doesn’t end if they don’t receive A+ (or 1 or 5).

Schools must not forget that they exist to prepare the students, not only to find a job after graduation, but to live life and be a productive member of society and humanity.

No Love Lost Between the Catholic Church and Duterte

Cartoon-for_27MAY2016_FRIDAY_renelevera_DUTERTE-AND-CRUZ

During the campaign period for the May-2016 presidential derby, a few (or is it many or all?) Catholic bishops and priests openly expressed their disapproval of then candidate Rodrigo Duterte. Reportedly, priests used their homilies to dissuade the Catholic faithful from voting for the mayor of Davao City.

But they failed.

Whether the bishops and the priests like it or not, Duterte is the Philippine president for the next 6 years.

Before the May, 2016 elections, Duterte could be remembered saying, “I said let this election be a sort of a referendum, a sort of a plebiscite for the church and me.” And the Filipino people have spoken.

The Catholic Church, by taking sides and for singling out Duterte, initiated the animosity between them and the soon-to-be head of the Philippine government. It can be said that the clergy fired the first shots and they are supposedly wise enough to know that the outspoken Duterte, win or lose, will retaliate. They unwittingly stirred up a hornet’s nest.

For all the verbal salvos fired against him by the bishops and the priests the strongest response by Duterte was “the Catholic Church is the most hypocritical institution.”  He has gone as far as accusing the bishops of not keeping their vow of celibacy. The incoming Philippine president also added that the clergymen sought favors such as cars from politicians.

Duterte threatened to expose what he termed as the sins of the past committed by the Church including priests whom he alleged to have had affairs with women. He even claimed that he was sexually abused by a priest when he was a child.

He urged the Catholic Church to just observe the “separation of the Church and the State” and not meddle with the affairs of the government.

After Duterte’s rants and shocking insults, the biggest church organization in the Philippines started singing a different tune.

Before the May 9 elections, one of the most outspoken among the bishops who attacked Duterte’s candidacy was Archbishop Socrates Villegas. The bishop has a reputation of saying what he needs to say but his response to Duterte’s tirades against the Church could be construed as generally reconciliatory. He said, “Mine is the language of peace that refuses the dark magic of revenge. Mine is the silence of respect for those who consider us their enemies but whose good we truly pray for and whose happiness we want to see unfold.”

But while the Archbishop spoke of the nobility in silence, a Catholic priest (whose name I don’t wish to divulge but he knows I’m referring to him should he get to read this article) continued his attack against president-elect Rodrigo Duterte. The exact words he wrote (as a comment to an article about the incoming Philippine President which he posted on his Facebook) goes, “6 years tau [sic] magtitiis.”

Translation: “We’ll suffer for six years.”

Duterte is yet to serve a day in office but the priest is seemingly certain that the Philippines will suffer during his term.

Can he see the future? Definitely not but one thing for sure the priest knows Philippine history. He knows pretty well that for 333 years, not just 6 years, the Filipinos suffered tremendously in the hands of Spanish conquistadores, aided by the Catholic Church. The priest, I’m sure, have read Dr. Jose Rizal’s “Noli Me Tangere” and  knows one of the characters called Padre Damaso.

“Are the Spaniards really gone? Is Padre Damaso just a fiction character?  Ask Duterte!

%d bloggers like this: