Saturday, January 29, 2005

half-tank refill

had my long overdue one-to-one with my boss last friday. it's usually bi-annual thing, but i guess we both got caught up with the drills of work. to give you an idea of how hectic our lives are, when we see each other in school in the morning, instead of the usual, "hi," she greets me with "kamusta ka na, teach?" to which i usually reply with a deep sigh. last friday, over lunch, she posed the question again. in response, all i could say was, "tired."

in the past year, it seems that i've run out of gas. i don't think that i was built to write 3 daily lesson plans and teach 3 different subjects... and wait til you meet my kids! it can burn you up pretty quickly. it actually makes me excited to not teach next schoolyear and just review for my MA comprehensives.

earlier tonight, i was de-cluttering the files on my computer when i stumbled on the following piece. it's an assignment i turned in for an MA class a couple of years ago for a video we viewed one Saturday morning.

I never thought, that at age 34, I would be back in school again. I always thought that my Bachelor’s Degree was enough education for me. Perhaps, if I had a teacher such as Mr. Doud, my attitude would be a lot different.

The film, “Molder of Dreams,” recounts Mr. Doud’s achievements as an educator. Perhaps greater than his winning the National Teacher Award and the opportunity to meet the President of the United States, Mr. Doud’s greatest achievements would be the very lives of his students that he has been able to affect by personally knowing them - beyond grades and papers.

“Lives are more important than lessons.” His life as a student is a testimony of this. He related how, in his youth, he always considered himself to be a nobody until his third grade teacher paid him notice as a somebody – not as a trouble student or an underachiever, but a person with a life and a story to tell.

I remember how, in the film, the class knew – and cared to know - very little about Scott until Mr. Doud prompted him to tell his story. All people want to be valued, whether they say so or not.

As a preschool teacher, this could not be any truer. I have seen how young children clamor for attention in as many fashions as I have students. I have one in particular that easily caught the class’ attention, a 5-year old girl with cerebral palsy. For the first few weeks of class, some of the children treated her differently; others were even cruel. I invited her mother to speak to the class one morning to tell the children how her daughter was just like them, how she was different from them, and how they can all help her in class. That small exercise made waves of differences in how the children have since related to her.

It was the loving thing to do. Mr. Doud tries to see Christ in each of his students; I became a teacher because of my great love for Christ and for children. As a teacher, I have been given a great opportunity to be able to mold a child, a person, a life. As a Christian and a Catholic, I try as much as I can to do this lovingly – shaping their young hearts and minds for Jesus.
that girl is still in our school, now in grade 1. she still "wobbles" when she walks (she wears braces on both legs), but she hugs with the strength of a bear whenever she sees me. she hugs as if i were the next best thing to santa claus! and though i may not be in a race for "teacher of the year," i count her as one of my achievements.

re-reading the piece convicted me of my weariness. beyond the paper work and the deadlines, it's the lives that teachers touch that count. i've found my groove again. mondays aren't so bad anymore... but fridays still do look better :)

pressure me, why don't you?

my best friend calls me this morning to give me feedback on her daughter's PTC -- i've been tutoring her since the 2nd quarter. she passed all her subjects! YIPEE!!


she's in critical shape. if, at the end of the schoolyear, her general average passes with one failing grade, she repeats the level; 2 failing grades, she needs to transfer to another school. AND SHE'S ONLY IN GRADE 3!!! the clincher: according to my best friend, "repeating is not an option."

i can only do so much.

Monday, January 24, 2005

bizarre encounter

procrastinated on attending mass and ended up going the 8:15 mass at sanctuario de san jose last night. it felt as if i was having an sfc flashback.
i must have seen 4 or 5 former chaptermates during the mass. a polite nod would have more than sufficed. right after mass though, a hand touched my shoulder from behind and whom should i see? miguelito! another chaptermate who just so happened to be my godson! NYAAAAH! had he approached me to ask for a Christmas gift? (he's working already, by the way -- my first godchild in the workforce!) he also happened to mention that his birthday (his 31st -- or was it 32nd?) was coming up soon -- as in this week. in fairness, i did manage to remember THAT much. thankfully, no! hahaha! it was just to say hi and to catch up... him, me plus two others.

it's literally been ages since i last saw him -- i stopped giving him gifts once graduated from college. one Christmas, it was HE who sent me a gift! -- and boy, has he grown! he's huge! somehow, the name didn't seem to suit the built.

i always find comfort in being able to talk freely about community and my faith with those who "understand." since "reuniting" in sfc, i've always related to him as a sister in the faith. but once the conversation turned to family talk, he was miguelito all over again. haay... something's just don't seem to change. tonight, miguelito, my prayers are yours. have faith. His plan is perfect.

Sunday, January 16, 2005


checked out my Christian name for our lesson in my religion class tomorrow. how tragic!

my saint namesake was a beautiful woman who was locked up in a tower by her own father. when he discovered that she had converted to Christianity, he got furious and was ordered to kill her. she escaped but was caught, dragged by her hair back home, then beheaded by her father... upon which time, he was immediately struck by lightning and died. fire from heaven. sweet revenge. she also died a virgin. shet.

she's also asociated with st. nicholas or as a gift-bringer, in her own right. she must've been a ninang also. did i mention she was beautiful? hahaha!

Saturday, January 15, 2005

living up to my name?

as an assignment for our community assembly in Ang Ligaya ng Panginoon, we were asked to find the meaning of our names. in biblical times, a person's name was viewed as an equivalent to the person himself. it "defined" who you were; your character, reputation, worth, will and ownership. fair warning for parents-to-be.
i challenged that i was mostly called "ninang."

well, guess what... turns out that "leslie" means "from the garden of holly" or "pool by the garden." my Christian name, which will be unmentioned for now, means "unique, mysterious, and rare." summing it up, mama aly reasons that that explained my playful, kid side. a place (or person) you run to get away and be refreshed (coincidentally, we DO have a pool!). holly, you associate with Christmas -- where ninangs' roles come into play a lot (was i made for Christmas then?). the "unique, mysterious, and rare" part just means na "kakaiba ako!" hahaha!

so i guess, i do live up to my name! add on my surname... now that's a tough call my clan has to live up to, but we do beautifully, if you ask me. all part of God's perfect plan. nothing truly happens by accident. "called by name" now has a new, more endearing meaning to me.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

lessons learned from interchange

long before i became a teacher, i knew that you should never stop learning. after having gone through 3 weeks of interchange, i did get to take home valuable lessons.
  1. know your religion and defend it with faith. religion teacher or not, i literally had a lot of explaining to do to my thai visitor. "what's Christmas all about? why hear mass every Sunday? who is the Virgin Mary? what's with all the stars?..." knowing the answers to all the questions i credit not only to a good catholic education, but to my conviction to my faith. honestly, without faith, if you take one step back and hear the questions yourself, you may ask yourself, "why DO i do all this stuff?!" blind obedience? more than knowing the textbook answers, as cheezy as it sounds, you have to be able to answer from the heart.
  2. love the local language... and speak it! knowing filipino -- be it as a first or second language -- is always a plus, whether it be to talk in front of the foreigners, ask for directions, get a discount, and even to negotiate to get into the baguio country club to get raisin bread. yes, speaking the local language can literally get you places. it is not uncool to be able to speak in filipino and i salute the thais (and my kids) just for trying! i've also learned never to speak above the person you're speaking with... in any language.
  3. plan your interchange and stick to the plan. eat your heart out, jiro! hahaha! enough said.
  4. my brother's not so bad after all. for someone who said that having a guest stay for 3 weeks would be a "bother," he sure didn't show it! he volunteered to show my guest PGH and medical city -- for what reasons, i don't know. duh. he planned our trip to my dad's hometown, drove us there, and even treated us to dinner. he went all out taking us to see kitchie nadal and drink to our livers' content -- of course, it DID help that he was one of the owners of the bar. he had filipino dishes especially cooked for sunisa and even tagged along on our trip to greenbelt on her last free night, even footing the bill for tavern and bizu.
  5. i love my kids! i loved them then in thailand; i love them now. can't imagine going through the program with a different set. will miss sleeping with them -- hahaha! i love their parents, too! hahaha!

Monday, January 10, 2005

over and done with

i'm a "list" person. not the "top 10" sorta type; i'm more of the "to do" type. it keeps me organized and on top of things in my crazy, active, hectic world. it gives you a sense of accomplishment whenever you've ticked off an item. me, being a visual person, seeing those little check marks on my palm pilot makes me grin -- let's remember however, that that's not the reason to have lists, okay?

and there lies the reason why i haven't been able to blog -- it's been so long that i even forgot my username. in the past 2 months, i have:
  • orchestrated my first communion class' recollection
  • laid out the first communion missallette -- thrice!
  • designed the first communion certificates
  • recorded the first communion songs
  • duplicated first communion songs on cassettes
  • wrote an article for the school newsletter
  • made 3rd quater exams for my religion 5 and 6 class for a kid leaving for india for cisv
  • organized the first school mass in cradle
  • cooked putanesca for a faculty fellowship
  • orchestrated the first communion mass
  • resurrected the guest room for interchange guset -- new paint, new mattress, new shelves, new ceiling fan, new table, new lamp
  • changed toilet fixtures -- 2 showers and 1 toilet
  • designed the fund-raising logo for the school
  • shopped for 24+ godchildren for Christmas (+ gift wrapping)
  • organized the interchange program and budgets with the moms
  • created an interchange scrapbook overnight
  • laid-out high school batch directory for the homecoming
  • composed texts for trophies, certificates and radio spiels for the homecoming
  • personally went after batchmates at their offices with an info sheet
  • collected and disbursed funds for the homecoming
  • purchased what seems to be the last DVD compilation of The Godfather for freddie, my monito
  • attended my annual Christmas dinner with little, frankie and tina -- plus sandy, my thai guest
  • drove for a school visit in antipolo, rizal
  • traveled to paete, laguna with dennis, sandy (phils.), sandy (thailand), and miguel
  • tutored my best friend's daughter for 3rd quarter exams -- she passed all save for filipino!
  • helped make 100 luminaries for a wedding with amy
  • organized new year's media noche with my sister, sandy
  • conducted the interchange, going everywhere from the tiangge, to antipolo, enchanted kingdom, alabang, and baguio
  • survived the meningo-whatever-virus in baguio
  • stood as a godmother (again) at a confirmation
  • made a prayer rock for my new godson
  • attended my high school class' 20th anniversary homecoming

all these, over and above work and school. it wasn't a very fun thing to do, mind you -- well, not all of it. shopping's always fun :)

as i take a look at the list, do i feel accomplished? yes, but more than that, i feel tired. and it's only the 2nd week of the new year. sigh.

i realize that the list is a list of things to do for others... not for myself. i don't think that i've even read a book this year! sadness. perhaps the only thing i've done for myself is cut my hair, and that was only 3 days ago. must start a list of my own. i already know 2 items i can put down: (1) learn to ask for help and (2) say "no." i can almost hear mama aly heave a sigh of relief.