A friend told me I was right to go for what I wanted.

Another told me that I was stupid. I should have stuck to my pride.

Whatever it is, I am happy with my decision.

Who is to say what is good for someone else? Who says that everything works in the same way they experienced it?

Isn't it better to go for what you want as long as it makes you happy?

All I knew back then was I was sad when he was gone and so I wanted him near. There is nothing wrong in getting what I want as long as I deserve it. I deserve him and he deserves me.

As long as I want him, the whole universe will conspire to make us one. And I will see to it that it'll happen.


State of Euphoria

It was the first time we went to see a movie together, just the two of us. Real Steel, Hunger Games, and Avengers, we saw them all with kins and friends but The Dark Knight Rises? We were on our own. It was just about time. It has been a year since we got in this relationship and it was only then that we got to see a movie.

I guess the timing was just right that it was a Batman movie. He is the Joker, I am his Harley and what better movie was there to watch but his archenemy's?

The movie was great and all but I was preoccupied with his presence. He was just inches away from me. He gingerly held my hand and sometimes kissed it. There were some scenes that I caught him looking at me instead of the screen. But of course, there were also times it was the other way around. He looked happy...

After feasting our eyes on black suits and capes, we wanted to fill our stomachs with something we haven't tried before. The original plan was Army Navy, Brothers Burgers or Wham Burger. He had a craving then for burgers. After seeing the movie though, he wanted to have rice. We looked at Bon Chon's menu but since i could not find anything extraordinary there, I suggested looking for something else. We ended up having our dinner in Teriyaki Boy.

After that he accompanied me to the cab terminal and we parted ways like what we used to. I was already in the cab when he remembered that he was supposed to get his ankle support from me which we bought in Toby's earlier that day. He went back to the terminal but my cab had already started moving. We resolved the problem by agreeing to see each other on Tuesday.

Come to think of it, it had been a normal day, a normal date but I loved the day and I love the man I was with. I was happy. I still am.

I don't know how long it is going to last but I'm going to cherish each moment I am with him so I won't have any regrets.


On Hollander's "Teach the Books, Touch the Heart"

From time to time, teachers feel the need to exert more effort in ensuring students' learning. A part of us believe that our success in teaching is measured not only through our students' scores but their lives. Our highest goal becomes making them apply what they learn from Literature to their daily lives because Literature is the study of life. However, this application of learning seem impossible to measure.
In her article Teach the Books, Touch the Heart, published in New York Times, Claire Hollander discusses the ambiguity of assessing students' literary aptitude through objective types of tests.
She summarizes this ambiguity in three points:
1. reading classic literature does not guarantee high scores in national exams
2. appreciation of literary materials needs reliable assessment
3. assessing students' literariness cannot be done through objective tests.
She concludes her article by pointing out that school administrators need to have “extensive written examinations”. This, in the Philippine setting, is not plausible.
I agree that we have to measure our students' learning in different ways apart from multiple choice examinations. I also agree that learners have various ways of interpreting texts and this may be measured by essays. However, essays are not at all reliable. It is considered to be the most subjective among all the tests.
There are so many things to consider in administering essays to students. Among them are the freedom of students to choose their literary texts, the partiality of the instructor toward the subject, and the number of texts a student has to read and analyze, and thus the number of essays teachers have to check within a grading period.
            What the author wants to promote is too idealistic. In the Philippines, teachers have to handle several classes, each of which has 40 + students. Let us say, there are at least three reading tasks, and each task is to be assessed through an essay, that will mean 120 essays in one class for one term. If a teacher has 4 classes in a term, that will be 480 essays to read with varied lengths. A teacher does not only read essays in a semester. He or she has to make other tests, read more books, organize more lessons, etc. With barely five months, how can he or she juggle his/her responsibilities with checking written examinations? Moreover, how can the teacher prove fairness in judging the exams when exhaustion and biases hover in the process even with rubrics at hand? Loving Literature is not tantamount to loving writing. Not everyone likes to write particularly as a requirement. Not everyone can write magnificently.
There is also an issue of grammar.
Ms Hollander writes from a point of view of a Literature teacher handling only a handful of students. Her ideas are idealistic and they drive us back to our original objective of making students learn and love literature and not only pass standardized exams. However, in reality, true appreciation of literature is exhibited in different forms that are difficult to assess. One thing that makes testing easier is the presence of objective exams.


On Teaching Literature (I. Cruz) and Teaching Classic Literature Classically (A. Kurn)

In his article, Teaching Classic Literature Classically, Andrew Kurn summarizes the classical process of teaching in four stages: clarifying the purpose, deliberating materials, reading contemplatively, and teaching intentionally.
Kurn believes that the ultimate purpose of a literature teacher is to cultivate wisdom and virtue and I acknowledge this. The other stages however have triggered numerous questions and reactions in my mind.
Kurn says that teachers must select books with ‘virtues to imitate.’ I don’t exactly agree on this as I think that the preference of materials must reflect the purpose of teaching. If the purpose is to magnify beauty and goodness, then choose works with heroes and their extraordinarily good deeds. If the goal is to open the learners' minds to reality, choose pieces that don’t hold bars. As teachers, we often want students to learn morals from texts but we have to remember that many great literary pieces were not written with the same purpose. We cannot assume and we must not teach students to assume that writers always want to instill lessons in their works.
Kurn continues that educators can choose between didactic (contemplating models) and Socrates (exploring opinions) approaches, both of which are done inside the four corners of the classroom. This raises another question: if we are teaching our students about the study of life, why are we boxing their literary lives in the classroom?
Students respond to technology. They are more likely to read Facebook status and ‘like’ Instagram photos rather than listen to ala-Socrates teachers sharing knowledge in masterpieces of the past. They are more into seeing movie versions of the great novels rather than read the book themselves. How are teachers going to cope up with this budding need to be educated and entertained at the same time?
I have expected the article to enlighten me on making classic literature less boring for learners, given the advance technological age that we are in. However, it sticks to the traditional way of teaching literature as it has promised in its title Teaching Classic Literature Classically the last word now reads as ‘conventionally’. In this Digital Age, when telephone companies and gadget manufacturers release new phones, computers, softwares, and applications every week, and even a five-year-old kid knows how to use iPad, Kurn’s idea of teaching Classic Literature the classic way seems remotely outdated.
Apart from having classic books downloadable as ebooks in iPhone, how else can classic literature invade our learners’ lives?
 “The world has changed, the world is changing, the world will change. The more things change, the more they stay the same.”
Isagani Cruz explains this in his article, Teaching Literature in The Philippine Star. Since the teaching of literature is a very old specialization, instead of trying to come up with ‘new’ techniques, educators can improve old techniques that are uploaded in the World Wide Web. What he does in his lectures is not very far from what Kurn has mentioned in his article. Cruz has come up with his own class paradigm called FREE (Feeding the text, Reading the text, Enhancing the text, and Enjoying the text). He improves the ‘classic’ teaching by showing different videos in class. He also divides the time allotted for Socrates-discussion so learners will have enough time to discuss their opinions in class, the author can ‘talk’ through the texts, and leaves 10 % of his time for discussion. Most importantly, he emphasizes that ‘good literature teachers always relate a literary text, no matter how old or foreign, to today’s newspaper headlines.’
Students can be asked to ‘tweet’ significant lines from novels. They can be asked to blog about their reactions on poetries. They can be asked to show photos that capture themes of short stories.
Literature is a study of life. Educators must not only aim to successfully deliver their literary lessons to students. Their goal must be to let Literature influence the lives of the learners. As Victor Ordoñez said, “We cannot equip the youth of the future with the tools of the past.” The classic way of teaching is not totally bad but it needs enhancement. If educators won’t be updated with the latest trends in teaching Literature, students won’t find time to squeeze in ‘boring’ classics in their fast paced, technology-packed, highly interactive lives even when their gadgets are practically full of Classic Literature ebooks.


Savoring the Pain of Heartbreak

“I’m smiling but I’m dying, trying not to drag my feet…” The Script, Nothing

I was one of the Masters of Ceremony in our school assembly. I also needed to manage the WCC Music Club. I tried not to look stressed. I tried not thinking about it. In the deepest recesses of my heart, I knew I couldn’t.

How could I easily break a one-year habit of texting him ‘good morning’? How could I keep myself from wishing him goodnight when it used to be a routine? How could I suddenly cut ties with a person I fell so deeply in love with?

How could he do so much without me?

I even wore a pink dress today…

I tried to smile…

I tried to be happy…

I tried to shrug it off…

But the pain kept on haunting me. The toughest ones came at night when I had to think of how to get through another day without him.

It was hard to breathe.

I only had sleep to numb me and my dreams to keep me from falling apart. If I could, I would stay in those dreams where I could cuddle in his arms and forget everything but him. But I know those dreams could only prepare me for an even tougher pain that the next day has to offer. Nothing more.

I will only have to keep on smiling until I die inside.



One week after our anniversary
A week before my birthday
He got tired.

He did not want to see me.
He did not want to receive any message from me.
He wanted space.

He wanted to move on.
He did not feel the same and he was trying to figure things out.
The problem was he did not ask how I felt.

And that’s when it hurt.

Because that meant he didn’t care anymore.