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Chris Cesar B. Lagrio B1 L4 St. Michael Subdivision, Mayapa, Calamba City, Laguna 09207383964 cblagrio@live.

com 25 y/o Theme: What They Should Have Taught Us in School Title: I Will Gladly Teach These Stuff if These Are Taught in School

I am newly registered Professional Teacher. After being away in the academe for two school years, I have finally decided to practice my craft. To be honest, I really miss the atmosphere of a highschool classroom. So my application has already been sent to some schools in my locality. One of the things that I am thinking about is the questions that I will face during my upcoming interviews. Proud guy that I am (my sister says conceited should be the right adjective for me), I have decided against consulting my classmates and friends who decided to teach right after graduating from college. So I find it a bit of coincidence that Inquirer Magazine asked for essays on the things that should have been taught in school. As I listed down some of the things that I hope was taught to me during my school days, I also pondered on the reasons why they are not taught at all in the first place. One good reason is that the lesson or the subject matter is too complicated for a school age individual. Another is that the topic might simply discourage the students to experiencing new things. On the other hand, there is the idea that some people or institutions are too sensitive on a given topic. Last is that it was not considered at all during my time, but the lesson is already part of the present curricula.

The things that I have included in this article are based on my personal experiences, observations and opinions. I know that there are some that others will want to exclude or to disprove; I am not out here to argue the points. The only thing I hope is that I will not lose my license over this article. First is that idea that the world we live in is complicated. There is the fact that some of the things that we are taught in school are not likely practiced in the real world. I mean we are taught rules, but we end up not abiding by them. A perfect example is traffic rules. I believe that crossing the street is one that most people are guilty of. As kids, we are taught to cross only at the designated pedestrian lane; we must wait for the signal to cross, either by the traffic light or by the traffic enforcer. The problem is that as we mature, we tend to disregard simply because not obeying them will likely save us some time or we are just to lazy to walk to the right place to cross into. More traffic rules that are commonly ignored are the right place to overtake a vehicle (which is commonly violated by motorcycle riders) and the rule that vehicles are supposed to make a full stop before the zebra line to let people cross (in my opinion those drivers that stop at the exact line, cutting the lane for the pedestrians, is either an idiot or a person who doesnt care for the welfare of other people). Second is that we are not really taught how to tolerate. I said tolerate because this could lead to respect. We say that we are a very respectful people, yet we have some words and reactions for people who are different. We are taught about the ethnic groups way back in our elementary years so that we will know about the uniqueness and the great things about each group, yet we laugh when we see someone who is different. I can recall a certain variety show wherein a contestant mentioned that he is from a certain group. At the prodding of the host,

he greeted everyone on his native tongue. Sadly everyone laughed. I was totally disgusted; these people might find the words funny, but to laugh as a reaction is really very disrespectful. The guy simply smiled amidst the laughter, showing that he has more manners than the people who act and say that they are from a more modern and well taught group. Third is that we are not taught to respect other peoples religious beliefs. Now this is a tough one. I am born and raised on the Catholic faith, so school is the venue where I got to know about the beliefs of other people. This is probably the same as other people. However, this does not deter some people from bashing other peoples beliefs in traditional and social media. At school, when we dont understand something, we are taught to look at it closely. It puzzles me why some people, instead of finding out why other people practice certain things, will be quick to say that the practice is wrong and to prove their point will quote certain passages in the Holy Bible. Honestly, I dont know what they get from it. Our public school system practices some ideas of Bertrand Russell, especially on the idea on not teaching religion as a subject. I supposed I should have learned this during my lessons on Educational Philosophies, but I better understood it from Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles, in a sermon or a speech (?) during a gathering of teachers of Catholic Schools under the Archdiocese of Lipa. This was supposed to give an air of impartiality, since the students of public schools tend to come from various religious denominations. In my opinion, this did not

really worked at all as I mentioned in the previous paragraph. If only we get to learn more about the religious beliefs around the world. What I mean is a comprehensive class that will tell us about the religious movements, how they started and their reasons for their beliefs and more. However, I think this will not

likely to happen. After all, a lot of uptight religious people will end up making a huge issue of it; they will probably say that it is a subtle means to get some students to convert to other religions. This will likely end up being more controversial than the teaching of the life of Rizal as a Subject in College as well as the still heavily debated RH Law combined. Fourth is the fact that we need to go out there and interact with other people to better understand them. My sister said that there is this certain concept in Filipino Psychology to describe it, but the idea evades us as I was writing this down. Let me explain it in my own experiences. There is one guy I met in college that was readily labeled as a weirdo by classmates and even by those who were senior to him. By fate, I ended up being his classmate and I got to know him more as the days went by. Instead of seeing the weird guy that everyone was saying, I saw this man who is properly raised in a very decent, strong and loving family. The other people thought of him as a loser, I knew him to be responsible eldest son who takes on the responsibility of being a bread winner and a parent to his younger sisters. In a related matter, I have also been on this judgmental side. I spent some of my college years seeing the varsity players as a bunch of easy going, pure brawn with no brains and guys who act like they are Gods gift to women (guys, wag kayong magagalit sa akin). Actually those traits are said to be the common traits of students athletes with a very few exception. Then I became a student

assistant, assigned to write up sports stories as well as acting as a team statistician. So me, the consummate nerd, ended up hanging a lot with the jocks. Up close I saw more of their imperfections, but also their positive attributes. I learned more about their reason for playing, their goals, how they face discriminating professors, how they grit their teeth during intense training and more. I ended up being one with

them in rejoicing over wins, being saddened by bitter defeats and feeling the nerves before the game. In fact, I got nervous than the guys on the floor. I am really glad for that opportunity, because I met and know a lot of great people. Fifth is the idea the ego or false pride will get us nowhere. We are taught early in school that one of the faulty Filipino attitudes is crab mentality. In college, especially in our General Psychology classes, we learned something about ego. However, we failed to practice it. We tend to make politics of almost every little thing. A good example of this, according to what I read about in the papers, is the state of Philippine Sports. They say that the reason why we do not achieve

much in international sporting events, aside from lack of financial backing and proper and modern training, is the intense politics going on among the people who were supposed to run our sports programs. That is why I am happy to learn that the Philippine Basketball Association set aside some of their rivalries and personal pride to support our National Mens Basketball Team in the upcoming FIBA Asia Mens Championship. Lets just hope that it is not only lip service. More on the ego side; I always believe that by setting aside some of the pride we have, we can really accomplish a lot. When people ask me of my most favorite classmates during my college years (I spent the latter part of it being an irregular student), I would always say that it is this certain HRM class. I took up World Literature from them and I never saw and felt such support in that group. They dont mind if you are better than the other guy, what they do is that they will pool their abilities to complement each other. This is the main reason why everything from discussions to activities all went so smoothly.

Moving on, we will now delve on three issues that will be very familiar to us. One is about bullying, corporal punishment and cheating. As a student, I have been on the giving and in the receiving side of bullying. I was a transferee, and was one that shows a lot of promise in terms of academics. However, being placed in the lowest section as per school rule or judgment call of the principal back then, I felt that I was thrown in with the wolves. Being the brainy guy in a class of average and struggling students means having Kick my Ass tattooed in my forehead. I would prefer that they gloat when they beat me to an answer to the teachers questions, but it was kind of a rare occurrence; I ended up fighting back most of the time. The worst of my brawls happened inside a church. Yes, at the farthest pew to be exact. The sad story is that I was branded as a trouble maker when in fact; I was being victimized by bullies. Oh, and I forgot to mention, I was studying then at a Catholic School. Imagine the horror on the faces of the Sisters and the teachers when they learned about that fight. I admit that I have my own fair share of bullying, although mine was with the intellectual bullying; that is in spite of my rather large frame. I recall one occasion when we were doing some drills as part of Citizens Advancement Training. This former classmate, now one of the CAT officers, told me about the words I told him back when we were freshmen. I told him then that with his intellectual level, he will not be looking towards a great future (either in highschool or beyond that). I replied immediately, saying that my words turned out to be as a challenge for him to work hard. Good thing the officer did not took advantage of his position to make my life as an MP Sergeant a living hell.

To be honest, all forms of bullying, whether in physical beating, intimidation, nicknames, insults and just the idea that it is plain to see that you are not being made welcome in the class; that is really tough for any kid or teenager. After all, our school years is also the time that we get this desire to be part of the large group; to be accepted for who and what we are. Imagine the torment of a kid who was bullied because of his small stature, excess weight, too much facial blemishes and all those other physical attributes that are sometimes due to genetics. Maybe they end up trying product after product that will solve or at least alleviate those problems. How about those who were bullied because they are not going with the latest trends in fashion, gadgetry and in the hottest shows in the television? One reason for their uncoolness is that their family might be in a tight financial situation; that the parent can only give the family the bare necessities. Maybe they end up blaming their parents for not being able to provide their every single want or worse, become overly obsessed with money and material things as they age. Forgive me for not being polite in the previous paragraph; I figured that we are not being polite at all when we are in the act of bullying someone. It is then fitting not to use politically correct words so that I can really be nasty in saying my point. What I want to say is that every time we bully someone, it can also be an indirect insult to his family and his background. After all, his family is where he gets all his physical attributes as well as his financial capability.

It is too bad that back then, bullying was not given the same kind of attention it gets nowadays. To be honest, I understood better the sad ideas behind bullying from the movies Anger Management and The Benchwarmers. Now, about corporal punishment, back in my student days, we were not taught to run to our parents and through them make complaints over the slightest physical contact by teachers. I mean the implied idea is that we have done something wrong, so we are punished. We must then not do that again if we do not want to be treated that way. When I imagine the attitude of students nowadays and compare it to the attitude of my peers back in the time that the idea of corporal punishment is in its infancy, I can say that students are really worse now than they are about ten to fifteen years ago. In fact some of them are at the point of being arrogant. Sure there are a lot of influences for the big change in behavior, but the idea of being untouchable by the teacher in spite of all shenanigans a student does can be a factor. After all a student can practically get away with almost everything since all the teacher can do as an immediate action is to reprimand him with words. Do not get me wrong; I believe that corporal punishment in itself is wrong. However, there are times that we have to be a little harsh so that we can get the students attention. After all, not everyone who experienced corporal punishment ended up being up. A lot of them, especially those who are in their midlife and above, are people who are very accountable on their actions. In practically the entire academe, cheating in a form is taboo. Most schools consider this as a very serious offence. However, we rarely see students pay the price for cheating (at least in my experience). I know this can be a very

complicated issue; after all we might run the risk of ruining someones life when we go to the extreme measure of kicking the erring student out. However, we are just fooling ourselves and our students when we let them get away with cheating; we as teachers and they as students are also robbing themselves of the ideas that may be of big use to them in the future. Another point is that if will not punish students for cheating, what will be the incentive of not doing it again? I also hoped that we are not given is the idea that we should, by all means possible, try to remember everything we have learned in school. After all, all those lessons might end up haunting us when we became parents and it is our turn to help our kids with their assignments. There is another thing I observe with most people. It is the preference in entertainment. As students, we are taught about the arts so that we can appreciate the beautiful things around us. Sadly, after all those lessons on arts, we still have a bad taste on the entertainment. Most of us prefer mediocre entertainment and artists. It is exemplified by the trend in the Metro Manila Film Festival. Recalling the contribution of Direk Jose Javier Reyes , Whos afraid of the MMFF top grosser? last month in the Entertainment section, the festival has

changed a lot. The same festival that produced a lot of great Filipino films is now the same film festival that showcases a lot of films simply made to attract moviegoers and gain a lot of profit. My point is practically the same with the idea in one of the article in Sunday Inquirer Magazine a few months ago. Forgive me if I cannot recall the issue and the title of the write up, but it is about a chef on the state of Philippine Cuisine. His idea is that we should not only look at food as a physiological need, but also as

a means of entertaining our palate. In terms of entertainment, we should not look at it as a means to while our time away or a means to forget the issues and struggles that we face in our everyday living; we should also look for the artistic value and the lessons it can impart to us. As for our artists, we should look at what they have to offer other than their looks. Oops! My article is really on the heavy side. Let us deal with a tough issue; although this one might get some smiles and frowns from us. We were not taught how to deal with issues of the heart. Most of us had their first love as students. Oh, that moment when we find ourselves that we are really besotted with that other person! When all we want is that in that special moment; we hold that person in our arms, tell him or her I love you, and be happily ever after. Add to that the sounds of violins playing and the rustling of leaves. I guess that this is the biggest influence to us by all we watch in TV and read about in novels. All we know as youngsters about love is about the romance, the kilig moments and so forth as depicted mostly in teen-oriented shows as well as those chick flicks that any self-respecting chest-thumping gentleman like me would not want to watch if not for our partners. We then lead to believe that our love story will be as touching as the ones in Fifty First Dates, The Wedding Singer, Notting Hill or The Vow. However, as we grow old, some of us realize that there is more to love than the sweet nothings, the looks of our partners among other nave reasons. Saying yes to a relationship will not make everything fall in place; especially where we wanted them. We learn that more important is the dynamics of the relationship;

that our compatibility extends to how we relate to the family and close friends and colleagues of our partner (as depicted in Meet the Parents and Meet the Fockers). If we want to see ourselves married, have to know that there is a lot to work on so that the love story will not end in a Kramer vs. Kramer type of scenario. It would have made a lot of difference for a lot of people if we get to know the difference between the bliss of being in love (which veers on the selfish side) and the joys loving someone (which is more selfless). Sadly, most of us probably had their first heartbreak in our student years. What made the grueling experience worse is that we do not have the first hand knowledge on how to deal with the pain. I guess the nearest concept that we were taught in school is about the grief process; and this one is more likely to be inclined with the loss of a loved one. It is just a good thing that we were all able to cope up with the loss in a way; not how Charley Baileygates did it in Me, Myself and Irene. Here is another subject matter that will likely make us smile or wince, depending on what you recall from your experiences. Another important concept that should have given out as a course in school is the choosing of friends. We were not even taught the idea that the friends we make in school will likely play a huge role in our lives. Some of us will end up with them for a long time, more likely in an Aoki and Kimura way in Hajime No Ippo or Dante and Randall in Clerks II. In fact, we might go our separate ways with them and yet still find a bond that will hold us together, like the guys in Grown Ups. I just hope that we will not go through it; but we all have done crazy things with our friends like they did in The Hangover.

These for me are the things that I hoped we taught to me in school when I was a kid, a teenager and a twenty-something. If only I have learned about it sooner, it would really have saved us from a lot of trouble. It will make for a lot of interesting discussions inside the classroom. This is why I will gladly accept these subjects as part of my teaching load if these ever become part of the curriculum. However, there is also a concept called Experiential Learning, wherein we learn from what we go through. After all, learning does not end within the walls of our school and within the time frame of about two decades. As one of my favorite instructors in college said, we are enrolled in this university called life, where experience is the best teacher. Yes, we are better off by discovering these on our own after all.