Thursday, June 25, 2009

You used to be a student, so understand your students

I have said many times that i used to be a high school teacher. During those times, I'm not yet into blogging (it is said that the first known blog was way back 1998. Man, I'm even afraid of using the computer at that time.). It's 2006 when I started blogging.

It is expected that I will post some teaching experiences and some insights on teaching, education, my field of specialization nowadays...just like what I will do right now.

Here it goes:

I don't know about you, but for the short period of time, I experienced teaching in the elementary and high school. Nowadays, I gave college teaching a shot. After all, I got adequate credentials to teach the undergrads. Besides, it is only in teaching college that I can teach on a part time basis.

I can't help but at time laugh inside when I see college students made grammatical errors, being in their junior year. I am surpised at times when they don't follow instructions, despite repeating it once or twice.

Stereotypically, those who are teaching the undergrads will verbally insult them one way or another in situations like these. I admit that I am also tempted to do so. In fact, I even stated one incident to a co-faculty that I almost bumped my head at the wall. It is at the time that I instructed them to submit their assignment on a specific color of paper. Some submitted a white, computerized paper.

Yes, I told that situation to a co-faculty. However, I stopped there. I suddenly remember how stupid I was back in college. I also recalled some stupid mistakes I made. One of them even cost my church membership. One of them cost me the youth leadership post.

Putting that in mind, my disappointment is gone. I just laugh (not in a mean manner) on students' mistakes because most things unexpected can be taken as a punchline instead of a disappointment.

There are undergraduate professors who tend to mock stupidity by sarcasm, either by telling it to them or telling it to another faculty member in a mean fashion. On one angle, I can't blame them. As college students, you're expected to be more mature even if it is only "academic maturity".

Fellow professors, because of these expectations, we tend to imitate how the Westerners treat their college students - quite cold if not cold, especially in graduate school. Attend my class or not, I don't care. I'll just write an "F" if you fail my requirements. This also prevails on THE STATE UNIVERSITY here in the Philippines. Don't get me wrong on those last statements. That approach on college students works on western countries and even on THAT STATE U. All I'm saying is before you do those intellectual bullying, remember that you've been a college student before. I guess that you've done things stupid, EVEN IF YOUR IQ IS MENSAN.

Yes, maybe you're not stupid back in your undergraduate years, most especially in your graduate years. Maybe you're a street smart and genius combined. Have you ever heard of "individual differences"? Did you know that intellectual development is different from one person to another? Have you heard the words "late bloomer"?

Yes, we must not condone stupidity, BUT there are other ways in which stupidity of particular college students be avoided. Remind them. Keep them informed. Not doing so will not only make us unconcerned, but also selfish, intellectual bullies, and proud. I never said you pamper them. All I'm saying is remind them. "Remember I'm human and humans forget" as an Old Hymn goes.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

spirits and skeptics

I watched a cable channel, one of my favorites. It’s National Geographic Channel. It’s informative (however, like most information, it still needs to be verified even if that good channel has a battery of researchers).
They have this episode about demonic possession. No, I don’t want to talk about demonology. After all, it’s one of the most dangerous thing to talk about. It’s about their attacks on people who do exorcism. Yes, skeptics. The NatGeo people interviewed a minister who do exorcism (I’ll withheld the name). As I notice in that episode, they have interviewed 3 skeptics (2 doctors, the remaining is, if I’m not mistaken, is a member of a skeptic society). Obviously, that channel is out there to debunk demon possession. One of those skeptics even said that he doesn’t believe in demons. By saying that, he indirectly said that he doesn’t believe in any spirits. If that is the case, he doesn’t believe in God because God is a Spirit.
That particular episode showed that back in the Dark Ages, there are people who could have been treated for certain mental illnesses, like Tourette’s syndrome. However, because, back then, they thought they were possessed, they were burned or afflicted physical injuries. Those people have even been accused of being a witch because of their mental illness. Thus, back then, wicthes are burned at stake.
They interviewed a minister who is known for casting out demons. Yes, they have seen that man cast out “demons”. However, after the session, HE SOLD TAPES AT A COST OF US$20 OR MORE. Obviously, he made a living out of demon possession.
No, i’m no theologian. Yes, I am a church kid. Yes, I read the Bible almost 17 times from Genesis to Revelation. Yes, I used to be a youth leader in the Old Church. Yes, I used to be a lay preacher. Still, I admit that I’m just your regular church guy (because if I’m not, I don’t have time to blog, like most current youth leaders I know). In fact, with my current state right now, a regular old church fella will say one way or the other, “Don’t listen to him. He’s a former excommunicant.” Thus, I bluntly say that I am no authority on this topic.
However, I can’t help but say things. I admit, it’s a mixture of reaction and response.
First, it’s NatGeo. It’s science and other academic stuff. Most in the scientific community and a handful of people in the academic community are atheists. If you happen to watch that episode, you’ll notice there are around 3 skeptics interviewed, only 1 is a minister. Obviously, they picked a minister who, in my own opinion, are out there to get money in a not-so-right manner. It’s overkill! 3 CERTIFIED experts to 1 minister whom I think is a fraud? It’s like putting a Physics graduates to a regular, school skipping undergraduate.
Second, it’s true. Back then, they don’t know yet tourette’s syndrome, ADHD, ADD, bipolar disorder, etc. Thus, it is possible that there are some people who were tortured, burned, beaten, because they thought these people are possessed. (I thank the doctors for discovering these mental illnesses though). Now, that’s burning the whole house because rats. The first Biblically recorded Person who casts out demons, if I’m not mistaken is none other than Jesus Christ. Apostles Peter, John, and Paul were recorded to cast out demons. Jesus Christ even cast out a legion of demons inside one man’s body (demons are like armies, they have ranks, they are organized). However, there are no Bible verses that said that they hurt them physically to cast the devils out. After all, demons are spirits. You can’t fight physically to a spiritual being. Now, about those people who inflict physical harm to those people who were allegedly possessed, it’s not only their ignorance of medical science, but also their ignorance of one of the many basic truths of the Bible – God and Satan are spirits, and you can’t fight or worship them physically.
Now, about the televised demonstration of exorcism, I’m quite, yes, skeptical on that. One Pastor I know said that he literally saw a demon possessed school girl had a REALLY MASCULINE VOICE and can’t be stopped by 10 men. If my memory is not mistaken, it was said that she floats. The devils are insecure beings, because after all, they know that they will be burned in the Lake of Fire. Thus, if they will seek attention, they will do it big time. Most of the time, these pastors are humble enough not to televise this. About the minister who cast out demons and sells his tapes, well, that’s another story. Soulwinning, discipleship, baptism are supposed to be free of charge. After all, the Bible said that what you got free (the born again experience), share it to others freely (by soulwinning and discipleship). Now, how about those tapes? That minister is accountable to God.
By the way, I also heard a doctor said that because of demonic possession, people tend to believe that it’s not their fault, but it’s solely the demons fault why a person does bad things. Now, if you hear a Christian said that, it’s not entirely true. Man by nature are sinners. Satan and his demons are tempters. Thus, if your nature is to sin, with a demonic motivation, presto, you’ll commit sin. Whose fault is that? Not entirely Satan, but you. After all, he’s called Satan (“accuser”). He’ll tempt the person to commit sin, then at the end, will be accused by Satan himself. It’s wrong to entirely blame Satan and his devils in our mistakes. It’s our fault. After all, we are sinners (only saved by grace if you received Jesus as Lord and Savior).
Oh well, at the end of the day, we’ll all just say that, “well, it’s NatGeo, what will you expect?”
I am not your ideal church guy, but I am still a Baptist, what will you expect?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Hypocrisy: it's real meaning

We often hear these words, especially on church goers. “There are so many hypocrites in the church” blah blah blah. I do admit that I’m quite sick and tired of hearing members lament hypocritical people as the reason for their shortcomings and backslidings. Because of that, I was a little bit motivated to find out the word “hypocrites”, “hypocricy”, or in a Tagalog slang, “plastic”. Still, despite of me being sick and tired of this line often mentioned by inactive church goers, I think this is worth mentioning in this post.

Years ago, I heard a preacher said that hypocrisy was derived from a word similar to “acting”. Just recently, I browsed that it is right: hypocrisy comes from a Greek word “hypokrisis” meaning “play-acting", "acting out", "feigning" or "dissembling". The word “hypocrite” comes form a Greek word “hypokrites” which means “to play a part”. Putting it on layman’s term, being a hypocrite is being “an actor”. Thus, it is quite right when someone’s called an “actor” when he’s crying on national television, but deep within him, he’s just doing it to gain sympathy.
However, hypocrisy is a commonly misused term, especially by church goers. Yes, church goers who became inactive and churchgoer haters. Sometimes, active church goers and even active ministers misuse. Often times, they use this to the active church person they hate (or don’t like if they don’t like the word “hate”).
Now, since “hypocrisy” ORIGINALLY means “acting”, let’s try to see what an actor does. An actor acts a part that is not him in real life. For example, I am an actor who portrayed a gay man. I acted out as a gay man. Once the director said “Cut!” and once we hear the words “Pack up”, I’ll return to my real self. That gay role is not the real me, it is the role I acted. It is only a mask that I need to wear because my proverbial job says so.

The explanations can be lengthy but I’ll answer it anyway. Here it is:
If a churchgoer is STRUGGLING with his vices, while at the same time attending church (he may have ministry in his local church), he is not a hypocrite. Why? There’s a struggle. Yes, his ministry is unacceptable to God if he lives in sin, but that doesn’t make a person hypocrite. After all, he’s struggling to overcome it, and may have been successful to some extent (but failed in some parts).
It’s not hypocrite when you tend not to “practice what you preach”, ESPECIALLY IF YOU TRULY BELIEVE ON WHAT YOU ARE SAYING. After all, all Christians have struggles within that only through God’s help and grace can overcome. A churchgoer is a hypocrite when he attends the church, listens to the sermon as if he agrees, then goes out, not even talking the sermon on the positive light. If we’ll put this strictly, next to the proud, hypocrites are difficult to have salvation experience (This is another story).

How about people who use the “there are many hypocrites in the church” line. These types of people use this line if they don’t want to make friends with church people. They use this line in order to avoid direct involvement in church ministries. Since saying bluntly, “I don’t want active involvement in my own local church” is offensive and will make a bad image out of him, the “many hypocrites in the church” is another one of covering that. Now, who is more hypocrite than the other? The accuser or the people he’s accusing of hypocrisy?

My fellow brethren in Christ, because of leave imposed on me, I am not allowed on major ministries, but those words don’t make me a hypocrite. If you’re a Christian and your goal is to please God, but one point or another disobeyed him, it is not hypocrite as long as you return focus on that goal: to please God.

Please, if you’re inactive in church going, stop saying the word “hypocrite”. Now, if you hate a fellow brother in Christ, please stop using the “hypocrite” word to him just because you hate him. You’re not only misusing it, but you have the sin of hatred, and God is love NOT HATE (except hatred for sin). You’re misusing it anyway. Instead, let’s get things right in our selves. Pastors and preachers will often say these words: get right with God.

We have our own struggle, and that shows we’re not hypocrites.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

My first day as a College Lecturer

Today is my first day as a college lecturer in one of the colleges here in Quezon City.

No, I don't consider myself as a professor. I consider myself a lecturer. I can also be considered as an instructor. Still, there's nothing more classic than being called "teacher".

For the first time, after 5 years, i am teaching again. Yes, last year I was invited to give a 2 hour lecture (and was paid generously) on editorial cartooning and comic strip drawing, BUT this one is as a classroom lecturer.

Teaching has always been my first love. It was taken away from me by events that needs a lot of explanation. Still, the good news is this: I'm back as a teacher even if it's part time.

Other people find it boastful or proud if someone shares things that he knows. Chances are, you'll have the "bida man" tag (the tag I dreaded the most, but I have to accept) I don't know your opinion on this, guys and gals, but it's more proud and boastful NOT to share what knowledge you know. I shake my head when I see people talking about someone's lack of knowledge on their specific topic of interest. You want to tell these people. "Then, why didn't you tell him? STOP IT AND SHUT UP!"

For me, sharing what you know is never boastful or proud, unless you intentionally want to pull them down. If you want to help, it's not being boastful to share things...if you really want to help.

By the way, I just met my first class. I'm teaching Statistics in that class. I hope and I pray that the students will learn something good from me, even if they learn only one.

Monday, June 15, 2009

moving on is also forgiving on

Can you really move on and live a peaceful life by not forgiving or, in some cases, asking forgiveness?
It’s a universal truth that we, human as we are, will surely commit mistakes, one way or another. Because of that universal truth (actually, it’s a Biblical truth: we are sinners. A person can only be a saint if he admits his being a sinner, accepts Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, but that’s a different topic). Acknowledging that truth, we have no choice but to forgive if someone wronged us, and ask forgiveness if we are wrong. It’s hard to forgive a person, especially if what he did to you is heinous. However, one way or another, we commit mistakes. If a relationship went wrong and the couple decided to break off the relationship, more often than not, it is a two-way fault. Most of the times, it is not the fault of only one person. After all, it is called a relationship.
Recently, I heard that someone can move on and live a peaceful and quiet life without forgiving. Yes, there are people who can move on and live quietly without admitting his or her mistakes. After all, there are chances that that person doesn’t know what he or she really did wrong. However, a person who has the capacity to move on and live peacefully WITHOUT forgiveness? It’s quite new. Honestly, I just can’t imagine and reconcile “moving on WITHOUT forgiving on”. No, please don’t get me wrong. For me, moving on and unforgiving spirit are irreconcilable. When you say that you moved on, it means you settled with your past one way or another on your terms (not on other people think). Yes, a person who is moving on will still feel the pain, but the effort and struggle to forgive will surely be there.
You can never move on without forgiving or asking forgiveness. It’s the main essence of moving on: forgiveness. I just can’t imagine the person who said that. First, how can that person move on without forgiving the person? Second, how can that person love when that person is so unforgiving? There is surely an “anomaly in the variables” if the person can do that. Either that person is lying or in the denial process.
Again, you can never move on and live a peaceful life without forgiveness.
I hope that everyone is a good sport in those paragraphs that I mentioned.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Part timer finally!

I attended a faculty orientation yesterday. Yes, you read it right: FACULTY ORIENTATION. I am now a part time faculty member of one of the colleges somewhere in Quezon City. It is an answered prayer for me because not only I can only teach on a part time basis, but the school is in Quezon City area. The pay is decent for a part time lecturer of that college.

By the looks of it, the schedule is awesome, if you desire to take up graduate studies after work; there are no classes beyond 5:30pm. Isn’t it cool? By the looks of it, they’re liberal enough to their professors when it comes to graduate studies.

Contrary to popular belief in the public school where I last taught, I never resigned because “I looked for a greener pasture”. Yes, I said that as an excuse. It is not MAINLY because my former department coordinator put things personal (and I’m not even fighting back, because I respect her). There are two main reasons: 1) I can’t continue my graduate study if I continue teaching in that school. People from that school may deny it one way or the other, but during my first three months in that school, I was denied POINT BLANK by a veteran teacher (now retired). Well, maybe there are policies behind that (3 years or so, but hey, one teacher was denied study permit and she’s more than 3 years when she asked for that) or the narrow-mindedly mentioned “if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen” statement. Oh, by the way, while I am doing my survey in that school, I unintentionally overheard a teacher asking her immediate head that she’s continue her graduate study. Her immediate head denied her POINT BLANK. 2) Now, this is weightiest reason among the two: my ex-girlfriend pushed me to resign in teaching, and join the family business. Her reasons are valid and practical enough: I’ll not earn much in teaching and we need money for our wedding (during those times). Plus, I’m tied up in a schedule (unlike in our family business). Because of those reasons, I resigned. Yes, it’s stupid. After all, I supposed to have a mind of my own (in a human sense of a word), but there she was, released the stupidity out of me (you know the story if you follow my blogs [with no threat by the way]) (Note: if you know her, there’s a chance she’ll deny that she’s also responsible for my resignation. She will say that she allows me to decide. It is partially correct, BUT with discomforts). I resigned. Yes, I’m earning bigger, but I thought my life will be a bit easier. It’s not. Those who know me and REALLY KNOW the entire story can attest to that. I just stated those two reasons.

Well, that’s part of my past. Now, I’m into part time teaching. My Mom is supportive of my idea. Besides, it’s only twice a week. It will be my first time to teach College. That’s why I still don’t know what to expect, despite being oriented. I’m excited to teach this coming June 17 (my first day in teaching college).

I hope and I pray that I’ll not be at odds with my colleagues and higher ups (except if my faith is hit or insulted).

Honestly, I still can’t imagine being called “professor”.