Monday, March 15, 2010

wait to wither or wither in waiting?

love is a journey and i consider myself traversing through this emotional adventure. it starts from a certain loading station and goes straight to its destination. however, unless it is a non-stop trip, we wouldn't experience stops in between stations. but love is not like that. from one point to another, we experience different feelings of either comfort or discomfort, of uneasines, convenience or inconvenience along the way. we may be with people whom we don't like, other people tend to irritate us or would keep our blood to the boiling point or sometimes we even encounter those who are cold as ice or deader than zombies. we would want to evade and skip that trip or would prefer to go to the next level but whoa, we won't be able to step to the next phase unless we have passed through these atrocities and learned a great deal of lesson from this experience.

this journey sometimes keep us off balance, and off our chairs. sometimes this would numb our senses because of the length of time spent in the waiting but take note that no matter how we feel and what we have gone through, we will always arrive at the desired destination so long as we always keep on the right track. and, if we don't, the waiting would be all futile and then we go back to the same adventure of searching and looking for the right love.

we are all in the same trip, but arriving at our destination depends on how we deal with the situations we encounter along the journey. remember, there may be rocky roads, steep cliffs that may entice us to swerve to the safest and easiest road, or plains that may bore us away and take love for granted. there may also be ups and downs and challenging or super exasperating experience that take our breaths away, but we must be mindful that love is not at all just like's all in a package...all the good and the bad things are wrapped in there. thus, we need to take care of it because it is so fragile. we might break it.

the waiting may take a long time but as soon as we get there, so long as we took care of it the right way, we will always see that love is still love regardless of time, space and situations. but the question is should we wait to wither or wither in waiting for the right love?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Gazing at Dead Stars

I have read and reread "Dead Stars", a short story written by Paz Marquez Benitez but still so skeptical about the story. Was it Esperanza's fault why Alfredo should be confused with his feelings towards her despite the span of years that they had been together? We will observe that at the onset of the story, Alfredo was searching for that same excitement he felt years ago when he started courting Esperanza as well as the first few years of their togetherness. Alfredo was looking for that spark, of that friction and the chemistry that he used to feel when he was with her but to his surprise, he realized that he was already bored of being with Esperanza. Can we blame the girl if the man loses his interest on her? What should a woman do then to prevent that? But can she always prevent that if this happens considering that circumstances and time are not within our control? I am not speaking for Esperanza, nor for myself. I am speaking for every woman out there who have become victims of false hope.

Here comes Julia Salas, a very promising young girl who was witty, outspoken and carefree in life. She didn't care about what other people had to say about her. She was not bound to anything. She was highly-spirited and full of vibrance who captivated the attention of Alfredo. Obviously, Julia never had the intention to lure Alfredo nor did she insinuate any emotional attachment between her and ALfredo. She was just an all-out girl who believes on the genuineness of friendship and emotions. She may have fallen for Alfredo but she never tried to seduce him. Alfredo, on the one hand, was in a way already showing his interest towards her but she shrugged off the idea because she knew where she stands. She knew that there was Esperanza. But what was between her and Alfredo that kept her waiting for 8 years for Alfredo to come to her life again? Did Alfredo give her false hope?

Alfredo, the man every woman could dream of, handsome, manly, intelligent, and responsible. Was he selfish? I am made to believe that he was! It was as if he wanted both women to be part of his life and not lose any one of them. Despite having gotten married to Esperanza, he was still aspiring for Julia Salas. It was evident in the lines mentioning that Alfredo seemed to be distant and beyond Esperanza's reach no matter how close they were in bed. Physically, he was with Esperanza but his mind was absent. It flew to where Julia Salas was. In other words, ALfredo couldn't let go of Julia Salas. Whatever relationship they had was like an unrequited love...and more than that, it was unexpressed, unrevealed and concealed. Can we really blame Alfredo for the complexity of his feelings for the two special women in his life when he actually made a choice, the choice of marrying her fiancee and rejecting the supposed newly-found love interest?

I love this story as it always gives me so many insights every time i read it and the more learning I get from this when I discuss this with my Literature class. I guess my students love the story as much as I do. in fact, when i gave them their final project, one student asked me if she could just work on this story because she had gleaned quite an insight from it. i didn't concede though but i should have let them do it for expression.

I posed 2 questions for my students to answer based from the story as taken from Alfredo's lines:

1. What is love indeed? is love a mere fabrication of perfervid imagination, an exaggeration of the common place, a glorification of insipid monotonies? is love a combination of circumstances, or sheer native capacity of soul? Is love a decision or a destiny?

2. And have you ever come to a point in your life where you have to choose between what you want to do and what you have to do?

My students answered these questions as if they were very sure of their answers but if you give a second thought and contemplate on these issues on complexities of love and decision-making, we are really confronted with difficulty in choosing what to do...

As usual we winded up the story with the many lessons in life, personal and vicarious experiences. We came to a wonderful finale. Some sympathize with Esperanza, others with Julia and some with Alfredo himself and each has his own reason why.

well,there may be so many of us, whose gardens have withered and yet like Esperanza, have never lost hope…she kept clinging on to the vines of faithfulness and love…although alfredo was beyond her reach, her hopes and undying love watered the withering gardens until such realization overtook his senses…some of us may also be like Julia, hoping for a bright star to dawn on her until forever is gone, until the sky grows dark and stars shine no more, until there are no more reasons to hope, hoping that love still would find every reason to give the wilting heart the courage and strength to go on hoping..

whatever one is gazing at; whatever dilemma he is confronted with, he should always learn to value the real meaning of love…although, as they say, love remains to be an eternal puzzle yet we know within us, that the answer to that mystery is just within us…love…, years ago and until this very moment, i thought about it and i know for sure that i am gazing at dead stars…

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Blogging: A New Classroom Teaching Strategy

The school is said to be the child’s second home and in that sense, classroom activities are expected to be within the students’ realm of experience. They have to feel comfortable and at home while in the class. But how could that be possible? The thrust of teachers is to make learning an enjoyable one. Every day, teacher seeks to come up with effective classroom strategy so as to foster the interaction in the class between the teacher and students. Teachers have gone out beyond their resources and try to find new ways to enhance the teaching – learning process in the class. Thus, with the advent of ICT and technology itself, one strategy that has become very known for classroom interaction is blogging.

What is Blogging? This sounds a new-fangled craze among traditional teachers in the teaching arena. For the new generation teachers however, blogging is not a new thing. When internet became very popular, blogging has also become one of the users’ forms of communicating and airing out their sides, ideas and opinions. There have been many descriptions for what blogging is and means. In its simplest form a weblog or blog is a web site where its content is authored by an individual or group of individuals. Commonly, a blog is a website where an individual writes about his topics of interest. So in its very fundamental form, blogging is a legroom where people can easily create topics on the web. Users need not know HTML code or any other code to post content on a blog. Blogging software is based on a server, but once it is set up people can create an account and then add their own content. One way to think of a blog is a two way street between the content creator, and their audience.

With Blogging, as with other technologies, the questions posed by those who found blogging a hard task and additional burden for teachers seem to be: “Why should we be doing this?” or “What makes blogging an effective way to teach students today?”
There are quite a few reasons why we may want to engage our students in using a blog or similar tools. Some teachers are using blogs to build learning communities, improve interest in their content areas and enhance learning.
The very nature of blogging lends itself to students becoming engaged in reading and writing. Blogging is not simply an online diary; it can be structured around activities that lend itself to using a blog. Personally, I have been using “blogging” in my Reading, Speech, Language and Literature classes for about two years now and I find it fascinating both for me and my students. I post readings or literary pieces, if not links, where questions are also provided. All they have to do is post their comments or answers then search for links that would justify, help and support their answers.

Browsing and surfing the net as the “in” thing in this generation plus the accessibility of Wi-Fi almost everywhere make school tasks, activities and assignments easier as these classroom stuffs can actually be done and catered online. Teachers nowadays have a better option of making their students write their assignments. These can also be done in other subjects like Science, Math, Filipino and other subjects as well. So basically, these situations allow students to begin connecting what they are doing in separate classrooms, thus allowing them to begin to see the interconnections between different disciplines.
Blogging can also be used for a reflecting purpose. Since blogs can be organized by date and subject students can see how their ways of thinking have changed over time. Looking out on the web we will see some people that use their blog strictly for this purpose. Sure some of them may be computer geeks, but our students are now becoming more and more comfortable with computers, so the sense of blogging being geeky may only be for the older crowd.

Student portfolios have been around for a long time. In fact, most teachers nowadays, if not all, require students to submit a portfolio that is, a collection of their work while in the class which is of course to their own advantage. By doing so, students are trained to make their own personalized portfolios where they would put all their accomplishments, achievements, experiences and learning process. This undertaking is very useful for their future. However, again, with the advent of technology companies no longer simply want a paper copy of a portfolio that they can look at during one’s interview. In today's world, employers want to have a website of an applicant’s work. So with blogging, this gives students an advantage of being able to show their work and progress as students, as well as giving them the ability to create a site of their own in the future is an indispensable skill. As a teacher imagine being able to see what a student, that is now sitting in your classroom on the first day of school, has done in prior classes. This could have a real impact on what it is we are truly teaching students.

Accordingly, blogs which people create for communication and journaling can be used effectively as a teaching tool to reach and react with a target audience. They are changing teaching and allowing different learning practices. Here are pointers taken from a blog site which suggests 5 ways a blog can be used as an effective teaching tool in everyday classes.

The first advantage of teaching using blog is that its location and timing of learning itself. When using a blog to post links to resources, assignments and communications to students, students will not be tied to location or a time schedule for learning. This advantage allows students who are busy with work, sports and other commitments to read and understand content that they respond to outside of the physical classroom. This is a new way of thinking for teachers who are used to time and course restraints. The learner becomes much more independent. Teachers are also not dependent on technology that might malfunction during a set time period. If a computer or audio system is down, learning or posting can be done at a different time.

Another advantage of blogging is that learners become content suppliers or input providers. Learners become participants in deciding the content. Teachers are used to being the suppliers of content. By using a blog, students can direct what they want to learn. If peers are blogging with each other and experts, they may find links or information that they are interested in learning about, that goes beyond what the curriculum defines as the requirements. Learning will be more demand-oriented.

Instead of the teacher being the only presenter of content, the teacher can use experts or people who are closer to a situation to deliver content. Since there are millions of blogs for gaining information, there can be many views provided. There may be a new or personal perspective that you can't gain from history books. Students might want to know how people feel presently about the past wars.

Thirdly, blogging increases learning motivation. Blogging allows for students to be more motivated learners. On the pyramid of effective teaching styles, lecturing or talking is the least effective method of student learning. People learn by engaging in a topic, reviewing a topic, or teaching about a topic. If teachers want to show a video, demonstrate a hands-on experiment or show a virtual field trip, they can do this on a blog that a student can view at their own time. Students can teach others. A student will have a chance to reflect on the presentation before they respond. The reflection time may produce a more complete understanding of content.

Next, blogging increases communication competencies. Students will learn to communicate clearly because of the medium for posting responses. By practicing phrasing questions and comments clearly, the students will develop effective styles of communication. Students will need to post questions such as "what keywords would I use to search about..." rather than "what does that mean?" Journal writing is one form of writing. Expressing yourself without face to face contact means you must have good grammar and punctuation to make your message clear. Students will get practice using skills they'll use regularly in our world of text communication.

Teachers who want to teach effective communication and achieve clarity can direct students to resources. They could provide links to sites such as how to write bibliographies, and sites with clear definitions or effective podcasts. Teachers will have to demonstrate effective communication themselves to be role models. Clarifying what is required, posing clear questions, and responding quickly will be necessary for teachers and students.

And fifth, blogging promotes collaborative learning. Collaboration will become more common. Teachers will rely on others to present accurate content and links. Experts such as professional artists, writers, scientists, journalists will have different perspectives on a topic and could provide a more complete lesson than the teacher alone. Peers will rely on each other for advice and information. "Where did you get that?" or "send me that link" would be common messages posted.

Teachers will be able to collaborate with other teachers in education who can provide current, better or more unique materials for teaching and learning. They can add lists of blogs that they are following to their blog. Collaborative content is exemplified in sites like Wikipedia where definitions are provided by many and updated as more information is obtained. Students will see that insights and information change over time and does not remain static.
This and other teaching strategies would foster dynamic interaction between teacher and students, as well as live up to the expectations of the new trend of teaching in the 21st century classroom, a more learner-centered, interactive and dynamic teaching – learning process.
So, let’s blog!


Tuesday, March 2, 2010


nicole was madly and deeply in loved with chad and chad said he was too with nicole. nicole was expressive and ouitspoken of her emotions for chad unfortunately, chad was sort of reserved and was showing disinterest in the relationship but he was assuring nicole that he does love her. no matter how much nicole tried to absorb in her mind and heart that her man does really love her, she could not feel it inside. nicole kept trying to preserve and hold on to the relationship because she values the time with him, the feelings for him and the relationship with him however, whatever she was feeling inside was not compensated. nicole was born to be a fighter. she told herself that she's going to hold on no matter what happens. until one day, out of the blue, she realized that the relationship was already dying and she feared that it will die a natural death. the gap between them has grown wider and deeper and nicole couldn't help but break down. nicole really loves him and she knew she would still fight for him but she felt that there was no point of battling for him. she felt all alone and no assurance was ever laid for her.

if you were nicole, what will you do? if you were chad, will you remain passive and unmindful of nicole's dilemma? if you were nicole or chad, will you keep the relationship? will you hold on for each other?