三十歳

Great people or at least those who pretend to be often say that success is measured by how happy one has lived his life regardless of his accomplishments. I doubt that. Lions roam the Safari with contentment but I haven’t heard of a successful nor a happy one–kindly introduce me if you have met the greatest lion in the world (cue: Circle of Life).

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I, however, have heard of the greatest showman, the greatest purveyor of arts, the greatest philosopher… What I am trying to point out is if true success meant happiness and contentment in life without having to work hard, I wouldn’t be any different from the homeless person living outside of my village.

I have accomplished a great number of things in my thirty years of stay on this planet. Publishing my own book, winning a couple of awards, speaking in front of a huge crowd were some of them. Why stop there?

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Being ambitious is not as bad they say.

Ambition 
 Is like the sea wave, which the more you drink 
 The more you thirst—yea—drink too much, as men 
 Have done on rafts of wreck—it drives you mad.  - Alfred Tennyson

They say life begins at forty. That’s a big fat lie. Life begins when you live it. 30 years ago I started living mine.

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The silver-lining: the Gods of VIBAL’s CPD Program

For many, the Continuing Professional Development Act of 2016 was not a good news. Let’s be honest: who has the time to go to seminars amidst the noble yet chaotic responsibilities of teaching? It, being a law, however makes it a requirement; violation of such is considered against the law. A notable person once said that for development, struggles and effort are essential. Though it may seem a struggle waking up early particularly on a Saturday or attending a seminar on a holiday amidst a horrible weather (a shout out to those who attended the CPD program at Amazing Grace School despite the typhoon), the benefits of the program definitely outweigh the disadvantages.

Take for example, the Philippines’ national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal. Didn’t he stop going to school for a time because he already knew what his teachers were trying to teach him? If he lived in this generation, he wouldn’t even trade the comforts of his own house with great internet connection for a six-hour class at school with a teacher droning on and on. For all we know, there are a number of Rizal-like creatures in our classroom and we may fail to address their needs. Educators who have to sit in a seminar with a speaker rambling the same nonsense could probably understand the frustration of their students so why in the world do they want their learners to suffer the same way?

How then can we look at CPD Program without cursing the awesome and professional people behind this idea?

  • For Development – Nobody can say no to that. Disappointing is a strong word but it is perfect to describe a teacher who does not seek development. The program is time consuming, I am not going to lie. Teachers have to spend about 4-5 hours handling classes, 2 hours for other school stuff and goodness knows how much time they devote in preparing lesson plans and checking tests.
  • Requirement – This doesn’t sound like an advantage at all but what do teachers usually say when they give a ton of homework to their students? It’s for your own good! And believe me, it is. Am I the only person who was embittered when old teachers were the only ones sent to other places for seminars? The fact that it is a requirement means teachers can be aggressive in getting more units, learning more and getting farther in their respective careers.
  • Inspiring speakers – So far, I have met speakers who have superb ideas on education. Working with trainings and programs enables me to rub elbows with keynote speakers who exude wisdom, credibility and confidence in their respective fields.

I have witnessed the awesome Mr. Roderick Aguirre in action- a man perfect in every way—this he often reminds me as I am inclined to have dementia.

I have been encouraged many times by Miss Icay, Ma. Carmela Boncodin and Miss Glendora Tiu – both amazing women don’t want to be addressed superficially by doctors.

 

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I have been inspired by Mr. Michael Angelo Malicsi with his passion not only for education but also for the corporate industry.

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You probably know the short story Visitation of the Gods and I am not exaggerating when I tell you that working with these people is like seeing the gods in action as they perform their miracles in schools they visit. I do believe that there are other amazing speakers out there who are as committed as the ones I have written about but I can only attest to the information I have collected myself through observation.

There are moments when as an educator, one cannot employ to the best of his abilities the techniques he has learned at school but he can get a fresher take, a better example after joining training programs. Motivated teachers do their jobs with renewed passion and vigor and their students benefit from it. Watching the aforementioned speakers as they share professional experience, innovative strategies, and strong perspective is truly empowering and enlightening.

I am fortunate that though not working in school anymore, I still feel like a part of the academe, hoping to influence education in general as my position permits me.

 

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How did 2017 go for me?

I am not here to bore you to death with how it went –you’ve got enough on your plate without me ruining your digestion anyway. Let me just break it down to three categories:
a) Reading Updates
b) Writing Updates
c) Personal Goals

So without further ado, here’ s the list:

Reading Updates
I managed to read 150  books in 2017.

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Don’t let the number fool you though. More than half of the number are volumes and volumes of Manga- Japanese comic books. Before you say I cheated, and admittedly I know it looks cheating to anybody, Goodreads counts it just like that. Besides, finishing one entire series of manga is a difficult feat in itself.

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Writing Updates

Articles and more Articles. I poured my heart, soul, and time into these babies and seeing them published gives me great joy. Who would have thought that a childish dream of seeing one’s name in Google with great merit was actually achievable?

Bloggingwise, I think I did better last year and my somehow I’m pretty much consistent with my content. The unplanned series was Monthly Articles where I kept a list of the notable articles I had read in a month and a short review. This was introduced in March of 2017 and I didn’t miss posting a list until December! I intend to keep at it not because it gets readership but also I sincerely learn tons from the articles that I read.

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My manuscript, on the other hand, is there somewhere. I can’t spill the deets yet as there isn’t anything substantial to spill.

Personal Goals

My only personal goal for this year was to chill. After going through a successful operation in 2016, I promised that I would detach myself from things that were irrelevant to me as a person and as a writer. I managed to focus more on things that actually mattered like saving money and keeping my body healthy. Connecting to my family members and establishing a closer relationship with them became my strength.

2017 was a great year for me and it opened a lot of doors. 2018 is the time for me to go through each one of them and grow. Yes, I suck at endings. Happy New Year.

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Hunger for Continuous Learning

A reflection on David Robson’s article “A five-step guide to not being stupid

By Jahzeel Dionne V. Ybasco

I came across an article in BBC.com entitled “How not to be stupid.” I find it very interesting as it has given five techniques people can use to motivate themselves to keep on learning.

It is indeed very difficult to go against the tide of our educational system. What appears to be the focus of our education is being able to pass examinations that put people into their respective categories. The result is often achieved as students pass their examinations. However, they seem to be half-baked and unprepared to face the real world. Many employees in different industries admit that they barely use what they remember in school in their respective fields. It appears as though a four-year diploma is only a spring board to earn a job yet the period of time spent in studying is not enough to equip one with real-world knowledge. Although this fact is discouraging and may render teachers and students alike hopeless, I look at it as a challenge.

I took up my Masters without being a graduate of Master’s Degree in mind. I felt that I was powerful enough to choose my own degree not depending on my parents’ money. It is refreshing to see learning from a different perspective, something that will not be measured by grades or points in school but by professional and personal development. There is satisfaction in learning what I love not because I want to have a job but because I want to learn.

This is the same satisfaction I have in learning Japanese. In high school, I only wanted to learn it because of animations and their rocking soundtracks that I wanted to understand better. Although I still use the same excuse in studying the said language, I am filled with exhilaration when I create sentences, read expressions and understand puns in Japanese.

When I receive comments regarding how I love studying, I feel extremely proud of myself. As an educator, I can only give what I have and unfortunately, due to some concerns, I cannot ensure a 100% transfer of learning to my students. There is a big reason why I keep on learning: no matter what the percentage of learning I can transfer, it will be significant. I have a hunger for leaving an imprint in this world and I want people I connect with to remember how I think, even if they can’t remember how I treat them.

Behind all these reasons, the underlying motivation why I do what I do is I don’t want to find myself stupid. I don’t want to find myself in a space where I can’t understand a single thing just because I have not used my time to read more books or develop my language skills. I cannot afford to  be proud of or complacent with what I know when I believe my time in this Earth is not enough to  learn everything.

Steve Jobs once said, “Stay hungry, stay foolish.” Although, I am no Steve Jobs nor will I reach the pedestal he got for himself, I am proud to say I am still hungry and foolish.

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You can read David Robson’s excellent article here:

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20150422-how-not-to-be-stupid

Re: New Format and Policies

Dear Beloved Readers, Writers, Students, Teachers,

Happy New Year! Let us all welcome 2015 with a bang: with our arms wide open for learning, with eyes intent on reading and scrutinizing works of literature, with ears willing to listen if they haven’t been rendered deaf by firecrackers.

I would like to share with you the happy news: The Viter-Ybasco University has turned a year old! This institution unofficially started in November of 2013 as a revolt to power-hungry school administrators. It started with the idea of being the voice of empowered students and teachers who believed –and still believe– that education cannot be confined in the four corners of the classroom. So far, we were able to post reviews of books and movies, even rants and praises for institutions, educators, and students in 2014. We were productive.

We will not stop there.

2015 holds a lot of promises for us. As our institution matures, and hopefully the President does too, we will expand our topics and analysis of literature. We will add an “Articles” tag where the President will react upon articles written and posted in various educational websites. We will also post recommendations and clarifications of words, grammatical structures in “Languages” (not exclusively for English-users)  where readers and followers can submit interesting words and idiomatic expressions for posting.

Our existing tag “Student of the Week” will be paired with “Teacher of the Week.” Readers once again are encouraged to submit a piece about their favorite teachers and students.

We should like to begin this year with accomplishments in the previous year. As an example, here are the accomplishments of the dear President, yours truly, in 2014:

  1. Got a new worthwhile job
  2. Went to Palawan with the Wasak Gang.
  3. Went to Sagada with GMA peeps
  4. Conducted a seminar in Pampanga sponsored by Vibal Publishing, Inc.
  5. Started working in the office
  6. Bought new phones for myself and my mom
  7. Had more friends
  8. Read thirty books including A Song of Ice and Fire
  9. Wrote my own novel TBC – To Be Continued
  10. Hosted a graduation ceremony
  11. Hosted Hitutor’s Christmas Party
  12. Updated The Viter-Ybasco University blog

Our readers may list their accomplishments in the comment section, provide their names and their occupation (instructor or student) and we will honor you a post here in our institution as the first “Student/Teacher of the Week.”
The first term for our second year in the e-world has officially started. Let us all be productive.

Yours most respectfully,

President JDV Ybasco

STUDENT OF THE WEEK: AMBER

One of my students who are preparing for their Job Interviews asked me how I answered this question:

Why did you decide to be a teacher?

I answered in different ways:

-> I want to motivate children to study and speak in English just like my favorite teacher when I was in high school.

-> Because my father wanted me to be a teacher.

But I only have one answer that best explains why:

 I am good at it.

And I don’t need a classroom evaluation for that.amber

Thanks My Dear Amber for reminding me I’m doing something right. I will certainly miss you.

On Books, Reading, and Selfie

(dedicated to educators, future educators, book lovers, and those who pretend to be)

One’s love for books may be as shallow as loving the notion of being thought of as scholastic. She may post pictures of herself in a bookstore, holding a book, or putting several books on her desk but they remain untouched for a long time. She may even put a book or two in her bag for the pretense of reading it or them but only spares a glance for a few minutes. The book or books lay forgotten and unread.

The President thinks there is nothing wrong with this. It is only absurd particularly if the said individual taking a selfie is an educator.

In this digital age, one can access pieces of information almost anywhere in the internet. The President is tempted to surmise that most probably this has contributed to the diminishing reading rate of students. The young ones are used to reading 160 characters–note: characters only– , the President worries that the future generation will completely lose their love for reading novels and by novels the President means thick ones, soft bound or hardbound, real ones or even ebooks.

Reading has its purposes particularly for an educator. It separates her, pages, books, a library ahead of students. It helps her become a medium of the multitude pieces of information. It transports her to places and worlds she has never been to. It helps her prepare for her classes. And through her and her love for reading, students under her wing will develop their love for reading as well.

The current trend on the other hand is using reading, and the fame that goes with it, as a status symbol. Again, there is nothing wrong with this. Only, it is superficial. Had it been a reality, the effect would not have been so bad. Not hypocritical. There is nothing more frustrating seeing a teacher who tells the world “I love reading” but has not finished any novel nor an autobiography for the past three months. There is nothing more infuriating than an English teacher recommending the same novel to students of different levels for the past three years. There is nothing more shameful than realizing students have already surpassed the number of books the educator has read only to use the I am so busy excuse.

Again, there is nothing wrong with taking a photo with a book. However, no matter how many books an Educator has at the background, may it be one or a library, nothing will change unless she opens the book and starts reading.

Note from the President:

I wrote this because I sincerely want to express my frustration over a number of Language Educators who cannot even motivate their students to read. I would like to express how much I am challenged by a number of my students who have read more books than I have. Shouldn’t all Language Educators take the challenge head on? After all, we have professed we have known more, learned more, experienced more than our students. Why shouldn’t we read more? The book is on your table and it is worth more than just becoming your profile picture. Read.

Acknowledgment:

I would like to express my deepest gratitude to my student, Mike who has started his journey in reading English novels. Thanks for giving me an assurance that I am doing my best as an educator and through this blog I can encourage students like you to read more.

To Syme, who is my soulmate in the literary world, thank you so much for empowering our future educators in their endeavors. You show that reading encompasses departments and majorships.

To my best friend Maria Cecilia, thanks for feeding my love for reading for reminding me that laziness has never been an excuse for reading.

To my sun and stars, Russell, thanks for continuously inspiring me to be better and for challenging me to read The Song of Ice and Fire.

To the Ybasco Family who has fostered the love for reading in me.