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.

Wisdom

You (faculty) don’t need someone intelligent because all of you are intelligent and qualified. What you need is a leader.” – Mr Marlon Manlangit

This remark speaks for the man. Kudos, Sir Marlon. This, and Mr Floresta’s evaluation of my class made my yesterday.
😍