Saturday, August 23, 2008

My body's telling me something...

I think I've been working too hard lately. My body sent me a hard-to-ignore message when it forcibly shut down last Thursday night, and I woke up Friday morning with a high temperature, a killer headache, and feeling weak as a newborn puppy.

Spent the whole of Friday resting in bed and drowning myself in medication, and I was able to go work yesterday, so, hurray! Except that I now have to spend the long weekend catching up on work. I finished checking test papers yesterday, and today I spent the whole morning inputting the grades for three of my major classes (English 3, English II and English III), and methinks I look like I've got sore eyes. The last time I worked with Excel was waaaay back in high school, so it was an uphill battle for me to type in all the scores of my students. Music 1,2,3 to go.

My M.A. life is in shambles. Haha! Don't tell my profs, but I honestly don't have the time to study for class, and it's a miracle that I got a good grade in our Stat midterms when I squeezed in my cramming time in between meals and checking papers.

I have 10 papers to write, and the deadline is Sept.20.

Papers writen? Zero.

Oh noes.

Concerned friends of mine have been telling me to take it easy, to make time for "rest." And I think... they're right.

Hay. Here's hoping that the 2nd semester of A.Y. '08-'09 will be easier. I desperately want to have time to exercise, I think the reason why my body's prone to illness lately is because I haven't worked out since May.

"Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy," said my favorite cinema lawyer in Legally Blonde. Which might also explain why I've been feeling melancholy as well.

Drat. I really need to get some exercise. Now na.

Okay, shallow and petty ranting done. :)

If you have 20 minutes to spare, I strongly urge you to watch this video of conductor Benjamin Zander on TED.COM. I think watching it is one of the reasons why I was able to recover so quickly from the flu :)

"I have a definition of success. For me it's not about wealth or fame or power. It's all about how many shining eyes I've got around me."

Sunday, August 17, 2008

July Book Session & Friends

Long overdue pics!

(If I Only Had A Guitar!!) : REPOST

please help my students (repost) Aug 17, '08 7:09 AM
for everyone

I have reached the point of desperation. I am humbly appealing to any kind soul out there to please hear me out.

I am currently teaching a guitar class at the U.P College of music as part of my thesis. My students are members of the Gawad Kalinga Project Laura in Commonwealth, an underprivileged community. I have 11 students in one class, their ages range from 6 to 57 years old. Quite the challenge I know, but the bigger challenge is, not a single one of them owns a guitar.


We hold our classes 2 hours a day, once a week. The first part would be for music theory, the second part would be it’s application on the instrument, which we do by taking turns and passing around my guitar. We’ve been doing this for 7 weeks now since we started last July 3.


We already sent out a letter last June 19, 2008 to our sponsor which  took weeks before they actually responded They mentioned they will “release funds” and they will send us 8 guitars, (tsss.. 11 nga yung studyante ko eh, grr..) but they didn’t  give us an exact date. “maghintay lang daw kame”, my adviser said.


So that’s what we’ve been doing, waiting. The first few weeks, I thought it would be okay to do without the guitar first because I’d be introducing the elements of music. But now that we’ve reached our 7th week, and still no sign of the guitars, I’m having mixed emotions of frustration, anger, fear and a whole lot of stresss!  Their scheduled performance is on Sept.30, 2008 and we haven’t practiced a single thing.


My students are good students. They are very receptive to the musical concepts I’ve been teaching them. But shempre lahat naman ng klase ng learning hindi complete unless you are able to apply it.


Last Thursday I felt as if someone ran a knife across my chest. when one of my students said she’s been practicing the strumming and chord positions at home. I asked if she knows someone with a guitar, and she said “nag-drawing lang po kame sa papel mam.” (argh! I felt so bad) But I had to be optimistic for them so I said, “That’s good! Natutuwa ako at nakakahanap kayo ng iba’t-ibang paraan para matuto, hayaan niyo dadating na yung gitara niyo, antay lang tayo.” I say that every meeting, and I don’t think I can keep showing up empty-handed.


So this is where I am humbly asking your help. I need to borrow 8 nylon-stringed guitars from anyone willing to help. Anyone with a big heart and ready to receive lots of good karma from the universe. Out of the 11 students 3 of them are already covered so I only need 8 more. Please, Its for a very good cause. Don’t worry, I assure you, they are good people and they will take care of your guitars. I would make sure that each one of your guitars will be returned to you unharmed by Sept. 30, or even earlier, as soon as my students get their guitars from our sponsor.

The main objective of my thesis is to help their community by uplifting their sel-esteem and instill confidence in them through music and performance. Because learning and performing music provides opportunities for students to let down their inhibitions and be able to express themselves freely.


By helping them realize their musical potential and perform together as a group, they would develop a sense of unity, foster cooperative spirit and strengthen their relationship as a community.


With your help, they could very much achieve this  and so much more. Please.


For those willing to lend a helping guitar, pls contact me at: 09179322542

Thank you  so much!

-Thea Tolentino

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Disadvantages to an "Elite Education"

"The difference between having a college degree and not having one is far greater than where you go to college. But where you go can determine, to a large extent, who you become. Some of us become jerks. And others spend our lives trying to figure out what it meant to have been there — and how to get over it."

Read the whole article here.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Happy-go-lucky students should come to UP during the UPCAT

I have so many students who are far too happy-go-lucky, it's as if they don't care about their studies and just go through the motions of being in school.

(In case you're wondering, I'm talking about both my high school and college students... as for my grade school alagas, I've no problem with them, they're such bright little things... they come up to me and ask, "Teacher, how many items is the quarterly test?" and when I say "100" they go "Yay!" Haha. I love them.)

Being irresponsible with one's studies is forgivable, but only up to a certain age (2nd year high school is the latest). I just can't understand the reasons behind some of my students' actions.

For example: not attending a once-a-week-lecture, and not even bothering to text me to explain his/her absence, even after being told to do so.

Another example: Not studying one's pieces, even after being repeatedly told to do so. It would be o.k. if the student were a sight reader, or had perfect pitch. But add zero musicality and a poor ear to the mix, and you're left with the teacher wondering how on earth this student passed the Music Theory/ Audition test.

I suppose students such as these need to be reminded of how privileged they are, to be studying in UP.

I wish they could have been with me when I proctored the UPCAT last weekend.

Students and parents were lining up outside their exam venues as early as 2 a.m. (especially those from the provinces). I witnessed so many dramatic partings, so many touching scenes... a mother frantically looking for a street vendor who sold bottled water so her child would not suffer from thirst during the exam... a father giving his daughter a last-minute hug and a kiss on the forehead for good luck ... a UP-hopeful who was obviously suffering from bronchitis (if not pneumonia) but determinedly went to fight through the test ... very manang-looking young girls who went through the Reading and Language Comprehension parts at an agonizingly slow pace but breezed through the Science and Math parts at breakneck speeds ...

Granted, I also had students from the opposite specturm... a Korean national who came from an exclusive international school and told me she couldn't understand TAGalog (accent on the first syllable, mind you!) so is it OK if she left some questions blank? ... Six Ateneans in one room who had to be put in spaced apart seats, who proclaimed loudly afterwards how easy the UPCAT was... a Southern belle who wore skimpy shorts on a very cold day and took the test in a very cold airconditioned room, and asked to go to the CR every test, and who threw a silent tantrum when she wasn't given immediate permission to leave the room...

But the whole experience made me feel all the more grateful for the chance I've been given.

To think that of the 160 students who were under my UPCAT partner and I, only 1 or 2 will make it and become a UP isko... it's a sobering thought.

I wish these happy-go-lucky students of mine could have seen what I saw. Maybe then, they'll change their ways, and appreciate the golden opportunity they're presently taking for granted.

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