Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Adjusted UPD schedule: End of classes Oct. 13 TUE. Finals (graduating) Oct. 15-19 (others) Oct. 15-22. For UPD Voice majors/minors/concentration: Special exams for voice recitalists will be on Oct. 12 instead of Oct. 5. Regular voice exams will be on Oct. 15, 16, and 19.

UP Sagip Isko / CMu SC

(from http://updusc.multiply.com/journal )


1.    We are accepting the following donations. You may drop off your contribution(s) at the Church of the Risen Lord, UP Diliman campus.

a.    Food: canned goods, noodles, biscuits, bread, rice and potable water
b.    Clothing – usable, wearable, clean, and dry clothes (any size), slippers
c.    Beddings – blankets, sheets, pillows
d.    Toiletries: soap, shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrush
e.    Medicines: Paracetamol, Mefenamic acid, band aids, iodine, alcohol, Doxycycline, etc.

2.    Volunteers are encouraged to join the relief efforts. Please contact 0915-8666968 for more details, or drop by the operations center at Church of the Risen Lord, UP Diliman campus.

a.    Communications – with computers/laptops, cellphones, wireless landlines, radios
b.    Sorting and packaging
c.    Transportation – drivers, big cars, etc

3.    For assistance to flooded/missing UP Diliman students, you may send their name, college, location, contact details, and status (flooded, missing, stranded, sick) to any of the following:

a.    Cellphone: 0917-8619022
b.    Landline: 219-9848
c.    E-mail: updusc@gmail.com
d.    Facebook: updusc@yahoo.com

You may also fill in the form at this link.

4.    Student organizations are highly encouraged to join hands with the USC in making our relief operations more efficient and responsive. Org heads are invited to contact 0917-8114511.

5.    UP Sagip Isko is now extending assistance to students who may have been displaced/have no homes to sleep in for the moment as flood waters in certain areas have not yet receded. If you are able and willing to offer your house as a foster home for the short term (this week at least), please fill in the information
at this form. UP Sagip Isko will facilitate matching of displaced students.

Thank you.

Please forward/repost this in all your UP egroups/etc. Thanks!

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Repost from Juro Kim Feliz's facebook:

 DONATION DRIVE at the UP College of Music! for the College of Music faculty, students and staff who were victims of the tropical storm Ondoy. Donations are welcome. Volunteers for distribution of goods needed, especially volunteers with transportation means.

Needed donations for the moment:

Food: noodles, canned goods, bread, boiled eggs, sandwiches, drinking water...etc

Medicines: paracetamol, cough+cold meds, vitamin C...etc...

Toiletries: alcohol, tissue, soap, shampoo

Candles, Matches.

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From the Philippine National Red Cross Website:

SMS and G-CASH (Globe)       


text RED<space>AMOUNT  to 2899 (Globe) or 4483 (Smart)

text DONATE<space>AMOUNT<space>4-digit M-PIN<space>REDCROSS to 2882

Most urgent needs

Food items: Rice, noodles, canned goods, sugar, iodized salt, cooking oil, monggo beans and portable water

Medicines: Paracetamol, antibiotics, analgesic, oral rehydration salts, multivitamins and medications to treat diarrheal diseases

Non-food items: Bath soaps, face towels, shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, plastic mats, blankets, mosquito nets, jerry cans, water containers, water purification tablets, plastic sheetings, and Laundry soap

Saturday, September 12, 2009

"The Crazy Teacher" from the Philippine Star

The crazy teacher 
LESSONS PLANNED from the teacher's pen By CRISELDA SAN (The Philippine Star) Updated June 18, 2009 12:00 AM

Some say teaching is a vocation. My view, however, is that teaching is a sign of mental illness. Yes, teachers are all insane. Why else would they stick with a job that pays so little? Surely they could get other more profitable jobs but they choose to stay in the teaching profession. Crazier still, there are some who take money from what little they get and spend it on their students!

Another tell-tale sign of teachers’ mental illness is multiple personality disorder. The tough as nails, tiger-on-the-prowl type of teacher turns into the person who writes a comforting note to a student. Quick as a flash, the iron fist that maintains order becomes the gentle, sympathetic hand on a dejected student’s shoulder. On a daily basis, the teacher weaves in and out of various roles. Teachers change at a rate that would make a chameleon’s head spin. Why? To become what their students need. “I am a cheerleader because you need to know that someone has faith in you.” “I am a dancer, singer, and artist because you need to know that your learning is worth my effort.” “I am a comedian because you need to know that having a good sense of humor is as essential to our survival as breathing.” “I am a keeper of the peace because all this fighting hurts you.” “I’m a General because you need to know that discipline and order are important if you want to succeed.” A teacher is, as can plainly be seen, never “just” a teacher. 

Another sign of craziness is the fact that teachers suffer hallucinations. Although the child before them may be as standoffish and lazy as children come, the teacher doesn’t see that. Instead, the teacher sees an upstanding and likable person who just needs a little more help along the way. That vision is what keeps the teacher coming back to the classroom everyday, instead of running to the hills, screaming. These hallucinations are so powerful, in fact, that some people spend an entire lifetime dedicated to teaching. They remain teachers despite the perils of the job. What are these perils? Well, a small salary is a small matter compared to the other things that lie in store: mountains of paperwork, occasional attacks from irate parents, and students who carry their weapons of mass DIS-truction (disinterest in the subject and disdain for the person teaching it). Why do teachers put up with all of this? Because they believe that somehow, at some point in the future, the hallucinations will become reality. Someday, Student A is going to be an honest and honorable politician. Someday, Student B will help provide other people with good jobs and brighter futures. Student C will finally bring peace to Mindanao. On and on it goes.

I’m entering my seventh year of teaching. I know I’m crazy. But I also know this: the world we live in seems even crazier. People, when faced with failure, turn to violence instead of trying to turn their lives around. Society builds a pedestal and places profit upon it. And if that pedestal is built on the backs of others, crushing them and driving them six feet under, then that’s just how it goes. Who are these people who do such terrible things? Well, they are just that — people. Not monsters. And that’s what makes what they do even more horrific.

I keep that in mind everyday that I am in the classroom. I know that years from now, when my students have stepped out into the real world, they too are capable of doing horrific things. But I also know something else. And I remain a teacher because I choose to believe it: my students are equally capable of choosing not to do these things, even if doing them would be easier or more profitable. They are capable of using their intelligence and, more importantly, their character to grab hold of this runaway carriage we’re trapped in. My students are wise enough to know the right path. And they are strong enough to lead us there. These are the things that I believe. 

It is my duty to teach my students well enough so that they may believe these things too.It’s true that teaching is often backbreaking and thankless. It would make much more sense to get a job that demands less and pays more. But I’m going to continue teaching anyway. I choose to stay crazy. Because as I see it, it’s the only way to get some sanity back into this world.

CRISELDA SAN teaches Composition at PAREF Woodrose School.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

On "Grand Obsession" and Inspiration

   I love books and music, and can't really tell which of them I love with a fiercer passion. It is a joy for me to read books on Music. In fact, one of the things that got me "hooked" to singing was reading this novel back in high school... Anne Rice's rather controversial "Cry To Heaven." 

   Perri Knize's "Grand Obsession" was a lucky find. I was just browsing in Fully Booked when I chanced upon it, the last copy on the shelf. I'm so glad I followed my impulse to buy it (despite its rather considerable price), it was worth every centavo! The book has been described as a tribute to the piano, but I say it is so much more. It is a tribute to Music-making, to Art, to the pursuit of one's passions regardless of one's age.

   Let me share some quotable quotes from the book:

   "The only difference between a virtuoso and the rest of us are vast and innumerable hours and years of practice, more practice than most of us will ever devote ourselves to, if we wish to have a life besides. It's not enough to love the music. You have to learn to love the process. It's hard work, even for the gifted."

   "Music teaches spirituality by showing a person a portion of himself that he would not discover otherwise. It's hard to avoid yourself in the process of learning how to play the piano. You find out about your expectations, your patience, your optimism or lack of it. It's character-building."

   "...When one is able to realize with clarity the breathtaking achievements of some great master, to the point that one is almost not conscious of playing as being played by transcendent forces/beings, one is not trying for some ideal, one has achieved a state of being that exists in few other human experiences... that to me seems the point behind all this fuss about pianos: the MUSIC they make and we, with our own two hands, can become at least for a few moments, immortal. For you see, all the shouting over political/religious issues will never accomplish what a single, simple piece of exquisite piano music will accomplish. Music can melt the coldest heart, can cause grown men to cry openly, can move women to fainting, can stop wars! It can, it still can."

   The book offers practical knowledge, too! I now know the ideal temperature for pianos (68 degrees fahrenheit) and their ideal humidity (42 percent), as well as how to go about shopping for my dream piano.

   (Incidentally, it's an American myth that the Steinway grand is the best piano around. The word is out! It's GROTRIAN!!!)

   Reading this book has affected me drastically... no, not to the point that I would seriously consider taking up piano as a second degree (though my piano teacher has brought up the option), but it has definitely inspired me to seriously practice my piano playing skills, even if I have to sleep a bit later at night to do so. :) 

   I would greatly appreciate recommendations of some nice intermediate piano pieces (around the same level of difficulty as Chopin's Nocturne in C# minor, posthumous)! :)

   Who says 22 is too old to start taking piano seriously? :) Ignaz Paderewski was my age when he started out... Harold Bauer was 20. Sviatoslav Richter was 27. I'd say I'm in good company. :)
Shelfari: Book reviews on your book blog