The first time I encountered JUST THIS QUESTION in an academic setting was in junior year high school when our Filipino teacher asked on a major exam: Bakit? (direct translation of said question).

That was it. One word.

We were talking about literature and grammar and things like that and then out of the blue he drops on our puny little brains a philosophical question.

I didn’t get it.

WHY stray off topic?

WHY what? Where were the modifiers? the qualifiers? Where was the rest of the question?

WHY was the question incomplete?

WHY did I get a lower grade for not satisfactorily answering a question that was not included in the pointers for review?

And with this encounter began my profound dislike (bordering on hatred) for philosophy.

I didn’t understand WHY he put that question there. Even after “explaining” the question when he returned our papers to us, and he pointed out that when someone said, “Bakit hindi?” (Why not? This answer, btw, got the equivalent of an A), it was what he was looking for. WHAT EXACTLY WAS HE LOOKING FOR?

As a teacher now I would have to say that even though I hate these types of on-the-spot questions, I do see a bit of merit here. This “strategy” (if you will) informs the teacher of the student’s ability to handle a situation that is unexpected. Does the student handle it well? negatively? proactively? This type of information is important for the teacher because it helps her prepare for lessons and activities and PTC’s accordingly.

What I didn’t like about what my teacher did back then was to grade us on it. That was just… wrong.


This small rant just showed want kind of a learner I am. I liked the traditional. I liked the memorization because I was kinda good at it. As a teacher, though, I recognize that my book smarts–while helpful–were not enough.

Do I now appreciate what my teacher did? Only in that it told me I had to be smarter, and that my students can’t get stuck the way I did back then.

But I still don’t like what he did.


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