2015 in review

My favorite teacher, Rica Bolipata-Santos, posted this writing assignment on her FB account:

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Ma’am Rica said that it wasn’t really important to follow the number but that we should “Write [our] year, in honor and in supplication.”

So I choose to write my year in months, with these highlights and disappointments and game changers and things I focused on and forgot remembered in the order they happened.

JANUARY-FEBRUARY: highlights and disappointments

I don’t remember much about these two months, mainly because my new phone was given to me in March, which means pictures went back as far as March only.

Classroom

What I could deduce was that this was the Fourth Quarter of the academic year and that I tackled Shakespeare in the two year levels I handled: The Merchant of Venice for Grade 7 and Romeo and Juliet for Grade 8. I disappointed myself because I wasn’t able to do what I REALLY wanted to do with Grade 7, which was that they present a modern adaptation of select scenes through a modified street-theater performance around school. I got the idea from my own high school teacher, Ms. Espiritu, who made us do street-theater performances of various Shakespeare works (my partner and I were assigned a Hamlet-Ophelia scene). In grade 7, we ended up just doing the scenes inside the classroom.

#romeoandjuliet #conyojuliet #adaptations #balconyscene #studentoutput

A post shared by Ria (@riaamarifosque) on

 

In Grade 8, I was able to continue what I had started the year before: a poetry reading organized by the students and presented to the whole school. Well, to those who were available to watch at our given time. In the previous school year, 2013-2014, my grade 8 students selected poems that they read to their audience. Some presented pieces they wrote while others presented poetry they loved. That following year in these two months (Jan-Feb), I made the students write their own sonnets on love. Some chose to write about romantic love, some chose to wrote about love for family, and others chose to write about their love for their basketball shoes or pizza. I walked the kids through writing their own sonnets, and I honestly had a blast. The best part about the whole lesson/activity was that I saw the kids REALLY get into  writing their own love stories through the poetry. It didn’t matter that the kids wrote funny poems about pizza or serious poems about how much they loved their families; what mattered was that they were challenged to write and write they did.

Ignatian Youth Camp

I almost forgot about this. For four days, around ¾ of the entire XSN high school (a little over a hundred) were at Ateneo de Manila High School for the first Ignatian Youth Camp. It was a gathering of students from all of the Jesuit schools in the country in a camp that aimed to unite the students and have them share their talents and skills and culture and also to build relationships among them. While the students all enjoyed themselves, we XS teachers (SJ and N) had a more difficult time. We were all OC about organization, and “fully” organized IYC was not. I could go on and on about how things could have been better, but looking back, there were a lot of great experiences that taught me a whole lot of things.


MARCH: highlights and a game changer

Service Recognition

I was awarded for my ten years of service in the school (technically I had been serving the school for close to 11 years already, but they didn’t count the months). At this point in my life I was beginning to ask myself if I would be willing to stay for at least another 5 years. The answer? I still don’t have it.

I had always thought that I’d be teaching all my life, but ten years didn’t feel like such a big deal to me. Then I realized that the very fact that I wasn’t celebrating this the way others were served as an indication that maybe I needed a break.

I’m still thinking about that break.

Punta Verde Dive

A piece of heaven.


APRIL: highlights

Binondo Food Tour
Punta Verde Sands

Avengers with Adverbs

There was absolutely nothing memorable about this date. We went out for a movie and ate food. I don’t even remember WHERE we ate.

What I remember best, though, is how this guy just offered to watch a movie with me because I wanted to get out of the house. I was already in conflict with myself about my feelings for him at this point (I had been for a while already, actually), but there was no denying that I loved spending time with him and getting to do so in person was infinitely better than just talking over chat.


MAY-JUNE: highlights and focus and disappointments

Nothing much to see here. I was assigned a new grade level. I was now a senior faculty member and I had other department-mates now after being the only high school English teacher for two years (there was a part-time English teacher for one section in high school, though). It was a lot to take in–that people, even my assistant boss, relied on me for a lot of what should be done in the high school, at least for English.

I spent a lot of time planning my lessons around the curriculum we developed. I had never planned this vigorously in my entire life, and this made me hopeful for the rest of the school year. Sadly, though, other events prevented me from being as diligent and meticulous with my lesson planning. 😦


JULY-OCTOBER: forgotten stuff and a game changer 

Still nothing much to see here. Two things I remember are the Leadership Training Seminar in August and the game changer in October. Adverbs wasn’t there as he had to be with his family. I spent the seminar helping the moderators facilitate everything even though I wasn’t technically a student council moderator anymore.
The game changer was that I was asked to bring TEDx to school. Herculean task. I wanted to say no, but I knew that I couldn’t say no to my boss. Also, I knew that even if I could, I wouldn’t.
I believed in IDEAS WORTH SPREADING.
So I said YES.

NOVEMBER-DECEMBER: game changers and highlights

Adverbs happened.
And everything changed.
Everything suddenly became new–the feelings, the emotions, experiences, perspectives. Words took on new meaning (especially those from songs and poetry). I did and said things I never thought I would. I began to look at myself differently. I began to look at other people differently.
It felt good and scary and good.

This was a long overdue post. I started writing this at the end of December, but only got around to finishing it now.

2016, in the few short weeks we’ve had so far, has been trying and tumultuous and depressing and amazing.
I don’t know how the rest of the year will pan out; none of us really do, right? But inasmuch as things have become even more depressing for me at work because of burn out, I find that I can bear all this new weight because I have him.
And for this, for him, 2015 will always hold a special place in my heart.
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