25 Kick-ass things I learned From My 25 Years of Kicking-Ass (Part I of III)

Quarter a century years old.

One could say that at this age a person is already at the prime of his youth— already in full bloom (and ripe for the picking, if you know what I mean).

Twenty-five marks a significant milestone in everyone’s lives. My good friend told me once that it is true: something changes in you upon reaching this point in your life. True enough, this is a period where you have established your core values, the basis of every mindset and decision you make from hereon. You have a definite idea of who and what you are— your limits, your strengths, your potentials yet to be tapped. You are still a work in progress nevertheless you are fully armed and able to evoke change making an actual contribution to the world. There is still the fire of idealism yet you have gradually reconciled it with reality, that some things can be changed and some cannot… but you are still hoping to be the person you have imagined yourself to be eight years ago.

I am twenty-five, and there is still a long way to go.

Yet life has taught me some extremely valuable things over the years. Some I already knew but had to experience it myself to really understand what it was all about. Others I have seen through vicarious experience and dutiful listening to the wise. The rest I did not see coming and had to deal with them the hard way (and I mean HARD). This is not a surefire formula to attain success or to win the Miss Universe pageant or to go to heaven but I am sharing these especially to my dear students as something to ponder upon… and if you want to increase your survival rate in this world.

1.       Be helpful… only AT THE RIGHT MOMENT

  • Do not get me wrong on this one. I absolutely abhor people who do not lift even a single finger to help people in need. Like some of my students who say “There are others who are willing to do it anyway” or “I’m kinda in the middle something right now” or “I simply do not want to help.” (You people know who you are and thanks for making the world more hellish than it should be.)
  • My point is- You are not Superman. You only have limited resources, time, and capabilities. And while this is not an excuse for you to refuse somebody in need or to give less than what you can really give; this should make you be more discerning when providing aid: “Will I really help and not aggravate the situation? Will there be more who will be benefited than harmed? Will my assistance ACTUALLY YIELD RESULTS? Am I needed in the first place?” If not, your effort is a waste. The thought and intention of helping is nice but the end-result is what matters at the end of the day.


 2.       Learn to say NO

  • Peer pressure is almost impossible to resist. Numerous times we  give in to the coaxing, incessant cajoling, and charming persuasions to do this and that. While this isn’t entirely bad,  there are times  necessitating you to turn the other cheek and walk away.  I have succumbed to peer pressure  in the name of “friendship”, camaraderie, or reconciliation and the negative impacts it had one me were titanic. Worse, I alone would have to suffer the consequences! (tears) Only recently did I learn that to say NO does not make you a bad person at all. You have all the right in the world to decline especially if what you are about to do is an outright abomination or sheer idiocy.

3.       Be yourself. ALWAYS

  • Hmmm… how should I put this without being too Vanessa Hudgens (I got to go on and be who I ammmmmmm …) or Demi Lovato (this is me, this is real…. Grrraaahhh!!!)? I guess you really have to be schmaltzy with this. Fact: There is no point TO BE NOT who you truly are. I cannot continue sugarcoating this to my students (because I am soooo fed up ad nauseam to the “I-am- wearing- a mask-pretending-to-be-someone-else” drama) so here it is, THE WORLD IS UNFAIR. DEAL WITH IT, my darlings. With our standards of beauty, intelligence, and other societal criteria of who’s desirable or not, people are conditioned to be eternally insecure— I am too a bit, until now. But unless you cannot accept the fact that someone will always be better, hotter, or sexier than you, you cannot enjoy the perks (not of being a wall flower) of being just simply, errr… you. Is lying to yourself for the rest of your life just to get shallow approval and admiration worth it? If you really think about it, it’s not so bad being you. Just work on what you have and do not be a prick. You’ll do perfectly fine.

4.        Crap Stinks. Period

(refer to my previous blog entry…)

5.       Tame your tongue

  • I used to have the ‘I-don’t-care-as-long-as-I’m-being-real’ attitude once too. Having come into full terms with myself, I vowed to be an avatar of honesty no matter what. Being you is being real in the first place as I would have put it then. It was a disaster. True, I did speak out my mind. I was being honest, too damn honest that I lost the very thing which has kept me from the biggest troubles all these years: discretion.  I just said whatever the hell I wanted and did not apologize for it: I was just being true was my justification. Take it or leave it. And there, true enough, I realized later then that all along I wasn’t really being real. I was being crass, cheap, and a total drama queen.  I hurt people. It didn’t really make me happy, proud or prove my point.
  • Honesty is still a big deal for me… only that now I know better: Especially if you’re not contributing anything to a solution or concession, if what you are about to say is downright in-your-face insulting, or your prattling is just so damn irritating to the ears, LEARN TO SHUT UP.

6.       Embrace your past- completely

  • We all had issues in the past and we have had our own ways on dealing with them. Some deliberately erased them from memories; some compensated them through some kind of an atonement; some pretended it never happened; and some attempted to undo them (what the!?). We all have reasons for such: out of shame and guilt, mostly. I myself have done things which I am not proud of. And thinking about those now make me cringe and hate myself for the rest of my life. “Why was I so stupid, desperate, and selfish?” And this is where soap operas and Japanese anime enter the picture to save the day.  Watching them taught me that no matter how dark, ugly, or painful your past is, embrace it with all your heart— not because you cannot do anything to undo them anyway, but because all of those are already a part of who and what you are now. Good or bad, they have all contributed to the totality of your existence as of the present and you cannot truly be one with yourself without accepting them… (sappy ending song follows)

On Earning my A+


There is a time in every school year where every faculty room is suddenly abuzz with discussions, assumptions, and predictions. Teachers just can’t stop chattering. Surely, something is bound to happen.


This is the time where there is a momentary shift in the balance of power between the lowly students and the god-like teachers. For a brief period, they are suddenly under the mercy of these kids; their numerical assessment on their performances decides their image, their worth, and probably their future.


Faculty evaluation in schools is very much like a political election- the students the electorates, the teachers the political candidates. Evaluations are announced a week or two before its administration and suddenly, there is vaudeville. Teachers become amped. Some suddenly become unrealistically (more like irritatingly) pleasant in the classroom. Some give heart-warming speeches in between (or sometimes the whole) lectures on hopes to win sympathy (votes?). And some would even resort to either direct bribing, pleading, or worse, threatening.


And of course just like the regular campaign period, some propagandas sell, and some do not.


I could just imagine the face of every student watching in amusement at their teachers as they perform their own antics. A few entertaining, others obviously trying hard, and the rest just plain pathetic.


Albeit, evaluations is not all that merry. Many students, would actually treat evaluations as payback time, judgment of the gods day, and the time of vengeance. They were silent as lambs when Teacher A threw a tantrum with no particular reason at all, or when Teacher B deliberately gave failing grades out of spite, or when Teacher C gave a grandiloquent  speech on how doleful their existence are. But the students remembered— and they cannot wait for a second longer.


I never expect anything every time “The Hour of Retribution Comes.”Nor do I plan for my own campaign strategy to rally my ratings up. Not that I am being a hypocrite but I, from the bottom of my heart abhor becoming Mary Poppins every evals week— my towering pride just cannot take it. You know, similar to the rate-me-for-who-I-fucking-really-am drama.


Everybody knows I love power-trippings, has struggles with issues on schadenfreude, and a true-blooded prick. Still I do my share of reminding students about objectivity, open-mindedness, and a sense of humanity. Hell, your beloved teachers, after all, aren’t perfect. We all have our shares of quirkiness. And admittedly, we can be real bitches and assholes at some points (I take the cake in this part).


Happy Rating!

Is It Time To Say ‘Good Bye Class’?

I think I should get a new job.

I am starting to believe that I am not really for the classroom (hmmm… nobody’s negating this statement, I can see…). I once had the delusion of being a great sage but I guess, I’m just a moderately good to a plain moderate teacher- and that’s exactly the point. I never, EVER wanted to settle for just “good”, worse, average. Here are some hardcore reasons why I believe pedagogy isn’t the best thing for me.

1. My handwriting is hideous.

I hear a resounding YESSS!!! from all corners of the firmament on this one. Numerous times I was complained of having a penmanship so alien that it needs a cryptographer in order to be deciphered. God knows how I tried to improve on it- but I guess with sooo much beauty and intelligence bestowed on me, He must compensate it somehow with a uh… weakness?

2. My level of selfishness/b!tch!*ess can rival or even surpass that of my students.

I’m not perfect, I’m a snitch. But I can tell you sir Dennis’ a b!t*h. Lalalala…  Teachers are supposed to be understanding, giving, patient, and open minded with their students— like those you see in sappy infomercials and MMK episodes (Dear Charo, my teacher was a [series of pleasant adjectives, correctly placed in the proper series]…). But if “understanding”, “giving”, “patient”, and “open minded” were to be translated in my brain, these would register as just “blah-blah-blahs.”  I refuse to tolerate their “high-schoolness”(despite the fact that they ARE high school students to begin with and that they HAVE ALL THE RIGHT to be high school-ish—see, I’m terrible, really). I am easily irritated with their antics to gain attention. Many times I say to myself “they’re just kids” but I end up berating them all anyway. Students want things to be all about them— but turns out it will always be all about ME and things getting done MY WAY at the end of the day. I relish every second of “in-your-faces” that I give to them whenever they try to be funny by deliberately giving stupid answers to questions, or when they begin to act cocky and give me THAT face, or whenever they do an attitude with a capital A out of nothingness, or when they just simply piss me off (sometimes I am pissed without any apparent reason- and they get to experience my wrath.)

3. I am not affable.

I am a master of showing indifference, apathy, and plain disgust. I cannot grit my teeth and flash a hearty grin especially when I’m having a bad day. “Good mooooorning sir” they would greet me every day and they expect either of the following reaction:  A) a blank face+ response, B) lips arched a bit upward (still cannot pass as a smile) but eyes remain blank+ response, C) blank face+ no response, and D) lips purse + eyes roll (on special occasions). I have long tried to be nice- the type of nice exhibited by my colleagues who seem to be the happiest people on earth (high-pitched voice, squinting eyes, smirk reaching both ear lobes, and fondness of using name of student +“dear”, “anak”, “sweet heart”, or “darling”). They are so nice Mother Teresa is shamed, and whenever I attempt to be one too, I can only keep it up for ten minutes or so— then I go back to my old maleficent self again.

4. I am easily jaded.

And with that I would have to always psych myself up and recite the mantra “this is interesting… the topic is mind-blowing… the discussion is soooo spot-on even if things are moving at a glacial pace or not even moving at all. I wanted to teach topics— those only that spark my interest though I must lecture things that can potentially cause me to be fall into coma (and you think I so love teaching the S-TV-DOs???).

So if students give me THAT look they’re about to die of boredom— please realize that I myself has resisted the urge numerous times to stab myself, gouge my eyes, and skin my body just to stay awake.

5. I have authority issues.

Being the omnipotent entity in every classroom I enter in— I have concerns as regards to handling too much power as I have the natural tendency to treat students as if they were my serfs. With great power comes great opportunity to show who’s boss- that’s my motto.

Did the film’s plot just copied mine?

Teaching isn’t just about dishing-out information and giving grades— it is a life which transcends beyond the mere chalkboard, lesson plan, and the occasional meter stick. Teaching could either be the coolest or lamest job ever- of course that lies on individual perspectives. As for me? It ain’t easy being a teacher goddammit. This job’s just fucking HARD. Flinging yourself at each classroom, pretty much vulnerable to students’ ridicule and gossips (your clothes, your face—thank the gods I was not born facially-challenged, your hair…), requires a skin thick as a rhinoceros’ hide.

Then quit. What the hell are you still waiting for?—- some might say as they were repeatedly rolling their eyes till it hurt while reading this. I will, definitely. But probably not until I fully grasp what this job is all about. Not until I can leave the campus gates, saying to myself that I have truly become a teacher and not just some noisome tramp who just disturbed the psyche of these adolescents whose faces are erupting with pus-filled pimples… and got paid for it. (now, that’s real low)

I have just always  thought of it as a profession- a job where you do your thing, doing it well, and getting remuneration for it. I was wrong. Work doesn’t end in school. Teaching is a lifestyle. To be a teacher is to confine yourself in a box sealed with so many expectations. You become one of the moral watchdogs— and in turn become an impossible icon of morality yourself (why, WHY do teachers must always act like people from convents and monasteries? Is not teaching the difference between pure-bred and mongrel enough?). A teacher always go beyond the line of duty (ugh… don’t start with me on overtimes, take-home loads, and student-drama counseling). And teachers take the greatest pressure of churning out competent people to run the society someday. You want to make the world a better place minus the fat paycheck? I dare you to be a teacher.