Sunday, July 15, 2007

Sayawit (Competition in Song and Dance, Siniloan National High School)


Friday night felt so surreal. Such a nice school with such sweet polite kids and suddenly towards the end of a very positive evening of song and dance, the “Sayawit” competition, a group of students outside the gate started throwing rocks over the fence. There were also people inside the school property who had not been given permission to be there for the same reasons they were now causing trouble…they were not well-behaved in group social settings. The three guys among the judges were gone before I even noticed that they had stood up and on the far end of the basketball court talking to some kids on the other side of the fence. There was a solemn mood in the air. My co-workers and I looked around trying to gage how the negotiations with the “hoodlums” were going from 250 meters away. I felt helpless. Ordinarily, I would have walked over and seen if I could help out but I was not only new at this school but from another culture and race and my involvement probably would only hinder the discussion…But there is nothing I hate more than sitting around and waiting and feeling like a poor helpless female. Eventually, one female co-workers stood up when she saw that students were hanging out outside the basketball court half in the shadows, she yelled at them to get their buts onto the court. They were among the students who were not permitted to attend this event because they were mischievous but since they were already there she wanted to corral them in with the other students and keep track of their whereabouts.

I was impressed with how tough she could be. She definitely knows how to control the students yet the students overall love her because she makes it obvious that she loves spending time with them and loves teaching.

I don’t think that I’m cut out for teaching. I lose my patience within minutes if a class repeatedly talks through my lectures. I know this is because I talk to low and I’m far from an organized and captivating speaker so a lot of the frustration that I feel could be avoided if I was more prepared and on during my lectures. Maybe then, I’ll feel differently about teaching. I hope so because I like the idea of teaching college classes part time and freelance writing the rest of the time. I think that I would enjoy teaching English literature and creative writing classes. I just learn to develop a method that works for me that draws the students in…I guess that will take research, some studying on teaching methods and experience.

The students whispered to each other and sat on the basketball court floor looking worried or frustrated. They were probably concerned that the kids over the fence would cause them to have to go to bed early or even have to go home tonight.

Because the overnight for the science camp that weekend and the math camp in the fall are the only fun events students have an opportunity to participate in all year that only involve academics loosely. My co-worker sighed and explained this is the reason we can’t ever have evening events. Outsiders get through the fence by having someone on the outside get them in and cause mischief. But what if we have the help of barungay officers, I asked. We have barungay officers guarding the gate tonight.

I felt as discouraged as she did as I was hoping to eventually have a dance marathon to raise money for the school library despite my co-workers’ discouraging remarks. They told me it probably wouldn’t happen. As it is the prom is only 2 hours long and the lights are on the whole time so the kids don’t dance to close together during the slow dances ..and what teenager is confident to dance to fast songs when the lights are on?! The prinicipal reminds me of the character from Footloose, the minister…It’s actually really sad how fear can make people choose to oppress the people they are supposed to be serving. I’m amazed that the kids don’t resent him for this because the others schools are a lot more liberal.


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