Tuesday, October 4, 2011

What this world's teachers should celebrate?

So there's this dedicated day for the world's teachers. Wow. That should flutter me. I am happy being one and each day of going to school to meet my students, the completion of a lesson and the demonstration that students learned something from me are enough compliments.

How I wish that one day for a teacher could be spent by affirmation and some relief from the stress of educating minds, both the diligent and the difficult ones. That's just a wishful thinking, for me, since I learned to accept that I was called for this profession and it is my apostolic ministry. Teaching being the noblest profession is I think the most difficult one, for those who have imbibed in their mindset and life system what teaching really is.

So what should a teacher celebrate? I guess, those many small things but are not valued by many in the world: having a chance to have shared even a piece of knowledge that has occupational application; having inspired a soul to have commitment to a life-changing decision; making inattentive students laugh awhile; knowing a student answer right, but who happens to always be wrong; hearing a student think aloud even though his view differs from what is commonly held; getting hold of a student's painstakingly worked learning output; and definitely seeing a student graduate, who happened to have spent very long years in school.

I have personal reasons to celebrate when my students excel. I am happy too, when I see my students commit to changing their mindset and their behavior towards learning. I have met too many difficult learners, including those that some teachers dare not to take in their class. I do, because I know that my obligation to teach is not just a plain work at all. To me, the becoming of teacher is only measured by being able to help the "hardest" to be taught learn to fend for his own learning.

On each day that I would meet my students, I have a personal measures that I am making an impact. That count to my knowledge of how effective I am in the class. It is beyong the systematic measures of evaluation, that students answer by shading numbers. Call it hunch or mere gut feel, but to me that is the most authentic means of knowing how effective a teacher is.

One, when students volunteer to do some favor you ask. Two, when students really inquire on things related to the lesson. Three, when a student say's goodbye to you with a thank you when you dismiss them. Lastly, when students can remember your name, because that is one anchor for all other knowledge that you have imparted to them.

I am not a perfect teacher. No one is. But, I try to be one damn good teacher, by avoiding what I hate from those teachers I have had. Yeah, I did have bad times with some teachers: with my first grade teacher who blamed me for some else's annoying behavior; with my third grade teacher who did not include me from being accelerated because I was a transferee; with my fourth grade adviser who whipped me with a stick because she could not manage my talkativeness.

Even when I reached some age, teachers had hot eyes on me: with my fourth year adviser who campaigned against me with my classmates; with my college teacher who failed me in a subject she moved on another schedule that caused my failure because I could not attend frequently; and with a university dean who sued me and other student paper staff because we unjustly vexed her manipulative act to shut the paper down. I love you all my dear teachers, you have taught me so much from all those things.

I have been in the academe for more than fifteen years. I have taught local and foreign students alike, here and abroad. I have met both the best and worst students in several schools. Though at sometimes I envy my friends who are earning well in the corporate world, I find myself a million times satisfied with where I am. Money could not buy that joy I find in this profession.

When I run across students whom I have taught, and they greet me -- there I know I am a teacher. That is an affirmation to me that I am someone who have been a part of one's life at one time or another. This world can never be what it is now, without teachers.

Happy teachers day to every mentor in the world! To my teachers who taught me, thank you for making one like you. Thank you my Rabbi for making me a teacher too.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Writing a Dissertation Proposal

Throughout my coursework for a PhD in Communication, I have done researches individually and in groups. Every subject required the students to come up with a complete research paper. Since, I opted to fast track my coursework, I had to take three subjects every term, so that should have prepared me adequately for my dissertation work.

I thought I needed a break from studying right after I passed the candidacy exam. But, I enrolled for the dissertation right after summer of 2011. It took me a month to finally decide on a topic. I got off track with some ambitious ideas from hearing the experiences of DBA student doing his dissertation. I felt I could do even better than what he did, so I found myself downloading, printing and reading stuffs which I would just set aside lately.

I relied on a belief that I was half way done, because my topic is just an extension of a previous research I completed on Third Culture and Biracial Kids in college. I was wrong, because the moment I had the research problems defined, the content and context have changed. I may be studying the same participants, but the scope has greatly differed from the previous. I went over my earlier work to find what I could salvage, but I only found few to be relevant to the study I am doing now. Darn! I couldn't plagiarize my own work. Neither could I fill an empty page with block quotes.

I thought things would be easy as recycling an old work. When the reality that I am doing a dissertation and not just any term-end requirement settled in my mind, my attitude towards what I was doing altered. Ethics, responsibility and the discipline of research writing compelled me to act seriously and be more meticulous on what I read and what I write. I tried to grasp deeper and wider understanding of what others have known and found related to my topic. I tried to get hold of their key ideas and put them in my paper using my own words. Carefully, I restate their ideas with fidelity according to my understanding.

I hurdled mental blocks, by diverting my attention without leaving my target work undone with other tools. When words are not just there, I use visual organizers to give my left brain some rest and have my right brain do the thinking in creative ways. From the first set of research questions I have written, I found the necessity to revise them when my study framework has been diagrammed, after I listed all the variables that are included in my general research question. I found myself doing this at times I lack the words.

Reading took much of my time, but I couldn't write anything without going through the voluminous number of pages in books, journals, and other publications that matter in my study. Taking down notes, in paraphrases and verbatim have really been useful to me, as these substantiate my thoughts about the subject I am investigating. As read more critically and actively, I get to think aloud (literally) to process those thoughts I've read while I pause from going through the text, while a take a leak or get a smoke break.

Even at times that I turn in to bed, my mind would still be thinking about what I was writing. Sometimes, an idea would just popped in my head at times of silence, and I had to grab a paper to put it down so I can remember. At other times, even my fingers would gesture some thoughts creeping in my head about my study. So the way to give myself a break from all these dissertation syndrome is to get myself busy with my office works and teaching works, if I don't have the opportunity to go malling or watching a movie.

I took the advise of a colleague who just earned his PhD, that at least I should have a page written about my topic in a day. He esteemed me so much in his belief that I could write, as he has read my blogs. My problem is when I work on something, I don't leave it undone. As my resolve, I would either set a target to finish a section or certain number of pages for my dissertation proposal. And, it worked well for me. I worked on chunks or sections of a chapter at least in a day when I have time.

Another adjustment I did is to leave my work in the workplace, so I can just focus on my dissertation paper at home. I could not write my paper in the workplace, because I feel that is denying my job the work due me. But, in idle times, when I get bored of my office paper works, I pull a book, flip on its pages and write down notes that I think are important to my study. Since, I work in a school, the library resources provide me ample materials to do my research paper. With other experts around, and those who have completed their PhD's I get free advise and consultation. But, I have not exhausted this much. When I finish the proposal, that's an option.

Writing the dissertation is not the same as writing a term-end coursework requirement. This is true for me, as I believe that a PhD dissertation is an intelligent contribution to the world's knowledge. It is symbolic to define a PhD graduate's competency in doing research and in making sense of truths and realities in his field of expertise. It is a measure of one's depth and breadth of knowledge about his field that will have implications in the course of human life across time and generations. That is, if one takes the nature of a dissertation seriously as a theory-building effort, nothing less.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

On Falling and Rising Again: The Winner and Loser's Mindsets

There seems to me a line drawn clearly between losers and winners in life. Losers fall and can’t stand quickly. They spend more time on the ground whereas they can really stand. Winners fall but are quickened in spirit to get up and move on. Losers look back and see what or who’s behind them. But winners fix their eyes forward, thinking of overcoming their weaknesses and so getting the prize.

Both winners and losers fall – the difference is that real life winners fall by grace and they stand with grace. Losers fall in shame, remain longer in shame and stand in self-pity, envy, egotism and hopelessness.

Life is a race. We must race to the finish, aiming for the prize, the best honor – all the best that life could give and the best we could do with it. But we must race and run for the prize. Finishing the race is a prize in itself; getting the honor of racing first, second or third does not really matter at all, since in the end the laurels will lose their luster and so do we. Making and breaking records is another thing, it makes our names eternal, virtually.

Winners race with a goal. Losers race aimlessly. But both are running the same track. Winners are real sportsmen. They are proud of other’s victory and express their happiness for someone’s honor in winning. Losers pride in single or several short-lived victories. They show cunning in defeating others. Winners are esteemed to grow strongly and do better in every run. Losers brag about their strengths and use them against others. Winners are comfortable in making a good finish. Losers enjoy beating others and are seeking more attention to self.

I failed to obtain something I desired. I failed from the very start desiring it. I failed because that wasn’t the race I should be running. So I didn’t succeed. Instead I fell and stumbled because it was an obstacle race. That was the race I have tried to avoid because my agility and strength do not give me profit for taking it. I’ve taken that race before. I won and lost, lost and won, won and lost again. Like the track, it is a cycle never ending. I have found myself to be better in walking and running on clear straight path without obstacles, without hassles. Am I a coward? No I walk and run fearlessly with aim for the great prize.

I fell but I rose with grace. I stand in equanimity. I learn at every fall. I strain my body to be fit for the race where I am better. I train others freely who desires to make a good finish in life. But I can only accommodate those who are willing to be trained and who could trust me for whatever I learned by experience. I race, with time as my friend. And time is so valuable to waste on anyone who will come for a training, ask for some help and advice but never really follow. I’m patient to handle such people. However, neither I nor they will profit with that kind of attitude.

Discipline, focus, determination, submission, willingness, effort are all I require for apprenticeship. I can bear the pain and agony of training for others, but I can’t make any winners out of those who rest comfortably being losers. If I see my prodigies rising from wherever they fall trying their best to make an honorable finish… that makes me happier, that alone suffices and satisfies me. With them I could extend my patience, until death bed takes me. Hey… I’m no athlete, not even a coach. I’m just a couch potato you could take as your life coach though.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Love is a mental state

"Love is a mental state" that was what I learned from a teenager mentee I have, one time I had a chance having lunch with them. It is a mental state because we configure everything in our mind of whom to love, how to love, why to love, when and where to love. That great feeling when one is in love is also predisposition to the immediate situation.

There is a philosophical basis to believe that love is a mental state. The phenomenology of love is experienced in varied ways by individuals. The meaning of love is unique to every person. People interpret and give value to the situation, in their experience of another person, actions, words and the feelings attached to those. The good feeling of being in relationship with another is construed, logically to the abstractions of love.

Scientifically, love is a mental state. It draws material bases on the human emotions that are perceived selectively and then interpreted and given value by the mind, as a response to a stimuli. It is associated to the psychological need of sense of belongingness, security and self-actualization. As a need, it is configured in our heads as something desirable. Hence, finding the desirable in someone results to admiration, wanting and so loving.

Sociologically, our sense of self is negotiated in relation to others. We find meaning to our self in relationships with others. As we socially interact, we learn of others' satisfying experiences of loving someone, so we dare explore the situations to find a partner to share love with. Basically, we learn this from our parents, from whom we model our relational behavior with others. Hence, the way we will handle relationships reflects of how our parents demonstrated love to us.

Theologically, love is presented in its most ideal sense of being unconditional, infinite and ever flowing. Love as St. Paul teaches is patient, kind, forgiving, never envious, rejoices in the truth, humble and self-giving. Divine love serves as model for the moral foundations of human love in relation to other people. Here, the self is shared to someone and to everyone, in several concrete ways more than that of its affective values.

In all those construals of love, it remains a phenomenon in the lived experiences of people. What it means lies in the cognitive and metacognitive constructs of the individual who interprets the experiences and the emotions that go with the experiences. As a mental state, it remains abstract, mysterious and evolving to make people go crazy about it.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Why do fools fall out of love?

Fools fall in love and they fall out of love too as fools. Because love has a blinding force to attract persons together and overwhelm them with pleasurable and self-gratifying emotions, the experience of love becomes an irrational state only known to fools. The unexplainable reasons of falling out of love undermined by emotions are also known only to fools.

Romantic relationships develop from an intimate social interaction. Intimacy in social interaction is characterized by the depth of shared selves between partners, and its degree is increased by the quality and quantity of communication taking place. Thus, falling out of love is affected by how partners value and practice communication that bonded them in the first place.

To put communication out of the equation in any relationship leaves two parties in a disinterested position, distant, non-interacting and with a potential to move away from having any connection at all. Communication is that vital link that allows individuals to find meaningful connections, understanding of differences and establishing trust to one another. Damaged trust is one indicator of poor or ineffective communication taking place, and a cause of why fools fall out of love.

Falling in love begins with an admiration of perceivable traits. With communication, individuals get to know each other at a deeper level. There, the sharing of likeable complementary traits result to validation and verification of trust. At that time, when people unconsciously ignore the thought of possible conflicts between them because they are overwhelmed with that fulfilling feeling of falling in love, expectations are not set.

In the continuance of the relationship, roles and expectations are developed. Unmaintained roles become an issue which violates an expectation. Expectations that are not expressed, are never understood and they are not realized. Violated expectations lead to a damage trust. Relationships begin with uncertainties and people in relationships certainly find their selves in that trap.

At a time that expectations are violated trust gets to be thinner to keep partners holding on to what they have had before. If they don't listen and talk to what each other is feeling and thinking about the situation, the damage trust leads to a split. Only during the split, partners find some time to think. This split provides a space and time to reflect on the relationship that has been.

But a split is construed to be a voluntary break up of the relationship. It is not the same as cooling off. Nevertheless, cooling off that is not definite of time and purpose also leads to splitting up. These are periods of silence. Such event is problematic to both parties because they think more about each other without apparent evidences validated through communication.

The easiest way to justify a discontinued romantic relationship is falling out of love. Apparently, dysfunctional communication behavior has a great deal to do to arrive at such state. Simply, because we become fools to ignore that relationships are built with healthy, intimate, open and other-centered communication. On the opposite, we only consider communication as self-serving. We don't listen and we talk of things out of the context of the relationship.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Do my parents still love me?


"I am more at home in school, I would like to stay longer in school than to be in the house, with a mother who seem not to know me at all."

"I hate my mother, when all that is important for her is just money and she does not even pay attention to my needs and my personal problems... so I hooked up with many boyfriends and even tried drinking and drugs."

"I'd rather be with my grandparents because they listen more to me, my parents they don't really care about me, because they are too busy with our family business."


Such thoughts verbalized put me dumbfounded. I could feel a sense of trust to be reading and hearing those, but they also shock me to realize what some or many young people could be missing in their development years. Reflecting puts me back into my actualized self with gratitude and confidence that my parents have provided me the love they could afford.

Home and school are separate social spaces sharing performative roles in the development of every child. The students I am handling are not adults yet, but adolescents. They embody the youth who could be sharing the same issues with their parents. Most of them are in the upper middle class of our society with parents busy at work or in business, if not separated or physically absent.

What struck me the most on this issue is that a student one morning asked me: ""When parents are always strict, do they still love their children?" What I heard was a representative of the mimed voices of young people, feeling bad about how their parents are rearing them. But, I could suspect that this signals misunderstanding of the constructs of love and discipline.

On the background where other thoughts, saying that in other countries it is just wrong to treat any child that strict, that it is child abuse. I understood that again as lacking grasp of the fundamental concepts of discipline, legal rights and child development, that most young people mistake to be unfair and a sign of being not loved. That happened all at one time during our open sharing on attitude in my academic advising class.

Putting the issue in the context of family communication, it is clear that those students whose points of views I shared in here are challenged in their experiences of dysfunctional family structures, ambiguous role assignments, misunderstanding of functions, and unexpressed affirming emotions. In other words, they find themselves in a mere dependent or co-dependent relations without symbolizing, signifying and valuing the meaning of family.

More than material things, more than working hard for money, more than dining out, more than having fun, more than going to church at the same time, more than sending children to good schools, it pays to share the meaning of doing all these through casual conversations. There is a richer collateral to keep a healthy communication among family members to build a stronger relationship and a deeper understanding of each needs.

When parents intend to discipline their children out of an unexpected behavior the immediate response is a punitive one. Nagging, pinching, hitting, whipping, swearing, blaming and grounding the child for their actions are the parents' response or form of reinforcement to a negative behavior. True, many parents don't know the impact of these to their child's esteem particularly when other people can see. And, very few would actually process the situation with their children.

Thus, these reinforcement compound to be associated by young people as either strictness or not being cared for. While little time is spent by parents to stay with their children, the children are more deprived to bond with parents as the former spends their own time in other means. With their friends, online and offline, and the unmonitored school schedule they have, children with "strict' parents would rather stay away from home to find a space where they are attended to.

These children who grew up with punishment as reinforcement only learn the pain of it, and not really its relevance to being disciplined. They too will apply the same to their children even worse than which they experienced. But if the children knew that they are different from their actions, and they understand what needed correction in their behavior and they were taught how to rectify their ill-conduct and wrong attitude, they will grow up in discipline and be better parents that they can be.

Being strict is never wrong. Discipline to a child is never wrong. But they have limitations, while being strict is an attitude, discipline is a process. Both have to be contextualized in the frames of family love, parental love to children and caring for every member of the family. Family culture in its own dynamics operate in honoring the family and caring for its members. To discipline with consistency an affirming attitude is never strict nor constricting but liberating a soul from being wrong.

How did I answer my student's question as to whether his parents love him even if they are strict. My answer was simple, no parents want their children to do wrong, as they all want them to be in the right. Having the right attitude, behaving appropriately, becoming better to stand on their own and to succeed in life are what parents want for their children. Being strict is a way for parent to discipline their children. Parents discipline their children because they love them. If parents see that their children have the discipline they expect, there is no reason for them to be "strict".

I furthered, parents get angry, they get mad because they feel that what they expect were violated. They feel such because they love their children. It should worry the children more if they parents tend to ignore even their wrong behavior or ignore them all the more. That is not love anymore, because the parents have become indifferent to their child's situation. What then should children do for their parents, if they love them and need them in their life? That's our next discussion point.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

I didn't Know How to Start


There is an ambitious me, that has always been me in my plight as a graduate student. I have always wanted to make a contribution to human knowledge. Proof of which, the first proposal I drafted for my MA thesis was overrated as a dissertation paper rather than a master’s thesis.

At that time, my panelists had no questions or criticism about the research problem, its aims, methodology and the extensive review of related literature I drafted, except that it was “too ambitious” and they feared I could not handle it. MA candidates were just expected to test theories or models by applying or modifying existing instruments.

They discussed and sent me out only to ask me if I really wanted to pursue the study. I said yes, but after being intimidated by their lack of appreciation for a study above expected standards, I took the flight to work abroad, leaving them a promise that I will be defending my final paper the coming semester via online.

Seven years passed then, I inquired of possibilities of continuing my MA. Fortunately, after examining my scholastic records, the Dean approved my request on condition that I would take a penalty course of 3 units. I took the liberty of enrolling full 9 units assuming that those subjects could really help me. Only the Research Design coursed really helped me to prepare my MA thesis.

While I took the refresher course, I started to draft my proposal, which I also presented in the research class. Positive comments overwhelmed me, from my professor and my classmates. I consulted my previous professors and those at that time about my proposal. Only one of them was negative about my proposal, but Insisted to pursue it.

A month after the term I passed my proposal defense without any revision. Three months after I successfully defended my thesis with a highly satisfactory mark, with negligible revisions on mechanics and style alone. Their comment was the same from the previous: my thesis was not ordinary but as good as a dissertation.

Back then the ambitious me was successful in my personal endeavor to contribute to knowledge. From that research I was able to write two other researchers as application studies that I presented nationally and internationally. But, here I am in a dilemma, and I am writing about so that I may be able to objectify my situation to come up with directions.

All 14 research papers I did in my PhD courses had excellent reviews. They are original, relevant, interesting, beneficial and rigorous to qualify as dissertation materials. I know I can write a dissertation. I know how to do the research. I know the processes, the methodology, the concepts and the theories. However, I am in a slump, procrastinating, waiting for a muse to inspire me, juggling old papers to start with, and reading so many things not quite that I need.

Then, I was able to put up models, build theories and devise instruments. Now, I am not even sure of a definite research topic to pursue. I guess, I got to find that scholar back in me, and it has to be pretty soon. Writing this post is just a means for me to reflect on my situation. I didn’t know how to start but I am doing now.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Generation Z


Zombies, we now have a growing generation of it. I must confess I am being zombified. This is because of the lack of sleep due to excessive waste of time online. Included in the generation are teenagers and some adults who spend extensive period at night staying online.

To my part, I begin to notice the consequence of this elective sleep deprivation. Every time that I am at work, I stammer, spell some words incorrectly, type with more errors, space out in between and forget my personal things, like that of my flash disk still plugged in my classroom workstation (lost three already). Further, I get to feel some muscle twitches, pains in the muscle around my eyes, neck pains and the sense of being afloat.

Whenever, I lack sleep, I get to drink several cups of coffee the next day, that I could smell the aroma from my pee. I get fatigue, so I get more prone to stress and anger. When I don't sleep I smoke more in my front of my desktop. Am I really working at night at my best as nocturnal?

I reason that way, that I am a night person and that nighttime is just best for me to work while others are asleep in the house so no one's going to disturb me. But, I am not really working till dawn when I am in front of the computer. I am just surfing, chatting, looking and watching. Many of the things I do with the Internet are not even important at all to my career.

Zombified online, that's what I have become. I recall the same situation even before I had Internet access when I work with the computer. It just doesn't make me sleep. Perhaps, the visual stimulation that the screen gives keeps my brain to be working that only until I have turned it off that I would feel the fatigue, in my eyes and in my body.

Before the computers some 20 years ago, I would rather sleep at 8 or 9 at night and wake up at 3 or 4 in the morning to study my lessons, review for exams and work on my assignments. With enough sleep my body is alert through out my classes and I get to see myself happier and livelier. I could not blame the power of technology as it is important to make our tasks more efficiently. I have to look into my routine with using technology.

I can not let myself and my life be ruled and ruined by my routine of staying online and depriving my self of sleep. But, this way of thinking is not commonly shared by the many younger generation nowadays. The zombie generation among the teens need some prodding from their concerned parents to guide them and to help them devise a more productive routine.

Studies show that insomnia does not come out without a cause, that it results from sleep deprivation due to other factors like stress or excessive work and others. I have several students who tell me that they could not sleep at night because they have insomnia, but then they get to sleep early in the morning for a few hours before they go to school. Insomnia is not an elective sleep disorder, it is a bodily reaction to abnormal sleeping.

Lately, I notice that my students are either hyperactive, dull, uninterested, lacking self-control, sleepy or just tired. In one of my lecture, I gave them the rule of thirds in budgeting their time, that 1/3 of their daily life or weekly life must be sent to give their body and brain some rest through sleeping 8 hours a day. I explained that sleeping that much is necessary for them.

Studies show that sleeping time need varies but the amount of healthy sleep for any person should be between 6.5 - 8 hours. Other studies also tell specific night hours for a healthy sleep, right before and after midnight, from 9 pm to 5 am. To my shock I discovered that my students are not sleeping the way they ought to because throughout the night they are online.

Being a member of their online group, I could receive popping message from several students at 2 am or 3 am, while their class the next day is at 8 am. They are online for no reason at all. They tell me that they are doing their school stuffs online. That should please me as their academic adviser, but when reports got to my hands, many of them have incomplete online activities and they don't even do well in their online exams.

I could assume that I have a Generation Z type of z-tudents, who are merely z-urfing the net for their z-elf z-atisfaction. Sadly, they are not aware of the implications of their sleep deprivation, that they don't even realize that they are walking zombies at day time. With that, no matter how active the learning experience is given them, at the little, their memory of things taught them z-imply z-lump. They may not zzzz-nor in the class, but their mind is just zapped and z-paced out that they become zoupy in when they try to think with wide eyes open.

It would hurt, that the generation Z type of students seem z-tupid that they z-leep in the class, or just z-hut their brains from working though their eyes are open. Thus, in an opportunity I had to meet with my students parents, I boldly asked them if they know what time their children sleeps. One parent said his daughter sleeps at 11 or 12 and wakes up at 5:30. That leaves the child sleeping for around 5.5 hours, 30 minutes less than the minimum healthy sleep time.

I have no idea, for how long this routine has been going on with my students. But, I just have to make a daring advise to parents to compel their children not to lock their rooms at night, and unplug the Internet connection, get their communication gadgets from their hold, simply to ensure that the students will get to sleep right. For me, I have started opening the window blinds during my class to kill the zombie out of me and my students.

Though, at my age now, I am thinking that it is a misnomer that sleep hour requirement decline as one ages. I feel I need that healthy sleep all the more. So, I'll be adjusting my routine and start sleeping 2 hours earlier before midnight and wake up before the sun rises. Well, studies also tell that those who sleep healthily live longer, happier, healthier, with higher productivity and better personality. Zzzzzzzzzzz.

Friday, July 15, 2011

How men deal with stressing problems

Psychologist, Dr. Gray, in his book Men are from Mars and women are from Venus, explains and describes the difference between men and women in dealing with stressful situations. It is fact that there is gender difference, between males and females, due to their biological and psychological make-up, and it is also influenced by one's cultural orientation. Hence, we can misread or misunderstand people depending on the context of how we are looking at them in the way they deal with stress.

A man has his way of arriving at solutions to a problem. Why men go out with their peers for a drink after work is one means of unloading stress. Another is when a man seeks solitude as to be away from anyone else, including his family, friends or loved ones. These are illustrations of the man's defense mechanism of fight and flight, which neurologist establishes to be due to the right and left brain hemispheres at work.

The fight and flight mechanism is normally observed among men as they face stressful, threatening or high risk situations. Culturally, this may vary in degrees as there are pre-existing factors in the matrix, such as beliefs and values systems that could influence one's attitude and behavior towards the problem. Like in Filipino cultural system, our faith and fatalism leads one to take even the uncalculated risk because of that "Bahala na"mentality as the last resort.

Societies have set in their culture the appropriate behavior for the sexes, but in real life people could disregard the differences between emotional states of the two gender, that one expects to see a performed behavior in ways that contradict the nature of the person. So, we feel that different way of acting as deviant, unwarranted or inappropriate, compared to the rest of the social aggregate. But, looking at the cultural difference between gender, brings a light into the understanding of our emotions and experiences.

When I was threatened to be dismissed in my previous job because of an accusation of concessions or money-making means through extortion of money, I took an immediate flight from that difficult situation.

The allegations were not true and there were no evidences at all, but because of the administration's solution to put me under preventive suspensions for the investigation (without pay!!!), I rationalized that I rather leave because there was no use of coming to work at all. But, inside me was that strong anxiety of having nothing to provide for my family, giving them shame and the fear of losing my worth and my face to my colleagues.

Right there and then, I resigned as I was summoned by the HR officer who could not give me a justifiable complaint except for that expressed suspicion from the new vice president. After which, I locked my self in the office and cried to God as I was determined to leave while I pack my things. That was me taking flight from the stressing problem, from which I got stuck at home for a quarter of a year jobless and job hunting.

Men find "alone time" comfortable, and this also illustrates the flight and fight mechanism. In my country, I could hang out with friends just to drink and have fun to de-stress. When I worked in the middle east, I find solace in staying away from my colleagues, leaving the house, sitting on a hill, or just walking in the mall and dining on my own, all "alone". While alone, my creative right brain is stimulated to give my left problem solving brain a time to think of solutions.

Alone time takes some length differently from one person to another, from days to months. But this could be shorter, if one is able to recognize the feelings from the experience, sort out the problems, unload those heavy emotional stressors to arrive at a solution. The man in his alone time or flight time is fighting the problem. Others around him, just have to understand that and never stop to make the person feel that he can always find comfort from them.

Because the man would not like to talk and express his emotions, he carries the burden that for others may seem irrational. But, that is the nature of the man. More recently, in my work I found an escape goat to be in contact with my boss by staying away from her and even ignoring her concern that we talk things out. That lasted for two months, until I realized that I have to work with her for my tenure, without any emotional bond, but merely a professional one.

A flight is also a man's way to fight the problem. It is not fight or flight, but flight and fight. The way this works vary also between men as to their introversion and extroversion tendencies. the man will not likely involve others whom he care for with his problems while he finds solutions. This we will demonstrate in his silence, sleeping time, hanging out, smoking or drinking. But, it doesn't mean he loves less the people he value, its just the way he is.

Monday, July 11, 2011

I thought I Was a Garbage Truck

I was reading a book critique written by Jinha, a Korean student in my English class. She was able to manage writing a nice critique where she was able to review, evaluate and reflect on the thoughts of her chosen self-help book. What struck me the most was how she picked great insights from the book, which she expounded.In her critique, she quoted David Pollay witty erudition on the Law of the Garbage Truck:

"Many people are like garbage trucks. they run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment. As their garbage piles up, they look for a place to dump it. And if you let them, they'll dump it on you. So when someone wants to dump on you, don't take it personally. Just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on. Believe me. You'll be happier" (Pollay, 2010, p.10).
I appreciated her work so, much that I posted the quote on my Facebook wall as stats. Striking thoughts like this, get me into thinking, and not until I flush my insights somewhere else will I be satisfied that I have been critical about my thoughts. Thus, I go back to some sort of management principles I learned from my MBA class and the school called life.

Ever heard of GIGOLOIL? That to me stands for: Garbage In, Garbage Out, Laugh Out in Life. Happiness is so abstract, yet a strong state of emotion that we all love to be feeling at all times in our lives. This principle and process spells that what we take in is also what give out. But, if we want to live a happy life, then we must decide and act for that happiness.

Attitude is key to happiness in life. Our attitude is influenced by our personal worldview or mindset that predetermines our behavior towards others and towards life. Our attitude is a spectrum, but in its ends are positive and negative thoughts and feelings that work as a push and pull for our behavior. I realized this to be true in daily living and especially in our relationships.

While I am happy with my partner, I also enjoy the time we could stay together. However, our schedules don't fit for us to spend more time. While I could cut from my appointments, my partner can't. One time, I expected we could meet, and I even planned to drop an important appointment just for that. But, uncertain that we have a chance to be with each other that day, negative thoughts crept in my mind.

I turned raging on even little things, as I felt frustrated, ignored and not valued. The best thing I could do was to sleep so those negative feelings can be repressed. I had to be still, I had to master my emotion or it will lord me. When negative thoughts like those fill me, other negative thoughts would pop in. I found my self lacking interest to complete anything that I had to do, even if it is due. All the happy thoughts we had were just like turned into something else - like garbage.

Negative thoughts, emotions, attitudes and behavior are garbage that need to be disposed. The unknowing can just throw these anywhere or to anyone. They hurt, as they contain pain, suffering, angst, fear and anger. Many find lashing and nagging others as an outlet, but that is merely dumping the garbage on others. What then happens to others is that they will just dump that on someone else. Everything else then becomes a dump site.

Good, I was quick to realize that there is something stinking inside me. I was mad without really understanding why, and I was dumping that rage on others. While, we were still exchanging sweet text messages, there were those negative thoughts lurking in my head, shooting me like snares, telling me to dump those negative thoughts right there and then. I got to be still, as we should all be in such situation.

I accepted the fact, that we might not really be able to meet that time. I kept with my routine and move on, went to the church for my service. I acknowledged my emotions, and I sorted them as to how they charge me negatively or positively. I began to thank and think of the positive things we had and my partner has brought in my life. There I realize, that there are more things I should appreciate rather than discard, and what ought to be discarded are those negative emotions I was trying to entertain.

It didn't end there, before I sleep that night, I had to list down on piece paper what I really felt that day, and process them by determining where they came from. Then, I looked at them again and thought of their implications and worth. Eventually, I arrived at practical solutions with a realization, that I was wrong to be making myself act like a garbage truck. That solution is that of a personal choice to live my life happy, laughing out in life, and seeing it more positively in the light of things.


Friday, July 8, 2011

Moving On

In moving on, the sojourner keeps in his backpack only the essentials that made his life meaningful in the past, the joys that are light, and the memoirs of happiness. With someone else, he takes the journey anew mapping out all that is good before, what is better for now and what will do best in the future. He may take the new journey with someone from his past or a new one in his present.

We are sojourners in this world. We all walk in this life for someone we love or to find someone to love. We move from one place to another. We meet people as we journey. There are those who journey alone, while others want some company. Even those who journey alone later on gets weary and finds the need for a company. The truth is, we all need someone in our sojourns.

The decision to move on is a tough one. It is difficult because we would like to linger on the past, even if it is a hurtful past. It is because that past has become our comfort zone and it is inconvenient for us to leave that past behind. In that past, there are people we loved who we learned to endure because we love them. But since, we are no longer growing with them, we feel it is better to move on in separate ways. Our desire to keep that past prevents us from moving on to another state of life.

Untying ties with people of one's past does not mean condemning them, but merely redefining our relationship with them. Our good memories with them must not be repressed by the hurts, neither should we ignore them nor regard that they never existed at all in our lives. Even those that hurt us the most, have made our lives meaningful for us to be better in the light, against their shadow character. Sure we had joys with them and happy moments to remember aswell. Like in leaving a house as guests, we have to be polite in finding our exit.

It would do the sojourner better to fit into his backpack, very few essentials, the smallest of all survival kits including a map of dreams, a small journal of good memories, a book to go by with life, a pill of courage, a bottle of passion to succeed, a cookie of openness for new experiences, a nutribar of concern to share with another, a pen filled with optimism, a light of hope, a blanket of warmth, a mobile communication to stay connected with love ones, and a huge space to pack in all other things new that can be acquired from moving on.

We can not carry luggage as we sojourn. We need to pack our things light and taking with us only the essential. The most important of which is a map of where we want to go, a map of who we are and who we want to be. So in the completion of a recent journey, we look forward to something else without losing our memory of our life before, while all the good is packed on our back. But if we carry a luggage, we can not move on and enjoy another journey.

Mapping our journey is planning for our new life. That is thinking of our present and looking forward to a future. As sojourners, we can do this with someone else, but the decision should remain ours to make. We can seek a guide whom we can ask to be with us, but if we only see a company as guide, that person can not be with us for a long time we might need them the most. A guide remains in his post for other travellers.

But if we find another sojourner along the way, who shares the same map with us, we can find the journey more enjoyable with that company. A companion in the journey must be necessary, especially if we are trekking trails that we have never been to. With that companion, we can share our fears, our sighs, our worries, and we can even lean our tired backs on each other. That companion has to be trustworthy, caring, enduring, concerned, feeling, understanding, talking and really listening.

With a companion sharing the same map, wanting the same direction, it is never an issue to get lost in the journey or to be delayed in the journey. For all we know that is what a journey is for, finding someone to enjoy where and when we find a worthy companion for each other. That in end we may not regretfully ask, "why have we been looking out for things from somewhere else, when what we really wanted and needed is right here, right now, right where we are?"

Monday, July 4, 2011

The Pathological Liar

A lie is a means of deception and a defense mechanism. There is a moral consequence to telling lies and some social repercussions. Because of the implications of lies one is pushed to do it to save face while the other is prevented from committing one, also to save face. A lie is supposed to be not of the truth, not necessarily the opposite of truth.

To keep something from being known is not telling a lie, but merely keeping something in secret. One can't force someone to tell something openly when there are concerns in divulging such information or knowledge. Telling of falsity or fabricating information are direct lies. While we have the liberty to express our ideas, we also extend the same liberty to telling lies.

Deliberate lies can become habitual lies. For a liar whose habit is speaking of falsehood, lies become their realities where they find comfort and convenience than facing the truth and speaking of truth. People of pretense are liars. Hypocrites are liars to their social nature. Liars are treacherous people and they have little regard for others than their selves whom they are never able to understand anymore.

Lying is a learned behavior that is observed in social interactions. To have sense of security and belongingness, some people resort to please others with lies. Like schmoozers who will try to please someone else in stature and with high influence to others, they can lick your ass to tell you what you want to hear and agree on everything you say. They will weave stories to tell you but never live those stories for you to really see.

Lying results from anxieties, and it goes with an immediate feeling of false certainty that it might work out. Those who suffered from alienation and exclusion tend to develop the habit of lying to appease and please others. Those who had experienced strong social rejections create a world of lies to make others believe some obscured realities. They are afraid to lose face, to be left out, to be casted out, to accept their situation and to let others accept their truths.

Lying works out on several tries, but when the other party begins to sense the inconsistencies in the weaved stories, a gap in the relationship will soon break. The farther the gap becomes, the clearer the lie is seen. Lying is also purposive, it is intentional, but it works one-way, like a win-lose situation. The liar tries to win others but in the end when the lie is brought to light, the liar loses.

Extreme lying has association to neuroticism and to some fixations. One who may be so obsessed of beauty, lies in vanity and bodifications. One who has been so obsessed of material things feels deprivation in the meager things he has, so he lies through acquisition of others'things by borrowing or stealing. One who can not acknowledge his own weakness cheats. The many social deviances or behavioral aggressions have links to lying.

There are non-verbal cues to lying, but it takes an expert in kinesics and semiotics to understand the relationship between the words and the actions' meanings. They also vary culturally. Consistency is a prime suspect to determine lies, but one should be very careful to see the erratic pattern in the stories told in various episodes of the social interaction. It probably takes the mastery of understanding social interactions and their implications to the content and context of communication to immediately detect lying.

What is immediate to common sense is that a liar is in a pathetic situation. A pathological liar who lives a world of lies is sick, socially and psychologically. Is there an over the counter drug to cure the said illness? I guess, if lies are not of the thruth, and truth is light, bringing the lie into the truth puts the liar in the light. Light heals and it does not burden. Everything that is in the light rejoices in the truth. The truth may hurt, but it never kills unlike that of the lie.

A Post for G


I do want to write about you and for you in this blog. For several times I've attempted so, but I turned out leaving the page for the post blank, if not unfinished and I had to begin again from scratch. I thought, "I was keeping this blog for various readers, and I did not start this for you". So should I be writing for you and about you?

We tick. We manage to keep on even if our working timezones are different. Your disturbing text messages put smile on my face and I get so excited to check my inbox again and again. My inbox has been filled with your messages, so I had to delete all files from the storage, but I can't erase you in my head, as my hearts speaks more of you often, and I am needing you all the more.

So short a time for us to have known each other, and I know there are many other things that we will discover together. If not for that rain, we would have not been soaked in intimate passion and we would have not been looking forward to the coming days that we will spend together, rain or shine no longer matters. Yet, we are now weaving dreams together.

You were lonely then as you told me, I was lonesome too. I have not been tired of waiting for someone I kept my heart for in the last six years. You were in love with someone else for nine years until your ways separated. Suddenly, the chemistry between us worked like potion to strike me into thinking about you. Like you, I find myself spacing out when I am not busy, merely thinking of you.

We were just so connected, then we began to be expressing how we care for each other. Like kids, we did not understand what was going on, but we just keep on going because the feeling is mutual and we reciprocate our emotional needs. We feel a sense of security and belongingness when from each other, even if we don't spend much time together. You say you are happy with me around, and I feel the same way.

We could stay together all night, not wanting tomorrow to come. We would steal a kiss as we part ways, and our hands could find their ways to hold each other tight. We tried things we've probably not done before to surprise each other. We never failed in sharing the joy we feel, even the little times we stay together.

You understood, we had so many things in common. I said, we should be complementing each other even if there were so many differences that we have. Easily, we developed that trust, respect and mutual understanding. So, you included me in your dreams you want to happen, and you became a part of my life.You said, you found a life-coach in me, while I see a life-partner in you.

Are we friends or are we lovers, to care for each other this much? Is caring for each other so different from loving each other, when we can't even define what love is? Why then do we feel a need to be together, when we have no formal arrangements of what we are? I don't understand, you can't explain it to me either.

All I know is that sometimes in life we do not have a need to understand or explain things. The best of life comes when we get to enjoy and appreciate the feeling we have for someone we care for. No one enjoys the thrills and joys of a roller coaster ride by theorizing on G-force and pneumatics to operate the machine, while on it. We just have to take the ride and so enjoy the feeling, till we are there.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Reading Well and Speaking Better

One student made me think today with a question he asked over the FB chatroom: "Is it possible that a person who speaks well is a poor reader?"

In principle, there are four components to proficient reading, vocabulary, oral language, word recognition and comprehension, as described by the American Educational Research Association (2004). Reading is a process of decoding and comprehension. Decoding is that process of articulating the sounds of words that the eyes see or that form of word recognition which leads to the understanding or comprehension of the text. Comprehension results from decoding and cognitively processing what was decoded.

Decoding a text requires a good vocabulary and a degree of mastery in the oral language. The symboling process of language operates vis-a-vis with the recognition of the signs, sounds and the object being signified by the symbols. Each letter in a word has an equivalent phone. One's understanding of the text depends on his ability to decode the text.

Though reading requires some mastery of the oral language, an adequate vocabulary and demonstrable word recognition, the most important aspect of reading is that of comprehension. Through reading our vocabulary is expanded, and so our oral language. As we get to learn new words we recognize them and they become part of our vocabulary.

Our understanding of the signification process requires us to associate it with the sound and the letters. Then our knowledge of the text content and our skills in language are enriched as we read more. Because comprehension is a sense or meaning-making process, those who are not well-read will have little to share in the discourse process.

In day to day discourses, we can differentiate a person who speaks with sense from those who just blab words and weave disconnected thoughts. That is not effective speaking. Once influence to others, by speaking, is attributed to several factors, vocal quality, non-verbal abilities and of course content. It is the latter that actually makes sense to a greater degree.

In more intelligent discussions or conversations, such as in the academe, the corporate and even in politics, sense in content and context matter so much. The vocal qualities and non-verbal abilities become essential to amplify the message of the content, than the reverse. Those who read a lot and read effectively as demonstrated in their comprehensive understanding of what they read, has more sensible things to share.

There is less likelihood for poor readers to be better speakers. But, the odds are higher that those who read effectively have richer vocabulary, expansive sense of the world and an outstanding verbal ability. Again, this also depends on the quality and type of reading material that people engage with, and so with their desire to be socially sharing their learned knowledge from reading.

One may have the most beautiful vocal timbre in the world, but without the knowledge to share and language skills needed for social interaction, the voice is useless.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Serendipity


I ran across the theory of serendipity once, pertaining to accidental finding of some valuable information in the massive archived information particularly applicable to Internet-based data. In social science research, serendipity is that phenomenon of having to obtain findings which the researcher did not intend to find.

In the randomness of things that require one to expect of a pattern, serendipity is nothing but coincidence or an accident. It is unimportant and could be misleading to that of the normative value. In life, serendipity is a sort of a happy accident. A valuable find in an un-anticipated moment which can be life changing. The consequence of which is a new relationship.

Serendipity in social relationships is that form of unexpected interaction, or a clique between individuals. Such is an awesome event for them, because there is a positive affect which becomes a wonderful memory in retrospect. Then it becomes a take off point of looking forward to meeting each other again to get to know each other better.

The affect is an important factor to consider, taking aside that the event is unexpected. There has to be a spark felt by both, but the charge of that force may differ from one another. Someone has to lead and the other needs to be open for that leading. Then, this engagement becomes a co-operation in reciprocity. There has to be an exchange, in reciprocating manner, where both are levelled.

I guess dreamed long-lasting relationships begin in that seeming fairy tale episode of serendipity. One meets someone in a place, at an event least expected. Gazing and glancing, following in sight, passing by, non-verbally expressing signs of fancy, and then finally taking a step to get closer and open up a conversation. Bling! A relationship may begin there, but a relationship is handled differently.

What one felt in that serendipitous moment becomes an anchor for future contact. When there is a mutual response to invitations for another meet up, an opportunity takes place to set the grounds of formalizing the relationship. This is not an engagement yet, but a way of fostering mutual bonds. It is also different when the physical force is so strong, that body language coincide with the expressions like "I am happy with you, here."

That expression can be really tricky, but then it can be verified by other languages. Things can be very different among adults, when they are expected to be mature enough with their expressions. Nonverbal language in haptics, occulesics, use of space and the like, they tell more of verbalized affect.

We read, that there is something going on, when two hold their hand, look at each other with twinkling eyes, end their words with smile as if it is a punctuation mark in oral conversation, kisses and walk a stretch innocently unmindful of what others would think. Ting! That is something else, which happen maybe instinctively yet unplanned.

Serendipity is not destiny, and it is not even a guarantee of a standing relationship. That unexpected moment, in the first place is made possible by decisions that precede it to put two souls in a chance of meeting one another. Whatever happens next is a shared experienced that requires both to make decisions and communicating how they feel about those and about their relationship.

In that happy accident, the two never exactly knew each other, as to how they differ, but they get in sync. That happy accident and the affect that goes with it did not need a resume or a list of common interest, but it ticks. So, to stretch that happy event further, knowledge of commonalities and differences must be about how to complement each other in their strengths and weaknesses.

Serendipity is an accident that no insurance covers. The rest of it is a work in process, an investment that is worthwhile yet has no tag in it.

Cno po u, Dok Pepe? How old na u?


Mayroon akong suhetibong pananaw sa pagkabayani ni Gat. Jose Rizal, ngunit buong puso ko ring tinatanaw and kanyang kabayanihan.

Di ako avid fan ni Jose Rizal. Una, dahil ang pagdakila sa kanya bilang Pambansang Bayani ay may bahid ng kolonyal na oryentasyong pinilit ng mga Amerikano upang mapahupa ang anumang rebolosyunaryong pagkilos na sadyang hahadlang sa politikal na layunin ng pananakop ng Estados Unidos sa Pilipinas. Pangalawa, may pagkarepormista ang trip niya at dahil doon sabi ng iba nais niyang magpatuloy ang Espanya sa pagsakop ng Pilipinas bilang isang probinsiya.

Ngunit bayani ko pa rin si Dok Pepe. Sa pabula niyang "Ang Matsing at ang Pagong" natutunan ko ang kahalagahan ng pagsisikap at matalas na pag-iisip. Sa kuwento niya tungkol sa "Gamugamo at ang Ilawan", nabatid ko na tayo ay may mga nais sa buhay, na gugustuhin nating marating, kahit ano pa ang panganib.

Sa paglaon, sinariwa ng kanyang mga nobelang, Noli at Fili ang pagsisikap ng mga Filipino para sa Kalayaan. At ang iba pa niyang mga akda, tula, sulat at likha na nagpapakita ng kanyang pagmamahal sa bayan at sa kanyang natataning talino, para sa akin siya ay isang henyo.

Palikero iyan si Dok, sa lahat ng bansang napuntahan niya maraming mga babaeng napalapit sa kanyang puso. Gayundin, ang kanyang pagmamahal sa karunungan na matuto ng iba't ibang wika at maibahagi ang kulturang Pilipino sa lahat ng sulok ng mundo. Hindi nga lang lokal iyan si Dok, isa siyang global na Filipino. Pero sa huli, si Josephine lang daw ang minahal niya. Kontradiksyon ano, kasi hindi purong Filipina ang hilig niya.

Kung tutuusin, maraming mga magandang bagay ang makikita sa pagkatao, talento, wika, kaisipan at gawa ni Rizal. Kaya naman lahat ng Pilipino sa kanilang edukasyon ay dapat makilala siya ng lubusan. Makata, nobelista, skultor, kartonista, doktor, siyentipiko, lingwist, sosyolohiko, enhinyero, peryodista at marami pang iba. Sino sa mga bayaning Pilipino ang may higit na katangian sa kanya.

Dangan nga lamang katulad din ng iba, siya rin ay may mga kahinaan. Ngunit, dahil ang kanyang pilosopiya sa buhay at ang kanyang pagmamahal sa bayan ay humantong sa pagbubuwis ng sarili niyang buhay, ito ang rurok ng kanyang kabayanihan. Katulad rin ng mga rebolusyanaryong pinakipagsapalaran ang kanilang buhay sa laban, hinarap rin ni Rizal ang kamatayan sa gatilyo ng mga konkistador.

Dok Pepe, para sa akin isa kang Bayani! Wat-eber. Dahil ang mga aral sa buhay at gawa mo, ay nagpapatuloy na may kahulugan bilang haligi ng sambayanang Pilipino. Hapi bertday dok! Woooh! 150 years ka na, kaya party party na!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Winner-Loser Mindset



Student: "A bully is someone who does mean things to losers..."

After everything was said...

Teacher: "If a bully is someone who does mean things to losers, then the victims are losers -- what for you are bullies? Are they winners?

Student: (Long pause... thinking... thinking. Eureka!) "They are not winners."

Teacher: "If they are not winners, what are they?"

Student: Long pause... thinking... thinking. Eureka! "Yeah, they are not winners, the victims are the losers, because they are bullied."

Dejavu ...

Teacher: "You said, the victims are losers, my question is what are the bullies? Are they winners?"

Student: Short pause. "I already said they are not winners!"

Teacher: "If they are not winners, what are they?"

Student: "It is those bullied who are losers, and I am not saying bullies are winners."

Threapeat:

Teacher: "If bullies are not winners, what are they? Have you ever been bullied?"

Student: "No."

Teacher: :"Listen, young man. You have not answered my question. Until you have given me the right answer, we will be repeating, repeating, and repeating this all over again... Again, until you have given me the right answer, we will be repeating, repeating, and repeating this all over again. Again, until you have given me the right answer, we will be repeating, repeating, and repeating this all over again."

Noise rises in the classrom, cajoling the young man in front. The teacher asked the student to pull a chair and sit more comfortably.

Teacher: "Can I ask you a question? You may choose not to answer, but first can I ask you a question."

Student: "Yes, sir."

Teacher: "You have never been bullied, you said, how do you feel about your self. Are you a winner?"

Student: (Confronted). "I am not winner, but... I ... am... not also a loser. I... I... am someone in between?"

Noise again in the classroom. Students chattering, howling, cheering. Like as if the student gave a good answer. The teacher raised his voice to fill the room and reprimanded the class that no other comment is necessary. It was stressed that anyone who would speak, aside from the speaker and the teacher will be sent out to the Discipline Office.

Silence for a few moments...

Teacher: "Everybody listen to this, 'whatever is in your language, or whatever you say tells something about you, the one inside you, the real you in there. What you say is what you think and feel, and what you think and feel says something about you - your self."

Silence for a while, and then some students began to talk with their seatmates. The teacher again reprimanded the class about the rule of engagement. Silence continued, the rest of the class merely became attentive audience. The teacher ask the same repeated question.

Student: "I am not that, if you are thinking I am like that! I am not..."

Teacher: "What that?" What is that 'that'".

Student:"Okey, the bully is not a winner..."

Teacher: "So what is the bully, then? You said, you are not a loser and you are not a winner, you are something in between. You said, the bully is not the winner, and the victim is the loser. So where do you place the bullies?"

Student: "I am in between, but I am not that"

Teacher: "Again, what that?"

Student: "I am not a bully!"

Teacher: "I never said you are. So, what is a bully, if you are not one?"

Student: "A bully is a loser."

The pendulum of winner-loser mindset just swing right there. The teacher thanked the young student, and asked the rest of the class to give their classmate a round of applause. The teacher left some more thoughts to the students that made some of them talk about what a bullied victim feels and suggested practical insights on how they should treat each other in the classroom.

Class dismissed.