Reuniting Alumni/Friends through an Alumni Theater Organization for UA&P

UA&P’s theater culture has shown to bring back alumni.

  1. UA&P has a very active theater culture based on the presence of two student theater organizations (Dulaang ROC and ViARE) and OSA-Kultura Desk.
  2. These groups produce at least five plays a year, sometimes reaching as many as nine or ten.
  3. In recent years, alumni have been participating regularly in these plays, not just to act, but to also direct plays, produce scripts, and even manage the stage.
  4. Alumni participation in theater is most likely because of the love for the craft.
    1. This includes alumni who also perform professionally.
    2. Most, if not all, are doing this without the theater organizations having to pay them.
    3. Alumni participation has also brought back other alumni as audiences.


However, the potential of returning alumni has not been optimized.

  1. Alumni are dependent on the project calendars of Dulaang ROC, ViARE, and Kultura.
  2. Their participation is limited to the roles what Dulaang ROC, ViARE and Kultura offers them.
  3. The participation allowed to the alumni in a theater organization project is severely, but necessarily, constrained.
    1. The experience the alumni have gained in their time as students is more likely to be more than what students can gain within their first three years in UA&P.
    2. This experience is not fully tapped if it merely supplements Dulaang ROC and ViARE.
    3. However, no project of Dulaang ROC or ViARE can be purely alumni; it would otherwise defeat the purpose of a student organization.


Proposed solution

  1. To optimize the presence of the alumni in the UA&P theater scene, the alumni can be mobilized to form their own Alumni Theater Organization.
  2. With an Alumni Theater Organization, the alumni will be able to build their own committees for better facilitation.
    1. Considering that there are alumni coming from different generations, a core committee can be formed as the focal point of the alumni.
    2. While the core committee can initiate annual events for the Alumni Theater Organization, they can also accept projects initiated by different groups of alumni.
    3. The core committee of the Alumni Theater Organization can facilitate the traffic of incoming projects and announce to other alumni the upcoming projects and events.
    4. The core committee can be the alumni’s link to the Secretariat, Networking, and Audience Development committees
    5. The core committee can also provide the alumni access to the script archives and the directory for alumni directors, actors, stage managers, etc.
  3. Expand their participation in the UA&P theater scene.
    1. The alumni can participate in the Alumni Theater Organization’s annual events.
    2. The alumni can contribute scripts for the Theater Archives.
    3. The alumni can initiate projects through the core committee.
    4. The alumni can participate in projects proposed by other alumni.
  4. Build their calendar of activities.
    1. The Alumni Theater Organization can have a regular set of events yearly.
    2. The alumni can contribute scripts for the Theater Archives.
    3. Aside from the yearly events, the alumni can initiate projects within the year so long as it can fit the calendar.
  5. An Alumni Theater Organization can utilize their experience as students and beyond.
    1. The alumni have a greater financial capacity than the students, allowing for bigger projects and even honorariums for certain participants.
    2. The alumni, given their experience in UA&P, are more likely in exercising maturity in balancing theater and their work
    3. The alumni can use their professional know-how in implementing theater projects
    4. The alumni are not limited to merely holding projects within UA&P grounds
    5. With these advantages, an Alumni Theater Organization may even be able to go so far as providing UA&P with an actual theater within five to ten years.
  6. An Alumni Theater Organization will also be beneficial to UA&P culture.
    1. In general, the theater projects of the Alumni Theater Organization can be an occasion to invite other alumni back, both as participants and audiences.
    2. It expands UA&P’s contacts and connections that the participating alumni already have.
    3. It supplements Kultura’s goal to make UA&P the cultural center of Ortigas/Pasig.
    4. It gives members of Dulaang ROC and ViARE something to aim for after graduation.
    5. Later on, it can guide Dulaang ROC and ViARE with consultations and workshops.

I haven’t posted the Mission, Goals, and Targets yet because copy-pasting the chart here was a fail.  I’ll probably reformat it before posting.

In the meantime, we still need:

To identify the committees.

            Marketing- to promote projects

            Contacting- to gather alumni for the project

            Archives/Database- to gather past materials, alumni profiles

            Secretariat- to conduct the traffic of events, logistics

            Screening- to monitor and keep tabs with the proposed/ongoing projects.

 To identify the positions and responsibilities needed to keep the alumni theater org running.


            Core Committee

To identify the people willing to fill in for the positions even temporarily.

To develop SOPs for proposing and implementing projects.

To develop an incentive system for the alumni.


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Should Students Be Grateful to their Teachers?

No.  “Should” is too strong a word.

What am I saying?  Don’t I want my students to be grateful for imparting my hard-earned knowledge to them?  Did I not slave long hours preparing those lessons?  Did I not exercise superhuman endurance in reading through their essays filled with grammatical and reasoning errors?  Did I not exercise saintly patience in dealing with their misdemeanors in class?

Despite of all these, we cannot demand students to be grateful. 

By doing what we do, we are not doing the students a favor.  We are only doing what is expected of us.  We are supposed to look at their papers.  We are supposed to prepare our lessons.  We are supposed to impart our hard-earned knowledge to them. 

We want rewards for what we do?  That’s why the school pays us.  That’s why the parents of our students pay the school.  We have already been rewarded.  And the students, they are at the receiving end of the service.  Our time in their class has already been paid for.  Why do we demand more from them when they’ve already paid?

As for their shenanigans, it is part of the occupational hazard. 

It is ridiculous for a boxer to complain that his opponent keeps punching him.  So, too, with us.  It is ridiculous for us to complain on the profile of our students.

Sure, we can rant and let out our frustrations.  But we should not complain.  We have been students once.  When we decided to be teachers, we knew what we were entering into.

Should students be grateful to their teachers?  My answer is still no.

But it would be so nice if they are. 

If the students, parents, do express their gratitude to the service I rendered, I wouldn’t avoid it.  But the implication is also clear.  If we teachers want a bit of gratitude, we have to earn it.

We have to go beyond the demands of us as teachers.  When we accomodate our students in non-academic matters.  When we learn and appreciate their interests.  When we encourage them to pursue their dreams.  When we are grateful for what we learn from them.

Should teachers want gratitude from their students?  Admittedly, I crave for that.

But I know I won’t get it just by doing what I’m supposed to do.

Posted in Education | 7 Comments

How a Teacher Should Assess

I have been under the impression that many times, a student is wary with the teacher because of the teacher’s ability to dictate the grades.  However, I believe that the grades the teacher gives the students reflects the teacher’s abilities as well.

Grades, of course, can be cheated, even by the teacher.  And I am sure that students are very aware of it as well.  That is why students are wary of their teachers.  Of course, we teachers can always claim that we would never do that, that we are always fair.

But just because we say that we are fair, it doesn’t mean we are.

I’ve noticed that a lot of us teachers fear of being accused of milling diplomas.  That is, giving too many students high grades.  I remember being told that the grades of a class have to form a bell curve: a low grades, a few high grades, and a lot in between.

Does that sound fair?  The bell curve usually happens.  But it’s a pattern, not a rule.

What really disturbs me is that some of us teachers have more of a bias towards giving low grades than giving high.  “I only give a 1.0 to the few deserving.”  “1.0 is perfect and nobody is perfect.”  “I will only give you a 1.0 if you can write a paper better than mine.”  Actual quotes from self-proclaimed teachers.

And why is it, also, that a teacher is questioned more when he gives many students high grades, as compared to a teacher who fails many of his students?  I think a simple fact is greatly overlooked: that the fate of both students and teachers are intertwined.

A student’s failing mark or low grade reflects not only the student’s performance in the class.  It also reflects the teacher’s failure to connect with that student.  It would be understandable if only 2 or 3 students fail in a class of 25 to 30.  But what if it is one third of the class?  Or one half?

However, it seems that more teachers are disturbed if two-thirds of their class gets a line of 1 than if two-thirds fail.

I remember of a random story of a class wherein everyone except one student drops the subject.  And the one student that decided to stay fails the class at the end of the semester.  It is possible, and even likely, that the students had shortcomings.  But is this scenario something a teacher should be proud of? 

Clearly, the teacher failed to connect to the class.  And in matters of connecting, in matters of education, the burden of bridging the gap is on the teacher. 

Because the teacher is supposed to be more mature than the students.  Because the teacher is supposed to know more about the subject than the students.  Because the teacher was paid to develop those students.

Many times, I look at education as a business, simply because it is.  And in this case, education is a very strange business; the service provider can fail to deliver the service to the beneficiary and charge more from the customer after.

There is, of course, the opposite extreme.  I have also experienced seeing education as a scam.  A teacher can easily do nothing in class, except probably just joke around, and then at the end of the semester, give the students relatively high grades.  The students will not complain because they had a fun time (and they passed), the parents will not complain because their children passed, and the teacher’s colleagues and bosses will not complain because the teacher had a bell-curve result. 

If there are no complaints, the teacher probably did a good job.  Truthfully, there are some schools out there that do that practice.

But that is just a way of getting around the negative symptoms.  The sickness, with symptoms or without, remains.

What, then, is necessary?  It is clear that the grades can be used both for blackmailing and bribing.  How do we go around it?

The solution I propose is absolute transparency on the part of the teacher.

It is risky, uncomfortable, and definitely not easy.  But the results, I believe, are worth it.  If the teacher uses the 1.0-3.5 system, a teacher has to justify why it is a 2.0, not a 1.75 or a 2.25.  If the teacher uses the letter system, the teacher has to justify why it is a B, not a B+ or a B-.  It is even more challenging if the teacher uses a 100 point system; the teacher has to account for every point.

The teacher has to first exercise transparency with the students.  If the teacher gives the critera of what a flat 1.0 is, not just that it is “deserved” or “better” than the teachers’ work, then that it is the first step.  The criteria for grading should sound like a SMART Goal: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound.

I had a teacher before who applied that to his class.  I got the impression that to be able to get the highest possible grade in his class, I had to make sure that my paper had 1) enough data to support my claims; 2) claims that were logically sound; 3) insight that did not parrot my teacher’s thoughts, logically sound and relevant; 4) neat; and 5) submitted on time.  The last two details had to do with professionalism.

Every time he returned to us our papers, he would give the breakdown of our grade.  I never got a 1.0 in his class, but I did not complain with what I got.  I learned from the grade I got that I still lacked a lot of maturity.

This is something I ended up using in my classes as well.

This way, the student knows what I want him/her to learn.  Those who are serious about their learning, aim for that 1.o.  Those who are just content to just pass, just pass.  And those who have no interest in learning, they got what they worked for.

In the end, transparency is the teacher’s best defense in assessment, a student, a parent, even a colleague or boss, will have a hard time arguing in a systematic form of grading.  A student cannot accuse the teacher of inventing the grade, nor can a colleague or boss accuse the teacher of being a diploma mill.  Also, this diffuses the students’ wariness on a teacher.

Of course, this is just assessment.  The teacher’s method of teaching is the other half of the equation.

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8 Books that Changed my Life between 2000-2010

Nerd as I am, I’d like to apply to books what we do with movies.  Besides, “You are what you read.”  Then again, you are what, with a lot of things, so, whatever.

Since I think that I get to read more than watch, I am going to limit myself with the books that I encountered between 2000 and 2010.

Even that, I have to filter through.

8. “The Chocolate War” by Robert Cormier

This book was depressing as… well… This book does the opposite of what chocolate does to you.

I always wanted to write a “Lord of the Flies” kind of story set in a school.  Robert Cormier beat me to it.

At least I was able to adapt it into a stageplay for our school theater org, back in 2003.  That was the first play I got staged for a (relatively) big crowd.

It also got me back to writing, as I had sworn it off back in 2000. 

Thank you, Cormier.  May you rest in peace.

7. “Green Eggs and Ham” by Dr. Seuss

It could have been any Dr. Seuss book.  But “Green Eggs and Ham” consists of only monosyllabic words except for “anywhere”. 

Now that is mastery of the language.

And for the longest time, I have been trying to get to that level of Dr. Seuss:

To be able to use very simple language in delivering excitement.

Tall order.

6.  “A Grief Observed” and “The Four Loves” by C.S. Lewis

Yep, I’m more of a C.S. Lewis fan than J.R.R. Tolkien, although I admit that Middle Earth is more epic than Narnia.   However, I’m more interested in Lewis’ nonfiction. 

“A Grief Observed” is Lewis’ journal as he tried to cope with the death of his wife.  Depressing, sure.  But the way he goes through it and learns how to deal with it changed how I view suffering.

I have recommended this to grieving friends since.

5.  Treatise on the Love of God by St. Francis de Sales

I will have to admit, though, that I never got past the first chapter.  Francis de Sales, though had a very interesting take on discussing Love and Hate, part of the segment he calls the Twelve Movements of Passion.  He describes Love as recognition of the good, and the other movements of passion are dependent on our relation with the good.  If we don’t have it we desire it, if we have it we’re happy, if we think we can have it we hope, if we think that we can’t we despair, etc.

Helpful in life.  Helpful also with regard to writing.

Incidentally, Francis de Sales is also the patron saint of writers.  Bless him.

4. Write to Sell by Andy Maslen

I’ve read a lot of how-to-write books, and a lot of them are helpful.  So what makes this book different?  This book introduced me to Plain English.  Now I don’t have to be too dependent on sample readers to make sure that my work is readable.  This was a step closer to my Seuss ambition.

This book also helped me optimize my use of Microsoft Word.  I finally understand what Flesch Reading Ease and Flesch-Kincaid Grade level mean.  Also, how to get good scores for both.  Also made me appreciate Microsoft Word thesaurus. 

After more than a decade of writing.

3. People and Performance by Peter F. Drucker

What would a business/management illiterate like me want with this book?  Honestly, I only read two or three articles from this.  “How to be an Employee”, “What is a Business?”  and the third one, I forgot.

But the articles I did read were important.  Not only did it affirm my role as a writer, but also as a teacher, and how to develop my lessons so I can develop my students.  If there’s anyone who appreciates the way I teach and write, part of the secret is in that book.

I’ve recommended this to a lot of my friends and students.

2. Personal by Rene O. Villanueva

If there is any local writer I want to be, it would be Rene O. Villanueva.  (Or Joem Antonio, but that would be vain.)  His choice of topics and simplicity of language is mindblowing.  Very vivid, down to the place where he lives, how he engages in fistfights, the guilt he feels when he buys porn, even down to the glistening of the lechon’s back.


That’s how I want to write.  It also helps that Rene O. Villanueva is a childhood hero for his great job with Batibot.

Rest in Peace, great man!

1. Ang Ampalaya sa Pinggan ni Peeop by Joachim Antonio

And speaking of vanity….

Seriously speaking, though, this is deservedly on the top of my list.  Not because it’s better than any of the books mentioned above (it’s not.)  Not because it is more profound than any of the books above (it’s not that either.)

It does change my life simply because after this book got published, I can finally (and honestly) say that I am an author.

That, if for nothing else.

That’s about it.  I wonder what other lists people would have with regard to books.

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The start of my week sucked.

I was made to wait for a confirmation for my Compre. Again.

At least I had something to look forward to last Saturday, September 18.

KUTING, Kwentista ng mga Tsikiting, held an orientation seminar for aspiring members. For those who haven’t heard of KUTING, (I suppose a lot, since I geek out extremely in this area) this is a Non-profit org of Filipino writers dedicated in developing literature for people 18 years old and below.

Suffice to say, this is my type of crowd. Ever since I first heard of them in 2006, I wanted to join their group. Four years later, here’s my chance.

Three weeks ago.

I read that they were opening up for new members. All I had to do was to prepare four copies of a sample work, two copies of my CV and two 2X2 ID pictures in a long brown envelope.

Two weeks ago.

My submission requirements were ready. All I needed to do now was go to the orientation on September 18, 2010, Saturday. 12-3pm in UP.

September 15.

Philippine National Bookfair begins. My Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday are completely booked. I will miss the Bookfair this year. Won’t be the first time.

September 18.

Had to help out in Parent’s Colloquum. finished 11:30. Got a taxi by 11:40.

Then I discover Katipunan in heavy traffic. Oh, ya. It’s the ACET. The taxi driver looks for other ways to get to UP, but all of them, traffic.

I keep chanting to myself, “A wizard is never late. He arrives precisely when he means to.”

I arrive 1:15. An hour and 15 minutes late. I run to the building.

“The orientation started ten minutes ago.”

Hooray! Lucky.

I submit my requirements only to be given new ones.

P150 registration fee. And a new Bio-Data.

On the Bio-Data are three questions:

1. Why do you want to join KUTING?

2. What have you already published?

3. What are your 10 favorite children’s books?

I will answer these in another blog another time.

The orientation begins. History of KUTING. You can visit their website for the whole story. All I can say, briefly, is that they started around 1997. By 2010, they have 35 members. All of them have day jobs. BODEGA still has a long way to go, I tell myself.

All of a sudden, they announce: “Okay, now, we’ll be giving you a written exam. You have one hour to finish.”

Whoa! I never knew that there would be a written exam. But the exam itself was fun.

“Write a story for Filipino Children Aged 7-12 with one of the two options:

1. The story has to involve a boy, a lighthouse, and a blue light.

2. The story has to have one character say, “we will need five caterpillars to do the job for us.”

The story must contain a beginning, a middle, and an end. You may write in English or Filipino.”

One hour to write a story from scratch. It was 2pm and I haven’t had lunch yet. I set the timer on my watch: 45 minutes. I begin to write.

(I chose the second option. What my story is, though, will be another blog entry.)

To make things worse, the KUTING members were kind enough to bring us spaghetti and coke for snacks.

Dilemma: If I ate, that would eat time from writing. But I haven’t had lunch yet. Would I think of something decent with an empty stomach?

Solution: Never before had I to depend on the Inkblot Method (Shameless Plug!) Saved my life. Sticking to the ACE principles, I set down to Pre-Writing Phase. Who would need caterpillars? What were the caterpillars supposed to do?

Once done with the Pre-Writing, I finally ate my spaghetti. My excuse: aesthetic distance. My seatmate probably got scandalized when I finished my spaghetti in just four forkfuls. My coke went down like liquid through a syringe.

I looked at my timer: 20 minutes left. I took too long eating.

I wrote. My outline was there. Everything went down like clockwork. I was in the Writing Phase.

My timer suddenly went off. Already? I ran out of time!

Then I remembered that I set my timer for 45 minutes. 15 minutes to go.

I write my last two paragraphs.


When the KUTING Members announced that the time was up, I passed my three-page paper.

I remembered one of the greatest cures against writer’s block. Time Pressure through Deadlines. I’ll probably apply that in the next Inkblot session (Another shameless plug).

KUTING Members then announced that they will only be able to take in a maximum of 20 Probees from the applicants. Given their resources, any number beyond 20 would give them difficulty in developing the Probees.

They would announce who made it on October 9.

Hopefully I make it in. Then the next four months of Kuting Training would start. Oorah!

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The Caterpillar Hedge

         A prince travelled back to his kingdom with his servant only to find the kingdom surrounded by a an overgrown hedge.  The prince drew his sword to cut through the hedge.  But when his sword touched the hedge, it rusted immediately and fell as red dust.  His servant lighted a torch to burn the hedge down.  But when the fire touched the hedge, the torch blew out in his hand.

       As the prince and his servant thought of what to do, they heard a cackle from behind them.  An imp had been watching their efforts to get through the hedge.

     “It is no ordinary hedge,” the imp said.  “This is known as the Caterpillar Hedge.  Only caterpillars can touch it and survive.”

      The prince and his servant ran around to look for caterpillars.  When they gathered a lot, they sent the caterpillars loose on the hedge.  But the moment the caterpillars bit at the leaves, they turned into butterflies.

     “This will take forever,” the prince wailed.

     “I can help you,” the imp said.  “But there will be a price.”

      “Leave it to me,” said the servant.  “This is no ordinary imp.  Look at his clover feet.  He’s the Devil.”

      “What should I do then?” asked the prince.

      “Find me five caterpillars,” answered the servant.  “We need five caterpillars to do the job for us.”

       So the prince and his servant searched for five caterpillars.  When they found them, the servant brought the five caterpillars to the imp.

       “I want you to make these five caterpillars my fingers,” said the servant.

       “What shall I get in return?”

       “You can take the first live things I see beyond the hedge.”

       With a loud clap, the imp suddenly vanished and the servant found himself with caterpillar fingers in his right hand.

      The servant wasted no time and had his right hand go to work.  Since his fingers were caterpillars, they could touch the hedge, even eat it.  And since the caterpillars were his fingers, they could not turn into butterflies.

      Nonetheless, it was still hard work.  It took the servant a whole day to have his fingers eat through the hedge.  By the time he finished making a path through the hedge, he sat down and rested.

      Soon enough, a well-dressed gentleman approached him.  But the servant was not fooled.  The gentleman had clover feet.  It was the Devil in another form.

      “So,” said the Devil.  “Now for your part of the bargain.  What do you have for me?”

      “You can take these caterpillars and your hedge back,” said the servant.

       The Devil screeched before he vanished with a bright flash.  The servant turned around and saw that the Caterpillar Hedge was gone.  His hand also turned to normal.

       So the prince and his servant were able to go back to their kingdom, where the prince rewarded his servant for his courage, wit, and loyalty.

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Jebadiah Starts Blogging

Yes, I am.

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