IF I CAN help it, I would like to limit my speaking engagements during this visit to just two.
Which means, I have already reached my quota.
On my first Saturday in the country, I talked to teachers and students at La Consolacion College in Bacolod.
On my second Saturday, I talked to teachers and students at Passi National High School.
“The Shaping of the World” Bacolod workshop on Oct. 5 was more creative writing workshop than anything.
Attended by close to 200 students and teachers, it was an activity for students taking up a course on Literature and Society.
The student participants were expected to come up with literary outputs, and my role was to open their eyes to the possibilities of the writing discipline in the new millennium.
I suggested to the organizers that they invite the teachers requiring these output.
It was important for me to get both the teachers and the students on the same page.
If the required output is a short story, I wanted the teachers to understand that it is okay to require flash fiction, or micro fiction of 350 words maximum.
350 words can fit on one page.
Instead of writing pages and pages of crap, I wanted the students to spend more time on polishing their short work.
I wanted quality of writing more than quantity of words and sentences.
I also wanted the teachers to understand that it is punishment on their part to read badly written long submissions.
I made them understand that creative writing is not about the length or the size of the boat; it’s about the waves that rock the ocean.
But most of all, I made the teachers agree with me that they can judge the written work by its first sentence.
That they can judge the student’s capacity by their work in 350 words or less.
Because I sensed that some teachers were initially resistant to the idea of short works, I told them that they should not work so hard correcting students’ output.
That they’re measly paid to do such a big job.
That they should focus on their love life instead.
Or sex life, if they have it.
The Passi lecture on Oct. 12 was called “Games Learners Play: Language and Literature Teaching Strategies with Peter Solis Nery”.
Because there were the sports clinic and Science olympics in the Passi Division of the DepEd on the same date, only 90 plus participants were able to attend my talk.
I became more determined to punish those who didn’t choose me over these to other events.
Of course, I accomplished my goal with flying colors.
Two days after the Passi lecture, the teachers are still talking about my talk which became life changing for most.
In truth, I planned it to be treated as an In-service Training for educators.
I only accommodated the request of students to join the seminar because they are big fans who knew me from their study of the course 21st Century Literature from the Regions of the Philippines and the World.
And they just wanted writing tips to become gods literary writers.
The biggest message of my talk was Find Your Own Happiness.
To get there, I had to start with a paradigm shift for teachers.
My goal was simple: To make them understand that teaching is not the noblest profession.
Not even a noble profession.
I won’t go to the details for now (that’s why people have to pay to hear me), but suffice it to say that at the end of my talk, the teachers happily claim that they, too, are prostitutes.
The teachers love me for my colorful language and brutal honesty.
From the looks of it, if you troll me a bit on Facebook right after the Passi talk, they have never met anyone as unapologetic and unfiltered as I was.
I was uncompromising, and I was brilliant.
My talk was a laugh per minute.
But everyone felt my genuine love for teachers, and my big distaste for stupid DepEd guidelines.
Teachers adored me because I am a no-nonsense speaker.
And however crazy they first seem, my suggestions and strategies were always spot on.
My observations are astute, and my recommendations are creative and original.
Most of all, teachers recognize that I only mean to help them live better lives.
In fact, this early, they are calling me their “Savior from DepEd misery.”
Which brings me to my Facebook posts about educators and education.
This note to DepEd resource speakers:
“Do not pretend that you know better than a classroom teacher.
You only have a PhD (if at all).
A teacher suffers the classroom.
A teacher works the class.
The dumbest teacher knows more than you.
The teacher only wants you to be Real.”
And this post on how teachers, students, and I think DepEd is lost in the past century, past millennium:
“Again and again, I give the best In-Service Trainings to teachers because I know where the teachers are coming from.
Where the students are coming from.
And together, we agree we don’t know where DepEd is coming from.
And we have a vision where DepEd should go.”
It is not for nothing that students and teachers call me a visioNERY.
The savior of the f*cked up educational system.
But of course, we all realize that I need a bigger ground than just a lecture hall to stand on.
And still, we hope. ([email protected]/PN)