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This is the blog of Ian Rosales Casocot. Filipino writer. Sometime academic. Former backpacker. Twink bait. Hamster lover.

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Friday, August 15, 2008

entry arrow6:36 PM | Billiard Balls

Tell me if I'm a monster. In my research writing class, I'm especially hard on College of Education students. Our future teachers. I call so much attention on work they submit that contains sloppy research or, worse, an avalanche of grammatical errors. Today, for example, I wrote in the margins of one paper submitted to me by a sophomore enrolled in Secondary Education: "I have to be harder on you and your partner. Because I cannot envision you teaching kids in the future with this kind of sloppy writing." Once, many years ago, I had another Education student who was majoring in English -- can you imagine that?. She was one of those kikay types. Her grammar was so bad her papers gave me endless headaches. Paper after paper I would tell her to do something about it -- and I would often green-mark her papers to such a degree that I couldn't even see the original composition beneath all the corrections in green ink. But she never improved. She would just stare vacantly at me, and go back to her kikay barkada after class ended. So I told her one day, "I'm not sure you should be a teacher. Maybe you should shift to another course. I can only pity the students you may have to teach in the future." Ouch. I don't really know what happened to her after graduation. I kinda feel guilty about what I said -- but I was getting frustrated, and I saw myself as some sort of gatekeeper to education. See, we all keep complaining about the kind of education system we have here in the Philippines, and yet we keep allowing mediocrity to get past our levels of standards, so I decided to be tough in my own little way. I didn't care at all if students would label me as a "terror" teacher. God knows I tried hard to teach that girl something. But I remember what Paul Engle once told Edith Tiempo: "Even the best teacher can't make hair grow on a billiard ball." I don't think I'm the best teacher there is -- God knows how faulty I can be -- but that girl definitely was a billiard ball.

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