November: The Month of Firsts
This month is full of activities dedicated to giving back to the community. As usual, I continue volunteering at Westmoor High, tutoring at the Tutorial Learning Center and participating in FSU activities. I admit that I did not tour around for this month because I have been saving a lot for our December trip. This month I experienced a lot of activities new to me like Bowling and Skating. I realized that I only have one life so I must push myself and challenge myself into trying something I haven’t done before.
Challenges and Choices
Class success. I delivered my final speech on December 01, 2015 during my public speaking class. My topic was “Mindfulness Meditation” and the pattern I used was topical. As usual, most of the students told me that they became persuaded to meditate because of my speech. During the first part of my speech, I conducted a guided meditation for them. Ms. Hurless told me that it was the first time she gave a perfect score in the delivery part. However, I only received 188/200 because the pattern I utilized did not match the purpose of my speech. Because it was persuasive, I should have used the Cause-Effect pattern. It was disappointing because I could have gotten a perfect score. Although a public speaker, I discovered after my final speech that I am unwilling at times to challenge myself. The topical pattern was so easy to me that I feared using another pattern which eventually caused a low score in the arrangement criterion of the speech. I realize that I should go out my comfort zones because this will develop me in the long run. Because of my love for speech, I’ll be taking Intercultural Communication and Small Group Communication next Spring semester under different professors. The reason is that studying under new professors would give me more teaching strategies and insights.
Fulbright Speaker/Researcher. This month I found out that I was chosen along with Sir Jan Guira to be one of the 24 speakers for the Fulbright conference in DC.
Six Thinking Hats. On November 11, I was privileged again to teach Literature at Ms. Erpelo’s English 846 class. It is a strategy usually done during problem solving cases where each person has a particular task during discussion. Since the purpose was to use it in the discussion of Pati Poblete’s Memoir, I revised the tasks for each hat. For the activity, the class was divided into six groups. There were six colored hats. Each group was tasked to focus only on the questions assigned to their designated hat. The white hat describes the characters and the settings, the yellow hat narrates the events in the chapter, the red had shares emotions experienced by characters and the readers, the blue hat pays attention to cultural symbols and their bearings in the chapter, the green hat shares personal experience related to the chapter and lastly the black hat culminates by asking three discussion questions to further understand the chapter. Since there were three chapters, every after discussion, the hats were also exchanged to allow other groups to try discussing other aspects of a chapter. According to students, it enabled them to understand each chapter better as all aspects were covered in the discussion.
Legends Workshop. On the same day, I conducted a Legends workshops at the Tutorial learning center where 10 Filipino students attended, which was already a good number based on the attendance of students coming in other workshops. In the workshop, because I was only given an hour, I discussed four legends: Legends of Banana, Dog, Pineapple and Bamboo and explained their cultural bearings. The workshop began with an “arrange the plot” strategy where a pair was given a specific legend that they need to discuss. After the legends, I proceeded on sharing the demonological creatures of the Philippines which they really enjoyed because all of them grew up in the US. By just doing the workshop, I also realized how rich our culture is and how fortunate I am to consider these creatures as everyday back in our province. To them they were like mythical creatures comparable with the centaurs or the unicorns but to me and my province, they are considered real. In fact, most of these creatures “seemed” present in my house in South Cotabato.
Bowling Night. To cap off the fall Kapatiran program, on November 25, the mentors had a semester check in at school before bowling with our mentees at Sea Bowl, Pacifica. I realized that Alys and I already reached the Stage two level of mentor-mentee relationship because we are always together at school. Alys is a bit needy and a student diagnosed with a learning disability. It is difficult dealing with her most of the time because she often comes to me asking help for her history research. I helped whenever I can but I also drew the line saying that she has to do the essay herself on her own too. After that, she became more proactive and did her essays on her own before coming to me. Mr. Aleonar emphasized that mentorship is not a relationship where someone becomes a mere parasite. A mentor should encourage mentees to develop themselves, so that when the mentor is no longer around they can stand on their own. Until now I still struggle dealing with her, but I always try putting myself on her shoes. After the meeting, we proceeded to Sea Bowl with the mentees. It was my first time. It’s not that we do not have it back home, I was just too tired going out with my friends back then whenever they wanted to go bowling. At least, I experienced it now, in the US! I never thought it was hard. Everyone was cheering and laughing while I mightily tried hitting the pins.
Skating. Skating was really difficult for me. I tried entering the rink several times. I even fell off and laughed at myself. One of my classmates, Kailee, who is a skater taught me to just stand and trust that I won’t fall. I removed my hands on the rail but I still could not trust because my knees were shaking. I was really scared. After two rounds, I decided to stop. It was not because I aimed for perfection and I feared failure but I was scared of hurting myself and of causing my parents to worry. According to my friend, when she first entered the rink too she stopped but when she tried coming back after a few months, she started skating like the rest. I hope that I experience the same. I am even planning of skating again under the giant Christmas tree at Rockefeller center in New York this December.
Crossing Bridges. We conducted the Crossing Bridges Program at the Multicultural center on November 16, 2015. Although it was short of what I originally planned: inviting dignitaries for a skype chat, the program became fun and memorable as it was the first for the Filipino class. During the program, we sang Filipino folk songs and read the “I am Filipino” piece of Carlos P. Romulo before allowing each student to present any song, poem, piece, dance to the audience. After all had presented, they were all asking me to deliver my own piece, so I shared with them my voice over samples. I failed to capture the scene when they could not believe that it was me speaking in the audio. Before that, I did not plan of sharing anything but something just pushed me to share my voice overs. I always thought nobody will ever like them but me, so I never opened them to public for showcase. I was proven all wrong after their reaction. Again, what stopped me was my fear of rejection and again, I realized that getting out my comfort zones yield positive results.