Graduation Day nears and the shape of things to come is becoming more clear. Besides my defense of my colleagues, I have yet to write about the other matters that have been tainting the final days of Batch 2009. They don’t deserve this. Today, I’d like to make it very clear where I stand.
Batch 2009 is a good batch. They themselves say that they aren’t the best. Sure, they were a little tough to teach back then. They didn’t read their books as well as I wanted. A handful of students consistently failed to submit requirements. I had to curve some of their tests too.
But I will always remember them for Pisay Meets World. There was TXV too. They are undoubtedly the most creative batch of SS2 students I’ve ever handled. They have the best writers, artists, and performers. I had to invent the A++ in grading their work. I had to keep raising the bar for them creatively for they made me — as eccentric as I could be — feel inadequate. When I design projects these days, I see that the bar of creativity has been set by Batch 2009 and it’s a bar I don’t see being topped anytime soon.
They are good kids. My last advisory class was Camia 2009. I was never supposed to be their adviser but I substituted until a new teacher came in for them. But I didn’t let go. They didn’t let me go. I was already teaching six socsci classes (a full load), but I willingly took on the extra load. I wanted to. Camia ’09 was a very fun class. They may not have won contests, but they didn’t have to do much else to win me over.
As a matter of fact, I would have done the same for my other five sections.
And when I think of outstanding individuals, I can’t deny that Batch 2009 gave me a very good AKSIS President. Great things happened with AKSIS in the past year because of Criselle David, and I believe that she — and every other Batch 2009 student who worked hard — deserve to enjoy their day in the sun (unfortunately literally). Because of people like Criselle (and there are many), Batch 2009 deserves their graduation.
As a faculty, I am disappointed with the decision of the BOT to reconsider the students who failed more than 1/3 of their academic units. I believe that this seriously harms the standards of the Philippine Science High School.
Over lunch today, I posed this question to my colleagues: How do we teach the next batch of 4th year students?
How can we teach them when they now know that they can get away with failing more than 1/3 of their subjects? How can we motivate them to do better when they know they can get away with so much less?
None of us could answer. We’re still scratching our heads. And that scares me.
In addition, I believe that the principal suspects in Discipline Case 14 deserve nothing less than a termination of their scholarship. Their act is scandalous. And considering we are a government institution, allowing these students to eventually graduate is a betrayal of the public trust.
Nonetheless, I understand why the school feels unable to persecute these two individuals. We have a very weak definition of excellence. Somewhere along the way, we have lost track of our vision and mission. We are confused about what “Iskolar ng Bayan” means, entitling ourselves to its benefits but none of its responsibilities.
The real tragedy is that the system is broken. The powers that be don’t play by their own rules, and we teachers are not given the tools (ie. material, legal, ideological) we need to carry out our tasks into its utmost completion. Hence we are constrained to teach for the sake of teaching, and those who try to do more simply die trying.
It is a tragedy that in trying to do what is right, we see how little is actually left.
I sympathize with those who won’t graduate and with those who people say shouldn’t graduate.
To the former, know that you still have your whole life ahead of you. I may have never gotten a 5.00, but I know what it feels like to anticipate and hope for something great only for it to be denied at the last moment. I too have failed greatly. But once the strong feelings have subsided, take some time to be honest with yourself and see what you could do better. You are still young and the possibilities are endless. Realize that there are so many who are ready to support you — count me in — so never give up.
To the latter — especially those who were reconsidered — I don’t think you deserve to be hated and renounced by anyone. You are victims of the system too. The joke is on you. They should have just decided to play by the rules and showed you the door, but instead they — in all good intentions — threw you to the wolves. I think ire should be directed at the BOT, not you.
Nonetheless you, of all people, should know whether you deserve to graduate or not. I hope you take the time to decide whether you will march alongside your batchmates, for only you can tell all of us what kind of people you really are. It is never too late to be good again.
I will attend the Graduation Day of Batch 2009. I will be happy for my students, I will congratulate their parents, and I will be glad for me — for I have worked on these students too.
It’s sad to know that I won’t see all of them graduate, but I could be sadder still. For we all know we deserve better, and yet I trust my students to do the right thing for they are good kids — and Batch 2009 is a good batch.