October: Filipino-American Heritage Month
This month is full of activities dedicated to the celebration of Filipino-American Heritage. I feel blessed overall to be in a place where being Filipino is celebrated. I learned this month the Filipino-American History: when and why Filipinos reached the US (Morro Bay 1565), how they struggled in the US (World’s Fair, Anti-miscegenation law, Stoop Labor, Alaskeros), how they fought for justice (The Manongs’ quest for Labor Justice in 1960s), and their struggles in the 21st century. It’s priceless because the way they see Philippine history here is through their Filipino-American lens. Although Bataan Death March, Philippine Independence, etc are also included, much emphasis is placed on the events that happened after they landed in Morro Bay. Overall, this month is a deeper getting-to-know phase in my relationship with the US and the Filipino-Americans.
Challenges and Choices
Class success. This month, I received my first quiz remarks. As I mentioned in my former report, the quiz does not follow the traditional paper-and-pen test. Before submitting the work, I had difficulty stringing the thoughts together because I knew that wrong placement of information in the story would make the discussion of the term nonsensical and entirely wrong, so I first really worked on the outline of the discussion of each term. As a result of my sleepless nights, and because I did one extra credit term, I got a 139/100 mark. Yaaay! At least the three sleepless nights I sacrificed for the online quiz paid off. So far, I do not have any mistake in any of my quizzes for both classes.
Filipino-American Month. As part of the Kababayan participation in the Filipino-American Month Opening celebration of Daly City on October 10, the Filipino Student Union and I had our tabling with other clubs and organizations in the event where Filipino performances entertained the guests, Filipino food carts satisfied hungry onlookers, Filipino DJs offered free scratching, officials delivered their patriotic speeches. During the event, I talked to Mayor Ray Buenaventura who sincerely said I can vouch for his statement of support on any event we will hold for Filipino-American students at Skyline college. While enjoying the rendition of the Philippine National Anthem and the US Star Spangled Banner, I realized how lucky I am to be assigned in an area closed to many Filipinos, where ethnic diversity is appreciated and celebrated. I joined the Daly City Library Organization to support them and to also join in their future reading activities.
Legions of Boom. On October 15, mobile Filipino DJs who got famous in the 1980s in the Bay area were invited to Skyline College for a Panel Discussion with Professor Oliver Wong. The room was packed with almost 75 participants including professors from CIPHER, a learning community dedicated to Hip Hop, Kababayan and DJ crews. ABS-CBN was even there to cover the event. The discussion revolved around the reasons why they decided to collaborate in the 80’s, how they did it and where they are now. Their story as young teenagers who made name in the DJ scene becomes a compelling story for young students who share the same dream and for those who seem to be stuck in a rut, not knowing what to do in life. For me, their story reminds me of the importance of passion and of working hard for that passion. It is in fact the reason why I’m here in the US: to improve my teaching.
Open Mic. The Filipino Student Union-sponsored and organized Open Mic dabbed as “Magsalita” is the first Open Mic I attended. It’s an event where anyone can read their poem, perform a skit, sing a song, strum the guitar, or just do anything to pour out their emotions and reflections. I unfortunately failed to bring the piece I prepared. So to this Open Mic, I just became a mere spectator. I saw one performing a parody of the song “Let it Go”, another shared a poem about being “HIGH” on drugs, two ladies reading a poem about the Philippine struggle while the rest sang their favorite songs.
Preparations. As part of our preparations for November 16, each week, a group of students volunteered to laminate Filipino paintings and other artworks that will be displayed on Building Four, Multicultural Center in November. It’s one way to know them on a personal level too for me as a teaching assistant.
School Allies Lecture. I had another lecture at Westmoor High on November 04. I taught the segment, “How School Allies See me?” To make the topic interesting, I started the class with an activity where they had to create their own school. Some students shared they wanted a school that has swimming pool, restaurants, malls, etc. After sharing their schools, I discussed each school ally. What really struck me with the lecture is the silence of the students. Mr. Aleonar, the head teacher, asked me before the class what I do in the Philippines to quiet down students because he noticed that most Westmoor high school students are always not on-task. I suggested a strategy. In this lecture, we put our strategy to practice and it did work. All throughout the session, the students were focused. The strategy was, “If you hear me clap once, clap once. If you hear me clap twice, clap twice.” It’s the most basic class management strategy in the Philippines. I’m surprised that they don’t practice it here, and glad that it did work with the students.
Daily Speech Practice. My public speaking professor believed that public speaking should not be forced. According to her, usually public speaking does not happen in a podium but in a small room with listeners you have to convince. She noticed that most public speaking courses teach students how to speak in a podium with more than 50 listeners. The truth is, not everyone is given the privilege always to speak with that number in a special occasion, so in her class she divided us into groups of five. Every meeting all of us should deliver a speech in front of these four students. After two weeks of Daily Speech Practice, she will combine two groups to form a ten-member group. In this instance, each has to speak again and will be critiqued by each member of the group. Then, each of us will have to deliver a speech again in front of 40 classmates twice as our final presentations. I like her approach because she gives all of us a chance to experience different situations that demand public speaking. When I come back, if ever I would be assigned to teach public speaking, I would follow this approach. It is effective for me because for two consecutive meetings now, I received negative constructive feedback from my small group that helps me better my speech.