I have been warned by friends about the probable detrimental effects of continuing my graduate studies while pregnant, travelling, managing twin toddlers, and making sure that the needs of my husband are met.
But I am hard-headed like that. And so I continued. I didn’t realize – until my passport was stolen and the first paper turned out to be a meticulous critique of a grammar book – that this semester will be more challenging than the usual dose of term papers and exams; this semester brought with it several depressing happenings which include, but not limited to, robbery, deportation, separation from the twins, crazy final exams, and another big move.
While it sure is a difficult semester highlighted by my-no-laptop situation and being stuck in Cebu, Philippines for two months with four papers to be submitted between March 17 and May 1, I have no regrets whatsoever about pushing myself to work on this degree.
Oh, I lied.
I do have one regret, that of not working on these papers way ahead of time. Procrastination still remains as my greatest enemy. I have developed a love-hate relationship with sleep since the beginning of this second pregnancy. I like how a two-hour sleep relaxes me but I don’t like how it slows me down and prevents me from finishing the things I planned to work on. Thank goodness for massage, my heaven on earth, and my sanity is restored every now and then.
I don’t particularly like this semester. When I discuss this with Jeff, I call it the “technical semester” but… I would be lying if I say that I did not encounter specific lessons that got me contemplating (and concerned) about the current state of language and literacy education.
One of my courses talked about the inseparable relationship of culture and language; that one cannot teach language without mentioning culture. Language cannot separate itself from culture although not everything about culture is language related. Our main resource material is a modular book called “Second Language Teaching” written by T. Ruanni F. Tupas and published by the University of the Philippines Open University. If one will ask me about my reading progress, I can report that this book has become my lover for five months now alongside several other materials that talked about principles of language assessment, linguistic human rights, the politics of power/class/gender in the classroom, and performance-based assessments among others.
Reading for pleasure is different from reading for academic purposes. The former you can do without any pressure; the latter requires critical thinking, strategic planning, and unlimited patience. The former takes you to place without necessarily thinking about the time you need to return; the latter tells you to stick with a timetable because there are final exams to take come Saturday.
I love school.
Well, most of the time.
There are times I hate it especially when I am determined to catch up on the episodes of “The Flash” and “Daredevil” or watch some unknown chick-flick films that I forced my husband to download because I want to turn off my brain. I miss reading Neil Gaiman and going inside the worlds he majestically weaved with my reality, which tell me that I will forever be a child with my imagination as my main weapon to fight evil and my constant hallucinations of being a princess from a faraway land as my escape from academic brouhaha.
I am trying to re-read the abovementioned academic material to refresh my mind for concepts and issues discussed in the last five months so I can pass my final exam come Saturday. But tonight, I am excited – alone but excited. Jeff left last night to pick up the twins in Cebu. They will leave for Hong Kong then Guangzhou (China) tomorrow with my brother, Kevin. That gets me excited. And I think,that is more important than reading this 356-page book on teaching a second language.
I will pass my exams.
I won’t fail.
But for tonight, let me leave you with these photos of the twins by my good friend and the twins’ godmother, Carmela “Charmie” Quiapo taken in January 2014.