3 Idiots

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As mentioned yesterday, Jon and I watched 3 Idiots last Sunday.  All I knew about the movie prior to watching was that it was an Indian movie about 3 college guys.  The movie gave me a different perspective of India.  Based on movies I’ve seen, I always pictured India as this overcrowded, dirty city, much like our slums here in Manila.  But the movie showed a different India.  The college was very nice and the countryside was very clean and picturesque.

The movie talked a lot about how we all treat life as a race, where only the first will succeed.  It attacks the educational system that gives more importance to passing exams rather than actual learning.

As a student, I always felt pressured to pass if not ace all my exams.  My parents expected a lot from us and they’re disappointed when  we come home with a line of 7.  So, if you come home with a grade of 90 in Math and 76 in Filipino, they will notice your Filipino grade and not even notice your Math grade.

Now, as a parent, I sometimes see myself as falling into the same trap.  What I would really like to see in my kids is their trying to do their best and striving for excellence in their work.  If I know they tried their best, I’ll be happy.  That’s easy to say but hard to do as sometimes I focus on the mistakes too.  I consciously have tell them what a great job they did before moving on to how we could correct the mistakes and make it better next time.

The movie says that as long as you do your passion, success will follow.  I guess that is true but it still takes a lot of work, but since you’re doing what you love, I guess it won’t feel so much like work.  Success is different for each individual and we should only be concerned with our definition and not with other’s.  I think that getting to do what you love is already a big sign of success.  It takes a lot of courage to follow your dreams though.  You might encounter people who will put you down and tell you to be more responsible and go for what is achievable.  It’s easy to make a living but if you’re miserable, what’s the point?

My problem is finding my passion.  I’m 36 years old and I still don’t know what I want to do for the rest of my life.  At least I know what I don’t want to do and I’m not doing that.  I’m lucky that I have the luxury to stay home and try to figure out what I really want to do.  What I have discovered in one year of not working full time is that I really like working in the kitchen.  I also found out that I still like teaching, but only if the student is willing to learn.  I also like learning new things and reading stuff I would never read before.  I also learned what is not important to me and what I can let go without even missing it.  And what I love most about this time of my life is that I get to spend everyday with the people who are most important to me.

That said, I want to end with these words, “Aal is well.”

Freedom Writers


Yesterday, while looking for something to watch, I chanced upon Freedom Writers I think on the Fox Family Movie Channel.  Anyway, it just started and seemed interesting so I decided to watch it.

I’ve never heard of this movie before, neither do I know of the inspiration for the movie.  Apparently it’s based on a real life teacher, Erin Gruwell and how she turned around her class.

There has never been a shortage of films depicting how teachers influence and inspire their students to do great things and it’s always gratifying when we hear these stories.  I feel that teachers really have the most influential job in the world as they get to mold children’s thinking and a good teacher will motivate a child for life whereas a bad one will scar the same child.

I again got into thinking about careers and jobs.  I used to be a teacher, I taught Physics to high school students.  I don’t think I have as much opportunity as English teachers to open their students minds to the world around them, mold their thinking and influence their actions.  Of course I help them understand the physical world around them, but society and social dynamics are I think beyond the curriculum of Physics.

I entered the work force as an idealistic teacher.  I have watched Dead Poets Society   and I wanted to be that kind of teacher.  Of course it never happened.  It’s kinda difficult to emulate John Keating when you’re talking about Newton’s Laws, Thermodynamics and Relativity.  I like to think that I somehow touched some of my students lives and have somehow helped them acquire skills that will be useful in their life.  However I’m also realistic and I know that most students feel that they don’t really need Physics in their daily life.  I’m sure very few of my students went on to be engineers or scientists requiring an adequate knowledge of Physics.

Teaching is also a very time consuming job.  If you want to do a great job, you really have to put in the time.  As what happened in Freedom Writers,  the teacher spent most of her time with her students that she didn’t have enough time for her husband.  I couldn’t do that anymore.  I have a family that needs me and I wouldn’t want to have both and end up being mediocre.   Of course there are a lot of great teachers who are able to balance both and they are very admirable.

Sometimes I do think about going back to teaching.  I often feel guilty specially when I think of the quality of education in the country now.  I know that there are teachers forced to teach Physics because there’s no one else to do it.  I sometimes feel that maybe I’m wasting my skills by not teaching.  I don’t think I’m the best teacher around but at least I am qualified to teach the subject.  Teaching has a lot of rewards in terms of satisfaction when you see your students trying their best and experiencing a eureka moment.

Teaching really is a noble profession.  Everyday, teachers make the world a better place by educating our children.  Their role in society is unmistakable.  I feel that teachers are under appreciated, in our country even ridiculed.  They deserve to be treated better and admired for the sacrifices that they do everyday.

I don’t know if I’ll ever go back to teaching.  One thing’s for sure though, I’m glad to have been a teacher and contributed even a little bit to making the world a better place.