Monday, January 02, 2012

The Bakunawa and what kind of year will 2012 be

Yesterday, on our way home from New Year’s lunch out, my husband and I were discussing about 2012 as the year of the dragon. We talked about legendary dragons in different countries’ cultures. Every country’s dragons look and act different – some are fierce others are benevolent. There are dragons found in the literatures of China, England, Ancient Greece, Spain, North America, Australia, Japan, India, Africa…my daughter asked, “how about the Philippines?” We tried to recall about the story of Bakunawa (the water dragon in Philippine mythology) which is believed to cause eclipses.

In the olden times, the Filipino ancestors believed that the moons were created by Bathala (god) to light up the night sky. The Bakunawa, enchanted by the beauty of the moons, would arose from the sea and swallow them angering Bathala making him his mortal enemy. People were so afraid now that the night became so dark so they prayed to Bathala to punish the dragon. Bathala, encouraging the people to stand up and fight, told them to make noises using pots and pans to make the dragon restless. The moon is then regurgitated and the Bakunawa disappeared, never to be seen again.

Life has been so dark in 2011, I took a lot of punches and some really hurt, but I have learned so many lessons along the way. I learned to think in terms of moderation, and to find contentment in the things that I already have and holding reasonable expectations. For my family (I often ignore on some days), I found that sharing the calendar in the same way that I would with my colleagues was helpful at home as well. I’ve met people who are fighting the same battle in this arena; I was encouraged and inspired by their strong spirit and moral courage. I have learned that teachers can serve as a powerful voice for the voiceless, for those whose cries of help go unheard. Our students are counting on us, for they have been let down too often. The only way we can fail them is to stop using our voices on their behalf. Life isn’t exactly the way I wanted it to be in 2011. I had a lot of opportunities to practice holding my tongue and exercising patience. But I am still grateful for all I have - good health, a supportive husband, a rewarding profession that I love, wonderful kids, terrific friends! I have blogged less but did more reflection, and as I reflected I went back to my old posts and saw how my life as a teacher migrant have progressed. I am truly thankful to all my readers, and those people who are always very supportive of me. I have disabled the commenting feature of this blog the entire year of 2011, but I have found a way to block the spams and I am enabling comments again to start another vibrant online conversation with you.

What kind of year will 2012 be? Many talk about 2012 as the end of the world maybe because they think of the Mayan calendar as linear rather than cyclical. In Chinese Calendar, 2012 is the year of the dragon. From a Feng Shui point of view, the year of the Water Dragon brings so much good fortune and possibilities. I am excited about the many great opportunities about to happen this year and I am ready to give it my best! As I see some of these are slowly becoming a reality, I believe this will happen more in 2012:

1. Inclusion. 21st Century globalization and immigration have created a society of increased diversity. I will see more of my special needs students included and accepted in the general education classrooms having the same opportunities as their peers.

2. Differentiated Instruction. The 21st Century is all about customization, personalization, addressing individual differences. This is also how it will be in the classrooms, it will be a natural part of our work. Most of our minority students can really excel academically side by side with their peers. Like how it is in the real world, they will finally to learn to live fully together.
3. Innovation. The 21st Century is a 24/7 environment. More educators will be joining Professional Learning Networks (PLN) which will also be a major resource for current educational research and best practices. We will see that the traditional boundaries between home and school will disappear as teachers become more accessible round the clock with technology tools. Schools will get greener, teachers and students will be collaborating with people in the communities for experiential and project based learning.

A prosperous new year to all! May we have the presence and the power of the water dragon when we wield our swords in our everyday combat...

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