Homeroom and reflection

Don't let school get in the way of your education," Mark Twain or Albert Einstein was supposed to have said.

It's a popular quote, one we often repeat to ourselves or our groupmates in the midst of a difficult task, like doing a long homework in Calculus or preparing for an oral exam in Philosophy; when we have all but lost sight of what we're doing it for.

"School is getting in the way of my education," we would grumble, when we could just as well be doing other tasks of seemingly more practical value, like participating in org activities or community work. Anything, really, but sitting down to learn concepts and ideas that we will most likely forget as soon as we graduate.

I'd venture to guess that this is how most of us felt during our time in the classroom. We might still be asking ourselves, what was the point of all learning all that algebra? Or of learning that light behaves both like a particle and a wave? Or that George Dewey took the harbor of Manila on May 1, 1898? As it turns out, however useful these facts and concepts may be-and they are, no doubt about it-they are of little practical value in our everyday lives.

So we feel that 90 percent of what we learn in school end up having no practical value in our lives whatsoever, and that 90 percent of what we needed to know, we weren't taught in school. For all the stuff that formal schooling crams our craniums with, a lot of the things we really needed in life, we learned elsewhere.

There is, of course, the remaining 10 percent that they do teach us in school - practical things like managing your time, setting your goals, and knowing when to take a break. Useful guides like the 80/20 Rule, Parkinson's Law, or your MBTI personality type, or even those highly-touted 7 Habits of Highly Effective People; stuff that you don't normally learn in the course of your studies. These things I learned from a subject that most of us might have already forgotten about: Homeroom.

Homeroom was that first period of the day after you say the morning prayer, sing the Lupang Hinirang and recite the Panatang Makabayan, when the teacher would make announcements and do other administrative tasks. In grade school, homeroom was the time of the morning when you brought out your assignment notebook, copied down all Ms. Mia's or Mrs. Chona's reminders on the blackboard, and showed to your parents after you got home from school. Homeroom was close to my heart because it was the only time of the day where you really didn't do anything.

Homeroom was also a time for reflection. In my experience, Homeroom was the time for our class adviser to talk-not about classroom work, but about "more practical" stuff. Sometimes, that meant scolding the class, or laughing or sharing an easygoing conversation with the teacher. Occasionally, members of the class or outside guests, usually former students and alumni, would speak about a prescribed topic, or about their own experiences. These were the most valuable five minutes that we would have in the classroom, as far as practical learning was concerned.

Unfortunately, as is apt to happen in high school, one doesn't always listen or regard these things as important. Eventually, the penetrating insights start seeming like unremarkable platitudes; otherwise, there are much more "important" things on one's mind, such as the homework due for the next period that wasn't finished last night. Of course, the reflections that strike us the most tend to stick in our minds the longest-but how I wish I had the sense to note all of them down. If there's anything I've learned after starting work, it's that there are so many things to remember, so many things to pay attention to, that you are bound to forget all of them unless you write them all down.

I guess that was what Homeroom, first and foremost, tried to teach us: to write all the reminders down, and remember to consult them when today ends or tomorrow begins. Then hopefully, as we grow older, we remember to note down the important things that we learn every day.


Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Sy moves up, Villar enters Forbes list of billionaires
    Sy moves up, Villar enters Forbes list of billionaires

    Eleven Filipinos are included in Forbes’ 2015 list of richest people in the world. Filipino-Chinese tycoon Henry Sy Sr. continues to be the wealthiest man in the Philippines. The 90-year-old SM supermalls, banking and property tycoon ranked 73rd among the world’s richest with an increased net worth of $14.2 billion from $11.4 billion last year. Sy’s net worth was attributed to the continued growth of his SM Investments Corp. and his more recent venture, the City of Dreams Manila resort and …

  • Jolo apologizes to Bong in visit
    Jolo apologizes to Bong in visit

    Cavite Vice Gov. Jolo Revilla wept and embraced his father as he apologized for the “accidental” shooting incident in their Ayala Alabang residence, the family’s spokesman said yesterday. Lawyer Raymund Fortun came out of the private room at the Asian Hospital and Medical Center in Muntinlupa City to speak to reporters, who were barred from entering the hospital compound during the visit of Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. …

  • Australian drug smugglers being taken to Indonesian island for execution - media
    Australian drug smugglers being taken to Indonesian island for execution - media

    By Jane Wardell and Beawiharta SYDNEY/DENPASAR, Indonesia (Reuters) - Two convicted Australian drug smugglers were removed from a prison in Bali on Wednesday to be taken to an Indonesian island where they will be shot by firing squad, Australian media reported. The planned executions of Myuran Sukumaran, 33, and Andrew Chan, 31, have ratcheted up diplomatic tensions amid repeated pleas of mercy for the pair from Australia and thrown a spotlight on Indonesia's increasing use of the death …

  • US billionaire says WWII Japanese ship found in Philippines
    US billionaire says WWII Japanese ship found in Philippines

    Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen said Wednesday he had found one of Japan's biggest and most famous battleships on a Philippine seabed, some 70 years after American forces sank it during World War II. Excited historians likened the discovery, if verified, to finding the Titanic, as they hailed the American billionaire for his high-tech mission that apparently succeeded after so many failed search attempts by others. Allen posted photos and video online of parts of what he said was the …

  • Another source of SAF execution video identified
    Another source of SAF execution video identified

    The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is still tracing the source of the video showing one of the wounded police commandos being finished off by Muslim rebels during the encounter in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last Jan. 25. A source from the Department of Justice (DOJ) said they have identified two persons who first uploaded the video that went viral over social networking sites. The supposed source of the video was elusive and claimed that somebody just placed it on an external drive. The …

  • Pacquiao big hit so far in Vegas sports books vs Mayweather

    LAS VEGAS (AP) — Manny Pacquiao has always believed he can do what 47 other fighters before him have failed to do — beat Floyd Mayweather Jr. in the ring. …

  • World's oldest person wonders about secret to longevity too
    World's oldest person wonders about secret to longevity too

    TOKYO (AP) — The world's oldest person says 117 years doesn't seem like such a long time. …

  • N. Korea fires missiles in anger at South-US military drills
    N. Korea fires missiles in anger at South-US military drills

    North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea and vowed "merciless" retaliation Monday as the US and South Korea kicked off joint military drills denounced by Pyongyang as recklessly confrontational. The annual exercises always trigger a surge in military tensions and warlike rhetoric on the divided peninsula, and analysts saw the North's missile tests as a prelude to a concerted campaign of sabre-rattling. "If there is a particularly sharp escalation, we could see the …


Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Poll Choice Options