My friend ate Vannie Joy Resabal shared a funny anecdote to me. When she attended a seminar in Manila, the speaker was very frustrated with the participants because they always came in late during his lectures. Finally, the speaker gave up, and expressed his disappointment with a common phrase straight out of John Ray’s 1670, 1678 A collection of English Proverbs:
The early bird catcheth the worm.
Basically saying that if you want to succeed in anything, you need to be well prepared for the tasks at hand. I don’t quite recall the story as it was, but I think ate Vannie Joy then whispered under her breath to her seatmate, But sir, we are not the bird, we are the worm.
One word, clever! That’s exactly how we feel sometimes. Sometimes, we feel like we are the bird, so we need to be early. We need to be prepared. But there are times when we feel like we are the worm; like we need to be late so that the opportunistic and selfish bird will not come and swoop us down from our dwelling places.
In the context of learning, because that’s where the original setting of the anecdote is, this funny illustration has a deeper meaning that I believe every teacher and student should keep in his or her list of fundamentals. A teacher should not make his or her students feel like they are worms.
Why do they come in late in the first place. Who knows? There are many factors to consider, and I still have to ask ate Vannie Joy a lot of questions. On the other hand, it is very likely that their speaker is acting like a huge bird and the students aren’t feeling like they are the tiny little chicks inside that bird’s nest and waiting to be fed and nourished.
In my theory, learning was impeded from the little chicks, err the worms, the students, I hope you’re not getting confused as much as I am, because the speaker, or the subjects that he delivered, was creating an environment filled with threats and intimidations.
Some scientists call it reflective vs. reflexive. Learning, in this case, was defeated and had to give way to the students’ emotional reactions to the threatening environment. Other scientists call it downshifting, and it is as much of a natural brain phenomenon as hunger, or anger, among others.
It could be that ate Vannie Joy is merely expressing what she was feeling about the speaker and his teaching methods in a clever and funny way, which, having known ate for so many years already, is characteristic of her identity: a witty, funny, and beautiful woman. Ate Vannie Joy, I hope you can read this.hehe.
Then again, it could be that I’m making something a lot more complicated than it really is, because that is characteristic of my identity as well. I tend to make simple things complicated. That’s the price you pay for studying to learn Physics. LOL