Writing as vocation
Writing is a gift. I believe that my interest in writing is an undeserved favor I got from God –source of all our blessings. Its in how the gift is used that we see its value.
Since I made my life more complicated by becoming a reporter, I choose to make use of this gift to share it to a public domain. From the time I made that decision, I have anchored other decisions in life on this. It’s not just a profession. It is some kind of a vocation.
There is so much to improve about my style, depth, and even the form of my write ups. But I will stand still and focus on what I can improve rather than be derailed of the fact that I am not as good as the rest.
I want to focus more on how to be more useful and relevant to the community. I still do not have a clear strategy how. But my convictions lean towards making others realize that they, too, can write.
I focused on that theme when I was asked to share last Saturday about campus journalism to at least 25 teachers from the Department of Education in Malaybalay City.
It was my sister in-law, who teaches elementary students in Busdi, one of Bukidnon’s most remote barangays, who cracked that crazy idea. She took advantage of my day-off to gather colleagues for a day of sharing ideas.
Even if I would have wanted to spend a day relaxing, I didn’t refuse the invitation.
Most of these teachers were sent to remote assignments, such as areas near Bukidnon’s border with Agusan del Sur. These are conflict-affected areas –being venues to several armed clashes, especially last year, between government forces and the New Peoples Army.
DepEd is embarking on a program to improve campus journalism in the elementary level, especially in schools located in far-flung areas.
I was delighted about the plan because I understand only schools in relatively urbanized areas come out with a school paper –at least once a year.
Roland Lambo, one of the administrators of that particular area of DepEd, initiated the project to prepare the teachers and enable them with some facilities to demonstrate campus journalism.
I took it as an opportunity. We need to “demystify” writing as a form of communication. Non-writers can become writers.
I tried to explain in my own terms the need to demonstrate campus journalism to the youth –the school being not separate from its direct community.
It wasn’t easy sharing about press freedom and print media to teachers who view campus journalism as “additional workload”.
I tried to explain that it is one way to test children’s skills in listening, note-taking, reading, grammar, sentence structure, composition, etc. Actually, it’s communication in action.
I didn’t go as far as teaching them the techniques on newswriting, editorial writing, or feature writing. Not yet. I asked them first if they ever considered writing before. Together, we diagnosed their own kind of writing.
We started with the most basic — setting a mindset — having the interest to write. I believe it would be easier to share about skills from then on.
Inspiring the teachers to be more engaged in writing will make them better teachers or facilitators on campus journalism. That’s my hope.
This is not an effort to reinvent the wheel. I think we can orient campus journalism in far-flung schools as beacons of press freedom, starting from the teachers.
They can write and from them their pupils can learn. We can teach press freedom, or freedom of self expression at least – even in the remotest areas. (Grassroots Blogging Series.)