g.r.i.t.

from the NYTimes article ” What if the Secret to Success is Failure?

grit:

noun, verb, grit·ted, grit·ting.

firmness of character; indomitable spirit; pluck:
She has a reputation for grit and common sense.

“This push on tests,” he told me, “is missing out on some serious parts of what it means to be a successful human.”… The most critical missing piece, Randolph explained as we sat in his office last fall, is character— those essential traits of mind and habit that were drilled into him at boarding school in England and that also have deep roots in American history. Whether it’s the pioneer in the Conestoga wagon or someone coming here in the 1920s from southern Italy, there was this idea in America that if you worked hard and you showed real grit, that you could be successful,” he said. “Strangely, we’ve now forgotten that.”…

People who have an easy time of things, who get 800s on their SAT’s, I worry that those people get feedback that everything they’re doing is great. And I think as a result, we are actually setting them up for long-term failure. When that person suddenly has to face up to a difficult moment, then I think they’re screwed, to be honest. I don’t think they’ve grown the capacities to be able to handle that.”…

As Levin watched the progress of those KIPP alumni, he noticed something curious: the students who persisted in college were not necessarily the ones who had excelled academically at KIPP; they were the ones with exceptional character strengths, like optimism and persistence and social intelligence. They were the ones who were able to recover from a bad grade and resolve to do better next time; to bounce back from a fight with their parents; to resist the urge to go out to the movies and stay home and study instead; to persuade professors to give them extra help after class. – Dominic Randolph, Headmaster, Riverdale Country School

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First Outfit post: The Schoolmarm

So, please give me a chance.  I’m trying my hand on this thing called “personal style blogging”.  I know the photos are at their rawest, unedited form.  I have yet to learn taking those outfit posts I’ve seen in fashion blogs in blogosphere.

Here is my first outfit post on my teaching clothes.  Just a test post. 🙂

This is how I look like when teaching Philippine History every Tuesday and Friday afternoons in a conservative college in the metro.

When I first taught in a university, I was 20 years old then and I hated how conservative my Mom was when it came to teaching clothes.  I had graduated from a state university that is known as the “bastion of liberalism” here in the Philippines (the University of the Philippines Diliman) and, of course, a dress code was almost close to non-existent.  Some professors would come to class wearing slippers, shorts and a shirt, much to my mom’s dismay, while some students went to school wearing the skimpiest of shorts or the weirdest outfit.  The mentality in Diliman was that your brains and your acads (academics) were more important than what you wore.  It was the substance rather than the form that was important, as they put it.  I had a lot of learning and growing up to do back then.  I can still see my mom trying to hide her “horrified” look when her eldest daughter came home every semester break wearing short shorts and flip flops to the mall or to family dinners.  I knew she tried hard not to make a comment at that time though her face still said a lot of words.  Mommy, thank you for being so patient! 🙂

Now that I’m teaching again I realized that there was wisdom in what my mom constantly hammered into us about modesty, respect and style.  Being stylish does not necessarily mean showing off flesh or all the blings in the world but it’s about mixing and matching and dressing appropriatelyAs my dad told me, it’s about respecting and honoring your audience, that means my class, even in a minor thing such as a teaching outfit.  In my parents’ opinion, how you present yourself is already a peek of a bit of who you are.  Propriety, propriety, that’s what they keep telling me.  And today, I guess I’m already ready to listen to them.

Gone are the days when I would go off to class wearing something inappropriate {like an ultra-fit and clingy shirt dress} just to spite my mom and her conservative style.  Back then I was a few pounds lighter and I kept pushing the dress code limits of the conservative, Catholic university where I once taught.  This university was a far cry from the liberal University I had graduated from.  It was quite a culture shock for me to go through the doors of the school with the guards checking the length of my skirt or see if my blouse was too sheer for the students’ sanity.  I enjoyed breaking a dress code or two while I was there.  Yeah, so much for being a role model, huh.  Oh, the folly of youth…that’s what comes to my mind when I think about those days. 🙂

Now, I am learning to take her advice but add my own twist to it.  And with that, our styles have melded and the teaching wardrobe has stopped becoming the “mom-yen war room”.  Today, I understand that boundaries and dress codes are there not merely for your own benefit but for others’ sake. 🙂

How about you?  Have you tried resisting conforming to your mom’s style when you were younger?