Tobby and the Importance of Style in Teaching

In my second year of studying Creative Writing in the University of the Philippines, I’ve learned to put more value in how I present my writings. In the workshop sessions in my CW 100 classes during the past semester, the thing most focused on there would be how the stories of us students and how the audience is most likely to react. The main thing to be improved in a story in the writers’ workshop is not the moral of the story, but how the story is presented. I don’t really mind the technique being the main focus of the writers’ workshop, especially after going through several Creative Writing classes, interesting presentations, and boring presentations.

After all, not knowing how to teach a good lesson to someone is just as bad as teaching a bad lesson.

As I go through life learning about the importance of style in writing and art, I realized that style is also important in socializing. My parents would tell me to smile, even if I’m feeling down, or else people would stay away from me. I don’t agree with that stupid action, but I think I understand why they ask me to do that. Looking happy increases my chances of getting people to talk to me, and my chances of making friends increases as well, because who the freaking nuts wants to interact with sad people?

“Oh, me, me! I wanna interact with sad people because if I don’t, I won’t understand a lot about how to make them happy!” says the crazy bear seriously. And yes, I agree with the crazy bear. Interacting with happy people shows me what makes people truly happy, and interacting with sad people shows me what makes them sad and what I should do and not do in helping them be happy. Oh, and I hate being apathetic to sad people when I can do something to help them.

But now that I think about it, yeah, I find it really hard to approach people who frown hard and look at me like I’m trash that they want to throw into an incinerator and never see again. I need more calmness, optimism, and social skills training.

Hm, style is important, too, alright. Thank you very much, Creative Writing workshop sessions.

Still, I hate lying. I hate hating people as well. And I hate being forced to do things against my will, especially when I’m in a weakened state. And I hate being looked down on. I like getting feedback, but I hate being looked down on.

You know what, I should just try expressing the importance of interesting style in teaching lessons by using an interesting style. How about I express it like this…Imagine two different groups of protesters, both protesting against their stupid government in front of their apparently corrupt Head of State’s residence. One of them hotheadedly asks to step down while charging towards the guarded entrance and threatening to break down the door and all the property there if they don’t get what they want. Said hotheaded group also spews insults at the government, calling them names, comparing them to trash, and similar crap that shows that they don’t believe in the government officials’ potential to do better. The other group of protesters orderly stands outside the building and uses a microphone-and-speaker set to call out to the Head of State. The calmer group asks for the Head of State to come out, wishing for the government to listen to their bosses, the people, and understand their suffering. As the Head of State does not come out yet, each of the microphone-and-speaker set users speak stories about the problems that they’ve experienced recently because of foolish government actions. They do not express hatred for the people in the government, but they express their hatred for the government’s foolishness and corruption. They do not spew insults to the government officials, they do not call them demeaning names, they did not even do things like burning a papier-mâché mockery of the Head of State in the background.

Now, think of yourself being in the shoes of the apparently corrupt Head of State’s place. You are not corrupt, just unaware that there was something wrong going on in your government. Your security guards tell you of the two protester groups, and you decide to go outside to deal with it. You find out that one of the groups is being violent, complaining about the poverty and injustice that they have experienced for several recent hellish days while throwing insults at you and your fellow government officials and threatening to destroy your property if you don’t let them in and give them what they want. The other group looks at you with some calm, while one of the calm members speak of the mayor of their city who had ignored the masses’ pleas for help. The second group does not throw an insult at you. They express their disappointment towards how you and the government had handled the country, not the fact that you exist. They show and tell that they have lost some trust in you, but they also show and tell that they still have some faith in you and your potential for goodness. They are willing to let you explain your side in the matter.

Now, who do you, the Head of State, want to negotiate with?

If you ask me the above question, I’d like to say that I would only talk with the second group of protesters at that time, considering my personality. They’re respectful, and even though they show disappointment in how I and my government have handled things, they still have enough faith in me to be willing to negotiate with me. They only hate my sins, not the fact that I exist. As for the first group, I’d like to negotiate with them, but with how I am, I would have them be stopped by the guards and the police, because they’re looking down on me, and such a thing is not something that I or any normal person would want to be at the receiving end of. And even though I do not like and would not treat the insulters like how they treat me, since they can do better, and even though I feel like negotiating with both groups is a good idea, negotiating with them is something that is going to be really beyond my limit because their minds are being held by their understandable but still destructive wrath that I would rather stay away from as long as it’s there. It’s great that they showed up to protest and honestly tell me what’s wrong with the government, but such a violent group cannot be interacted with well unless someone with nerves tougher than mine helps me out in calming them down properly. The second group showed me how protesters against stupid governments should really be: non-violent, respectful towards people, and will not stand for any evil that the government does. Hm, I think I should ask the second group to help me deal with the first group…Friendship is freaking important…Friendship for the win…(FRIENDSHIP!)

So, do you understand the importance of style now? Leave a comment if you did, show me what you understand, and if you didn’t understand, leave a comment, still, while showing me what part of my writing made my point hard to understand.

And now, for all those who still don’t understand the importance of style after I tried using the past example (and because I feel like I should make a bigger move in stopping a certain family member’s stupid teaching style), how about something more realistic…I’ll take two recent experiences. One is my mother getting pissed at me because I had spent my time with gadgets a lot during mornings, leading me to neglect doing household chores. She found me using my smartphone, and then in her understandable rage towards my laziness (Seriously, who wouldn’t be pissed at someone being lazy in doing important stuff?), she tells me to get myself off the bed and go do household chores. Along with that, she starts raising her voice at me and repeatedly tells me that I’ve spent too much time with my gadgets, that I won’t be able to live well if I don’t make a habit out of doing household chores, that she and Dad had been working hard for us kids to go to school and stuff…blah blah blah…

Basically, I guess she wanted to tell me that I need to learn doing household chores so that I would be able to live well once I’m not living with my parents anymore, all while telling me that I’ve been doing wrong stuff and that I hadn’t been caring much about how other people feel.

I guess I haven’t been caring much about how other people feel with all my overly frequent gadget usage. Yeah, I’ve been a lazy idiot who had been forgetting to do chores. Doing household chores is definitely important, alright, ’cause if I don’t, I’d be a useless slab of fat, sad, rotten meat on the side of the road,

But why do I feel like Mom’s tone and diction were implying that I was freaking useless and incapable of improvement? Oh wait, I was emotionally messed up (because of several reasons that I wouldn’t bother explaining right now because my attempt to explain would most likely make this piece of writing really boring), and with that, my mind associates shouting even more to abusive people. She had good intentions, and her anger is understandable, but her style sucked while it was used on emotionally messed-up me. Yeah, time to be blunt. My mother’s aggressive teaching style sucks. Hard. Like, black-hole-level hard, especially on depressed people. It probably would have been a hilarious moment on television, a comic book, or a novel, with the socially awkward and lazy idiot son getting what he deserves via his mother’s angry shouting. It’s like that manzai thing, I think, but with a more short-tempered tsukkomi and a less stupid and more emotionally damaged boke. Maybe it would have been funny if you, dear reader, were just watching, and you weren’t the emotionally damaged son getting more damage.

Let’s see how funny you think it is when you’re in my shoes. How funny would it be to you, then?

With that, I’d like to say that I hate emotionally damaging people, even if some of you nuts out there think that there are people who deserve that. Fun fact: NO ONE LIKES BEING EMOTIONALLY DAMAGED. UNLESS YOU’RE A MASOCHIST. BUT I FEEL LIKE THAT THERE’S REALLY A WAY TO EMOTIONALLY DAMAGE MASOCHISTS, SO YEAH…I SHOULD THINK ABOUT IT SOME OTHER TIME…MY HEAD WILL EXPLODE IF I THINK ABOUT IT NOW…

And so, since I hate emotionally damaging people, I guess you’d see that what I hate about my troublesome mother is not her existence, but her stupid style. I wanna be miles away from that thing’s attack range, and then watch it blow up with a nuke of calmness and gentleness. Freaking nuts, that’s going to be awesome.

Ahhh…it’s refreshing to insult stupid styles. WAAAAAYYYYYYY better than insulting people, you know.

I suddenly feel like my tone and diction back there is insulting Mom’s existence, though…Oh well, let’s see her reaction later and see how to point out her faults to her while being respectful towards her existence. And make sure to ask Dad first about her reaction as well, you crazy bear. Or just ask her to send me a written response.

Oh, and speaking of Dad, the second recent experience, which followed that disastrous experience with Mom (that involved my failure in showing her that her tone and diction was insulting, which was followed by more anger from her and me locking myself and crying in the bathroom as I cleaned said hiding spot up), was my talking while walking with Dad. Dad just came home from doing running, a usual hobby of his, and I quickly came down the stairs when I heard his voice, feeling like a wave of relief was washing me. I approached him, quietly asked him to have a talk with just the two of us, and he gave an okay with a relaxed tone and a smile.

Some time later, the two of us were walking down sunlit streets during noontime, and I told Dad about the nightmarish scolding that Mom gave me. His tone did not include shouting. It was pretty relaxed, even if it had a decent amount of seriousness. His diction was pretty okay as well. The message he gave me about household chores and stuff was pretty much the same as what Mom wanted to tell me (Well, Dad did try to explain what Mom was trying to say to me through all her annoying ranting). If I hadn’t talked to Dad back then, this piece of writing would probably be filled to the brim with insults, or perhaps it wouldn’t even exist. And I might be unable to use my computer to write this, because I’d probably start feeling more paranoid towards Mom when I would try to use the computer.

And of course, if I hadn’t talked to Dad back then, I would be unable to learn more and remember more about how to interact properly with people. Freaking nuts, Dad is a freaking awesome role model.

I’ve had enough of being treated like I was crap, and I’ve had enough of treating other people like they were crap. I’ll show you all how to socialize properly, and feel free to give me feedback and help me as well, because I don’t think I can do this well alone. Make sure to not disrespect me, too, alright?

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