Benj Alvero on Learning Beyond Theory

Written by Pau Era     &     Edited by Joel Lim

As another way of appreciating our teachers in this year’s Teachers’ Appreciation Week, we interviewed the current Vice President of [Sanggu], Benjamin Miguel “Benj” Alvero III to share his experience with teachers that shaped him to be the student leader that he is today.

About Benj

[I’m] a proud member of the USAD… with that, I can say that I am a committed socialist, despite coming from a relatively privileged background. I’m a geek and I like playing video games. When I get stressed I usually play world of Warcraft for some rest and relaxation (yes don’t judge me). Aside from games and more importantly, when I get stressed and exhausted from all the work I have to do, a simple call [or] conversion with my very special someone gets me through the day.

“Kaya ba ang laude and landi?” For me, you can do both. Aral (laude) and landi are not mutually exclusive, kailangan mo lang ng tamang diskarte to balance both of them.

Benj on His Professors:

Prof to Benj: Ano ngayon? I’ve had a lot of enjoyable classes in POS, Psych, and History [and] I personally don’t have one [prof] that strikes me as my favorite but I had a fond experience with Sir Migs Rivera. He wasn’t technically my prof but he’s the founder of USAD as an undergrad [and I found his lectures very insightful]. As such, I’ve had political education sessions with him. One time he asked me to explain a concept about Marxism (nerd, I know haha). After explaining the relevance of the concept, he just stared into me and then asked “Ano ngayon?” I was not expecting that and I wasn’t able to answer. But I think that’s the point of studying and reading; more than just repeating what’s said in boring academic texts and lectures, I think what is asked of us students is to answer the “ano ngayon”, the concretizing of our lessons outside the classroom. I’d say Migs Rivera. Another favorite prof I had is Arvin Boller. His classes were enjoyable and he’s also an anarchist *wink *wink.

Best piece of advice I received from a mentor:Hangga’t hindi mo kaya ipaliwanag ang isang teorya o konsepto sa tambay sa kalye, sa wikang naiintindihan niya, hindi mo pa talaga naiintindihan ang ideyang ito”. As a student leader, I was taught that more than reading and knowing theory, it’s important to ask questions and go beyond it. I was taught the importance of imagination, of taking everything I learned and experienced, and to attempt to go beyond.

To all the profs I’ve had throughout my stay: I’d like to say thank you for equipping me with the skills and sensibilities to be critical of the world around me. Aside from this constant suspicion of the things (and powers that be) I am also thankful for forming in me the hope of imagination; that beyond all the injustices and oppression I see, there is the possibility of another world, one that can be arrived at through dialogue and the respect of human dignity.

Thank you for supporting us during Teachers’ Appreciation Week last September 25-29, 2017! Happy World Teachers’ Day! For more information, follow the official TAW page on Facebook!