Monday, February 16, 2015

Do Humans Aestivate?

Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature School on Blog
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid with Ms Melly C Tenorio
738 DZRB AM Band, 8 to 9 evening class, Monday to Friday

Hot weather slows down work. Biologically the body must conserve energy by slowing down metabolism. Otherwise you will literally burn up.
Author observes aestivating insects at UPLB, Laguna 

So I applied this knowledge through discreet research, observing my students in biology attending summer class. The class was from 7:30 to 10 o’clock in the morning, Monday to Friday.

And these are my findings. Given a leeway of ten minutes, I would be lecturing, pretending not to be disturbed by latecomers sneaking now and then through the backdoor. There is a pattern I found out in the class population – the same early and late comers, and absentees. I confronted the concerned students privately.

Sir, mahirap gumising sa summer, which means it’s difficult to get out of bed in summer. Well, it’s not the season, I suppose. It’s psychological – summer is synonymous to vacation. Why are we in school in the first place?

Sir, mainit kasi, mahirap maglakad. (Sir, it’s hot; it’s difficult to walk.) Well, don’t I warn myself, being in my senior years, of heat stroke and over work? And not to get exposed unnecessarily under the sun?

Sir, sinipon ako kasi dahil sa tinding init. (I got sick because of the extreme heat). Oh, well, if you are indisposed it's better to stay home. Take heed your biological clock.

As summer began to wear off I studied the performance of my students as a class. Why the graph is eschewed to the left compared to the normal curve. This means that scores in tests and recitations are falling off the median point, bulging on the left side. A curve eschewed to the right indicates good performance. At least I expected a typical 20-60-20 graphical curve.

Well, I said again to myself, summer class is generally for repeaters – those who failed in the same subject before, as well for those coping up with back subjects to become regular students. in the following school year. While a few enroll in advance subjects in order finish their course ahead.

Seeing the results of my students’ performance is like looking through the window on the fourth floor. Outside is windless; the tree tops attest to that. Mirage creates impressionistic images, almost abstract, from superheated concrete structures and highways. Outside our air-conditioned room lies the city virtually a frying pan, which very few can endure it. Traffic is light. Shops are empty. Life barely stirs.

remember Rizal’s essay, Indolence of the Filipinos. But we were then subjects under a foreign master, and to be indolent was a silent protest. Or there was no driving force to break from it. We wanted self-rule. Freedom. But there’s something our national hero as an expert of life science and psychology pointed out.

Hot weather slows down work. Biologically the body must conserve energy by slowing down metabolism. Otherwise you will literally burn up.

That particular summer gave me a lot of insights about human behavior in a tropical summer, more so with the current global warming. I was very lenient in all my years of teaching.
Ah, a teacher must grow into a sage, they say, although I say it is enough to become wise in some ways such as understanding the relationship of studying and weather conditions.
In the school year that followed I was asked to handle the same subject to new students – Life Science, a 3-unit general subject for all college courses.

When finally the semester gained momentum, I found out that many students were consistently either late or absent, or both. I asked the concerned students for reasons.

Millipedes curl like porcupine to protect themselves from enemies and hot humid climate

Kasi Sir, mahirap gumising sa tag-ulan, which means it’s difficult to get out of bed during the rainy season.

Sir, umu-ulan kasi, mahirap maglakad. (Sir, when it’s raining it’s difficult to walk.)

Sir, sinipon ako kasi dahil sa biglang malakas na ulan. (I got sick because of sudden strong rain.)

And when I plotted the performance of the class as a population towards the end of the semester, the curve is eschewed to the left.

I looked out through the window of the fourth floor and saw the treetops swaying in the stormy weather. The city was buried in thick suffocating air. ~

No comments: