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Author Archives: HARDPEN

Ika’y Talinghaga

dalagaIka’y pintig na sa puso ko’y tumibok
Lakas na sa mundo ko’y nagpapaikot
Ngunit ang ngiti mo sa akin ang dulot
Isang laksang saya’t labis-labis na lungkot

Ikaw ay kaligayahang dapat damhin
At pagsisising gumapang sa damdamin
Ika’y kayamanan kung aking ituring
At kabayarang dapat na balikatin

Amihan ka ngang ginhawa sa tag-init
Ngunit hanging sa gabi dulot ay lamig
Kandungan mo’y itinuturing kong langit
Bilangguan nang inaliping pag-ibig

Talinghaga kang mahirap na arukin
Palaisipang ‘di ko kayang sagutin
Magkaganun man ikaw ay mamahalin
Magpakaylan man ‘di kita lilimutin

Pangako mo ma’y mahirap panghawakan
Madali man sa iyo na ako’y iwanan
Ang mahalin mo kahit panandalian
Dulot ay ligayang walang katapusan

(Mula sa kantang “She” ni Elvis Costello)

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On Education and What People Achieve and Become

importance of education

For education to be meaningful, it should be holistic having as its ultimate goal the development of the whole person. Holistic education helps an individual to grow and develop in all dimensions: emotional, psychological, creative, social, imaginative, physical, intuitive, and spiritual as well as intellectual.1 The focus is on the acquisition of knowledge, skills, and values not for the sake of getting the best scores in standardized tests but to prepare them to engage in the real world. Holistic educators seek to engage students in their real life worlds to the greatest extent possible.2

Have the schools of the 21st century  been approaching education holistically? Do they deliver the kind of education that enable their students to achieve their full potential? Are children in schools trained merely to be a worker in their chosen fields or prepared to take on the multi-layered challenges they have to contend with in real life?

Answering the foregoing questions definitively is difficult. The ones in the best position to answer them are the graduates themselves. It is only after a few years after completing schooling that  people can really evaluate whether the education they receive is meaningful or otherwise.

In the process of evaluating the value of the education people received, the question they need to answer is – “What have they achieved and become through it?”

What education allow people to achieve determines only half the value (or even less) of that education. The other half (or even more) lie in what people become through it. It is not enough that people succeed in their chosen careers – either by being gainfully employed or by having a business of their own – to say that their education is meaningful.  What have they become as persons needs to be examined as well.

Psychologists have identified the different aspects of personality as physical, emotional, social, moral/spiritual, and intellectual. It is all in these areas that the evaluation of the process of becoming should be anchored upon.

Tests such as Big Five Personality, HEXACO, Myers-Brigs Type Indicator and Core Self-evaluation can be used to determine the dominant personality traits a person has. In China they have their CPAI (Chinese Personality Assessment Inventory). These tests can somehow help people analyze what have they become (or what are they becoming).

There are only two ways to classify personality traits or characteristics – they are either positive or negative. The HEXACO model of personality structure, for instance, is very specific in describing people in the honesty-humility (H) dimension – sincere, honest, faithful, loyal, and modest/unassuming versus sly, deceitful, greedy, pretentious, hypocritical, boastful and pompous.

What people become can only be labeled in two ways as well – good or bad. There are no gray areas. Ethics (as a branch of Philosophy) established the clear guidelines in determining what is good and bad, right and wrong.

It is of paramount importance that education should not only help people prepare for a career but guide them into developing positive traits and right attitudes. A child is not only a future employee or businessman. When eventually a child becomes an adult, there are other roles he/she has to play in society – as a citizen, as a community member, as a fellowman, as a neighbor, as a friend, as a family member. Life is not all about work. The workplace is only a small part of the world where the child lives.

Achieving is the process of succeeding in one’s chosen career or business – of enjoying the fruits of one’s labor. Becoming is the process of developing into the best person one is capable of turning into – physically, emotionally, socially, morally/spiritually, and intellectually. The person a child becomes would directly impact the way he/she would perform in the workplace, community and society.

The process of achieving enables a person to have the means to earn a living.  But earning a living is different from living a life. It is the process of becoming that empowers that person to live a life beyond work.

Education should be considered functional only if it succeeds in guiding the child in the processes of achieving and becoming.
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* (1 & 2) Andrew P. Johnson, Ph.D. Minnesota State University, Mankato
andrew.johnson@mnsu.edu

How and Why I Love Teaching

teacher

How do I love teaching?

Let me count the years… thirty!

Yes, I have been a teacher for three decades now. I began my teaching career at a basic education institution in Bauan, Batangas (Philippines) in 1988 and served  my 30th year in the academe at a university in South Korea. I will be returning to that same school for 2019 (and beyond… God willing) to continue my journey as a teacher.

Despite the not-so-good comments I heard  about teaching as a profession when I was young, I embraced it and I don’t regret having done so.

It is both surprising and amusing how lowly teaching is regarded by some people. It is one of the least popular jobs anywhere in the world.

Parents in the culture where I grew up would tell their children graduating from high school to just take up an Education course and be a teacher once they find out that their children are of average intelligence.

To some professionals, teaching plays second fiddle.  They would seek positions in the academe as teachers when in their chosen fields they could not get job offers. Many native speakers of English who had difficulty finding jobs in their own countries are working as ESL teachers in countries like Japan, China, and South Korea. Luckily for some of them, even if they are not graduates of Education courses or are not trained as teachers, there are schools who would hire them only because they are native speakers of English. I consider this a disservice to the teaching profession.

I love teaching and I do take my job as a teacher seriously. I sought employment in the academe upon completion of my bachelor’s degree knowing that I am qualified to be a teacher. I became a teacher not because I have no other choice. I became one by choice.

I know that teaching as a profession requires a lot and I made sure I am apt to the task. I went to graduate school, attended conferences and seminars, took certificate courses (like TESOL), and studied by myself the application of technology to education. I also keep reading books and journals related to both my subject area and pedagogy. All of the aforementioned  I did  (am doing) in order to  ensure that I could cope up with the demands of the profession and to give nothing but the best to my students. This is my way of respecting my profession as a teacher.

Why do I love teaching?

Search for the 25 best-paying jobs (or make that 50… or 100) and it’s very unlikely that teaching is included.  This is what makes the teacher’s job not-so appealing. Teachers get paid low and on top of that –  they are overworked. They work way beyond office hours. Such is the reality that I fully accepted. I never whined about it.

But for me, it’s never been the pay. It’s the happiness and the sense of fulfillment that teaching gave me. That’s what I love about this profession.

I enjoy doing the things that teaching requires me to do. Teachers need to read and write a lot. And those are my hobbies. Teachers have to do a lot of talking and leading and I so happen to love public speaking. I love the feeling of being in front of people… talking to them, making them laugh, and leading them to action.

Teaching allowed me do the things I love doing. It actually honed my skills and improved my knowledge in the areas where I could excel. It developed in me values that guide me both personally and professionally. It challenged me to strive for excellence and pushed me beyond my abilities. It made me believe in myself and it strengthened my faith in God as well.

As Jim Rohn said, “True happiness is not contained in what you get, happiness is contained in what you become.”

What I have become because of teaching is just amazing.

And the rewards for becoming what I have become are equally amazing.

The rewards – both intrinsic and extrinsic – are just awesome.

Don’t tell me that teaching is not financially rewarding. Teachers can be paid handsomely if they play their cards well and push the right buttons. It’s a matter of how they handle their career in the academe, how they build up their reputation, and what stuffs do they have in their professional portfolios.

Here is my advise to teachers like me, most especially to the young ones – don’t teach for the money. Become first what you ought to become. Be the best teacher you could be. Don’t be contended with your Bachelor’s degree. Aspire to have a doctorate. Attend all the seminars and training you could attend. Be certified in your field. Invest on yourself… not on gadgets and other material possessions. Plan well your career in the academe and make the right decisions.

If teachers would love their job and treat it with utmost respect, they will get the rewards they richly deserve.

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