I am a teacher. In my own ways, I inspire people to make the world a better place for the many generations to come . While education remains the most powerful weapon which we can use to improve our lives, I always emphasize the value of theoretical and practical knowledge, essential life skills, and highest moral standards to my students. In my mind, my words, and my deeds, I strive to become a teacher who embodies what makes the teaching profession the noblest.
As a teacher who has been in the profession for over five years, I must say that I teach for many reasons. I teach not just because I can, but because I can make young minds appreciate the beauty of the world, the goodness of all people, and their potentials to reach their genuine aspirations of making the same positive influence to others and the world. I teach not primarily because of my academic track records and professional background but because of my pure heart found among the young souls and minds hungry for knowledge and mastery of essential life skills. I teach not for the promising career but for the promising future of all the people I can inspire beyond measure. In a more realistic and sensible way, I teach to honor my parents, my second parents, and those who taught me that poverty is never an impenetrable hindrance because we are all able to achieve our dreams and earn our degrees, that there are more practical things to learn over the theoretical ones, that generosity pays multiple times than what was given, and that what really inspire are the actions observed and not the words uttered. In short, I teach because I have been learning all my life.
I am an English teacher, and I teach the second language not to produce imitation native speakers but fully competent English-learned bilinguals. In my instructions, I do not emphasize English language totally as an end in itself but as a means to learn content, acquire knowledge, and master important communication skills. On the background of ensuring that students learn the fundamental content of the various language and literature courses, I also foster critical thinking skills, facilitate the students’ acquisition of essential lifelong learning skills such as teamwork and leadership, and prepare them to function as highly skilled and competent English communicators for both local and global social settings. In the same way, I strive to boost their self-confidence and self-respect. Equally, I do not overlook the importance of instilling the values and exemplary behavior worth emulating.
As a homeroom adviser, I always emphasize collaboration over competition. In practice, I assign performing students as mentors and study buddies of those who struggle with the lessons across the subject areas and those who seem to be halfhearted with their academics. In my homeroom class, my advisees are guided by our three pillars – solidarity, excellence, and gratitude. I teach them the value of teamwork and healthy group dynamics. In being solid and united across all their academic struggles, they excel and treasure more the moments that they trust their teams over the recognitions and awards. At the end of the day, I want them to be grateful and realize each other’s hard work and contribution, together with all the people who have been with them all throughout their journey.
I teach based on the three principles that I have learned through time. First, students’ learning always begins with a motivation that in turn is fueled by a two-fold factor –on one hand, a higher level of knowledge and skills, and on the other, the perceived application of such in real life situations. Second, students develop accountability for their own learning when they feel the trust and confidence bestowed upon them by the people around particularly their teachers. And lastly, students should not feel that the teachers have the monopoly of knowledge. In other words, teachers should afford students an opportunity to share their prior knowledge and help them validate soon after.
As what has been mentioned, motivation should come with both a higher level of knowledge and skills and the perceived application of such in real life situations. Students feel bored and demotivated when there is no challenge in learning at all because the same knowledge and the same skills are taught. Modern-day learners always look forward to learning something new, something that cannot be searched online in a click. With the spiral progression of learning in the new curriculum, students are expected to acquire knowledge and skills higher than those in the previous academic levels. Equally important, students should not just acquire these knowledge and skills for the purpose of assessment and academic achievements rather should realize how these can be applied in real life situations that, for instance, demand critical thinking, problem solving, and healthy social interactions.
Equally, students develop accountability for their own learning through time as they feel and experience being trusted by the people surrounding them, particularly their teachers. To trust students on their homework and during assessments can somehow be difficult for most teachers. I have observed as well how students cheat for them to get higher scores. In my classes however, I have witnessed that what students long for is trust. Students deserve trust and respect in many ways. Teachers should respect their individual differences most particularly in terms of their learning paces and styles. Likewise, soon they feel that learning is more important over scores and that their teachers emphasize and demonstrate academic honesty, they develop accountability.
True enough, gone are the days when teachers would find themselves in the ivory tower and have the monopoly of knowledge in their classrooms. Contemporary teaching but requires collaborative sharing of knowledge between the teachers and the students. We cannot deny that we have gone so far in our information technology that our students enjoy the advantage of online search engines. However the case is, classrooms should remain an avenue for the validation through negotiation of meaning. In my classes, I have always given my students the opportunity to share their prior knowledge. Not only that they demonstrate their research skills, they also develop a sense of participation in the clarification and validation of the knowledge in the light of information explosion.
While these three principles always serve as a personal framework in my teaching practices, student learning has always been the end in mind. Generally, learning happens when there is a change in the perspective, the behavior, and the practices of the students. Effective teachers strive to motivate and engage all students in learning rather than simply accepting that others will always perform poorly. While students have their unique personalities and inclinations, effective teachers help them find the areas where they can really be successful. In much the same way, effective teachers have high expectations of students in terms of the academic standards and what awaits them outside the school —Marc Kenneth Marquez, Teaching Philosophy (Teacher Regularization Portfolio).