On Becoming a 21st Century Educator


I haven’t had a slightest hint of becoming an educator. But when I discovered that I’ve got knack for it, it didn’t surprise me anymore and thoughts of shifting career (or vocation) were shelved.

For one, I was born to a bloodline of educators. My grandparents, aunts, uncles and few more relatives raised their families as public school teachers. There were just two professions during those times, teaching and others. And they opted to teach in far flung government-run schools. So I guess, the passion for learning and sharing what I learned is already embedded in my DNA.

I liked it that way! Although the past eight years of my teaching didn’t render itself as a fairytale, it did lead me towards discovery of my purpose and calling. I honestly struggled at first, because I have high regards of what I can do and must do. I dreamt of becoming a lawyer once that’s why I took an arts program in Political Science. Then, I wanted to do Organizational Psychology as I loved thinking about systems and structures. I’ve traded all of those to what I call now, my passion.

As an educator, I live by principles from what I have read, learnt, and observed. I didn’t finish with a degree in education that is why I have to make up for what I don’t have. I took additional education units where the subject called educational philosophy grounded my views on education. My bachelor’s degree on the other hand trained me to work on theories and models to apply into action. Just recently, I earned my master’s from Palawan State University. I could say that I chose to become better in handling my craft. I have learnt to teach purposively grounded on novel ideas on teaching and learning.

Over the years, my philosophy as a teacher was formed from reading directly from sources, learning from mentors in the academe, observation and practice. It was intentional. It was my decision to. Teachers, no matter how fledgling or advanced, must be able to form their personal frame or mindset of teaching. Over the years, I was able to articulate my own set of core values. Let me share these to readers who are teachers and parents. I feel strongly that teachers must possess 5Cs, namely: competence, compassion, creativity, commitment, and Christ-like character. These are the characteristics we need to see in teachers today.

competent teacher has a passion for lifelong learning. He continues to learn. He has a manifold of resources. He is not delimited by his field of expertise but finds out more. He is always curious. His classroom work, no matter how small-scale it is, is evidence-based. He is an advocate of research-based teaching and produces his own action research, not just for publication but as a tool to measure his yearly performance.

 

compassionate teacher takes time to know his students personally. He spends time with them not only as a professional worker but more so a family member who is willing to walk with them for life. He is a confidante. He knows what the learner values and gives equal importance to that. He knows them by name. When asked about their favorite color or food, he can answer it.

 

creative teacher connects concepts to real life scenarios and simulate real-life situations in the classroom. He has this certain degree of preparing his students from actual situations and how his students would best decide. He may not need to teach the way out, but he has created a situation, an activity, or a task where the learner can apply insight and wisdom to sort his way out.

 

committed teacher builds a student’s life by equipping them according to their needs and abilities. He gives priority to the usually un-loveables inside the classroom. He takes time to tutor and even to differentiate instructions.

 

A teacher possesses a character that is Christ-like. In face of new realities around the children of this generation, a teacher must be able to answer them and model to them sound behaviours. In the face of a very fluid world, a teacher must be able to show how is it to stand firmly to a universal truth.

 

The 21st century must be highly imaginative, proactive, edgy and trailblazing without losing sight of the needs of the children of today–children who are very different, with their very diverse and distinct personality and with a language of their own.

 

In my years of teaching, the most dangerous question I heard from a student would probably be this, “Teacher, what does the future hold for me?” I could say that the trickiest of tasks is not to prepare students for competencies, but to assist them in addressing life’s most complex question. Teachers have this unwritten rule that as much as we aspire to hand out a diploma, we’d like to touch our students’ lives.

 

And we influence the greatest with what we show, not just what we teach.

 

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