Our goal for 2021: to learn more and expand our horizons (last of three parts)

(Continued from January 17, 2021)

Naimbag nga bigat, mga kabsat (Good morning, my fellow Ilocanos)!
Harking back on what we talked about last week, I have suggested four (4) items in our bucket list for us educators. As for those who are non-educators, these items apply to them, too, because they have the power to impact lives (albeit without a professional teacher’s license) and they, too, are also purveyors and channels of learning.

Now that we are about to end our three-part series on our goals for 2021, I would like us all to be ready to expand our personal and professional horizons. A tall order it may seem at first, broadening our horizons is easily done in small, sure, and deliberate steps. With constancy and discipline, we could be able to do so without realizing that we are on the sure path to success.

We all have to realize that neither should we be so much in a hurry nor be as complacent as Juan Tamad or any wealthy royal wastrel wanting to while away time with no care in the world. Though we educators (and other specialized professionals as well as the average Joe or Jane) have unwritten yet firmly set standards in terms of achievements, credentials, and career progress, we must remember that we cannot compare ourselves to our peers or especially our superiors or other fellow professionals. When we compare ourselves to others (and even to our friends), it is like comparing a Toyota Vios or a Honda City to a Land Rover or a Tesla S. Though we have some of our mentors or peers as our benchmarks, we must all remember that competing with ourselves is much better than competing with others, which may lead to regret, frustration, or even animosity.

How, then, should we expand our personal and professional horizons?
Let me share with you eight (8) tips on how we can expand our personal and professional horizons without sacrificing integrity, quality, and substance in our vocation as educators:

  1. Reinvent ourselves. If ever we are known as the stiff-lipped, sardonic sage or the tenuous, tension-filled tyro, we must look at ourselves and deep within. It helps that we change for the better and gain confidence without sacrificing humanness and compassion towards the people we serve. We educators need to develop physical agility, emotional flexibility, constant presence of mind, and thick skin so that we are able to become a better version of us teachers. Reinventing ourselves also helps us with our image and our branding without coming across as dense or superficial.
  2. Develop more and more skills. As educators, we need to become versatile and flexible because having only one skill would result in further career agony. Being adept in technology- such as video editing, facilitating online classes, creating animated productions, or developing apps- is a surefire way of guaranteeing that we teachers would remain as relevant and abreast as we aspire to be.
  3. Learn more than one language. It has been proven time and again that learning other languages other than our native tongue and English result in increased brain power and decreased risk of degenerative conditions associated with memory and thinking. The beauty of learning other languages, Philippine or international, makes us realize that there are a lot of differences in grammar, context, and tone and a lot of nuances among dialects. To set matters straight for those who confuse languages with dialects, the two terms are vastly different from one another because a language is a separate entity while a dialect is just a variety of a language. Why don’t we learn new languages and, who knows, we could be just as competent as the native speakers and even carve out a new career out of it?
  4. Join professional organizations related to our passions. As educators, we all need to belong and be in the know- and know whom we need to know- as we drive on the road to our professional success. The organizations that we intend to join must be those that are credible, trustworthy, stable, and free from politics and bootlicking. There are some organizations that are dubious or, at worst, predatory and exploitative because they prioritize prestige and profit over professionalism and propriety. We must join organizations not to merely snag CPD points or to be in the spotlight but to develop our social, communication, and cognitive skills further.
  5. Start side hustles. We cannot always cajole our respective schools, the Department of Education (DepEd), the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), or our respective local government units to raise our salaries annually because they have other much more pressing matters to attend to. Because we are naturally flexible and adaptable, we educators must learn how to be entrepreneurial not only for survival but also for added skills development. There have been many teachers who have become successful entrepreneurs- such as Merle Alferez, Rosalind Wee, and Myrna “Mommy Negosyo” Tam-Natividad- and have never been more successful in their lives. No one is more responsible for our success than we ourselves.
  6. Try applying for other work, especially for those out of work. It is better to be rejected after having tried than to not try at all. Fear must be conquered but without having to be devoured by it or having to pretend to be 500% fearless. If ever we become disheartened over rejection for a position, let us keep on trying. But if we choose the entrepreneurial route, let us be braver and more willing to take risks. As long as we keep on trying, success will be sweeter than honey.
  7. Read more. We must not confine ourselves to just reading work-related literature. It is great to read other types of offline and online literature that would stimulate us, such as research journals, professional magazines, and newspapers. Reading more empowers us because we gain more ideas and are able to become well-rounded.
  8. Volunteer for worthy causes in our spare time. It feels great to receive blessings, but it feels much better to give our time, talent, and treasure (even just one is okay as long as it comes from our hearts) to the less-fortunate people in our community. For those who are still jobless, it is better to spend time volunteering than moping and self-pitying. This year, we have no excuse to be self-absorbed and close-minded towards the people around us who have suffered greatly from the effects of the pandemic.
    Let us all usher in 2021 fully with open minds and clean hearts!#

If you have suggestions in terms of the education-related topics that you want me to feature, please feel free to send me an email to edteo.ramos@yahoo.com or to coachjet.inspirations@gmail.com and I will reply to you as soon as I receive your email.