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

(Continued from January 10, 2021)

Last week, we discussed the importance of looking back at the year that was. It would be a mortal sin to not reflect on the hits and misses that our educational stakeholders have committed, whether deliberately or inadvertently. Why we are up on our feet about the state of education during the pandemic is not because of canards that have spread but because we base the state of education on our own present, pervading experiences as students, teachers, administrators, or parents of students.
We have also talked about learning more, but in terms of cerebral development. This time, we would also like to emphasize that learning more is also about enhancing our attitudes, behaviors, and values. We educators may be underrated and underpaid most of the time, but we have so much value that we need to become a brilliant diamond, not the bottom of a glass or a faux pearl, by pursuing further education and by learning by working with all types of stakeholders.

As we learn, we must grow both in faith and age.

Here is my bucket list for us teachers as we journey through our vocations and pass through muddy terrain, sharp stones, bulging boulders, and less-than-pacific waters:

The first in our bucket list as teachers is for us to pursue graduate studies. This is one of the best ways to learn about our craft. In my case, I intend to go back to school and earn a doctorate. I must admit that I have been set back by my insecurities and my busyness that I have almost forgotten to apply for a doctorate. If we want to learn more in terms of our field and to improve on our strategies and techniques, then we must push ourselves and pursue advanced degrees. It is sad to note, though, that there are many educators who pursue advanced degrees, especially doctorate degrees, just to advance in their careers and just to prove to everyone that they are high and mighty. As a result, they unwittingly become perpetrators of academic bullying and purveyors of academic elitism.

The second in our bucket list is to start working as a team, regardless of our differences and competencies. Arrogance, dominance, and politics have no place in the academe because we are all competent, equal, and deserving of respect and autonomy. We are used to seeing some teachers lord it over like king lions and queen bees, and younger and older teachers are guilty of this major travesty. As a result, their fellow teachers tend to cower in fear of them or become defiant altogether. Even deans, department heads, and other superiors are especially guilty of this. Instead of promoting synergy, they sap so much energy that they unknowingly cause enmity and disunity.

The third in our bucket list for this year is to start listening instead of injecting one’s opinions and insisting that one is right all the time. We teachers may be beacons of best behavior and undying professionalism, but such cannot be an excuse for being a pushy pedant or a sanctimonious superior towards the people we serve and the people we work with. We all need to learn how to be empathetic towards our colleagues and most especially our students by lending our ears with sincerity. We must listen not to eventually harp on someone’s personal or academic issues but to seek to understand as much as we can be understood.

The fourth in our bucket list is to keep on reading about issues in society and especially in education. We may not instantly fathom what is happening around us, but reading would help us keep our perspectives as open and objective as possible without finger-pointing or pillorying others for their roles in certain educational issues. We must couple our reading with concrete action, such as research, reform implementation, and revision of our programs and even our curricula.

It is very important that we learn from the people around us because we teachers are expected to be well-rounded, well-versed, and well-informed.
For 2021, my utmost wish is for us all to be more resilient, steely, and optimistic as the pandemic ends (or will gradually end, as dictated by God and by fate).

Next week, I will discuss the eight tips on how we can expand our professional and personal horizons as teachers. (to be continued)

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.