How much of your daily lessons have been filled with inspiration that you went beyond the curricular requirement and gave your students an extraordinary gift?
One of my mentors, Ms. Marvz Trinidad, posted a very striking question on Facebook a couple of weeks back and the moment I read the question, I knew I needed to save it and reflect on it. It got me in the head and as a teacher, I do need to ask myself if I’m really doing my job well.
The first part of the question “How much of your daily lessons have been filled with inspiration…?” struck me because I realize that in my 7 years of teaching, I felt that I rarely have those kind of lessons. Inspiration is something intrinsic but as a teacher, it is my responsibility to bring that out from my students because even if getting inspired is intrinsic, it can be influenced somehow by what they experience inside the classroom. And as the facilitator of learning, I need to think of ways to motivate my students to learn the lessons. This brings more questions than answers actually. In the past 7 years, how many of my students got inspired from my teaching? How many moments when students were motivated to attend my classes? Did I become an inspiration, a model worth following to my students? Looking back, if I had to assess my self, my score would be too low.
Despite of that, I know I wasn’t a bad teacher either. In my 5th year of teaching, I came across a boy who attended first grade for three years. He was already 10 years old and he couldn’t pass and move forward for the reasons I won’t reveal. In his 4th year as a Grade 1 student, I became his teacher and to make the story short, he learned how to write and read and of course, passed. The following year when he was already in 2nd Grade, he still kept on coming back to my classroom we always talk about what he wants to become and what his dreams are. It was one of those moments when I could say to myself that I have done my part. I might not be able to influence all of my students but at least, I have made a significant impact on someone, even if it’s just one child at a time.
The second part of the question “…you went beyond the curricular requirement and gave your students an extraordinary gift?” is a challenging one because whether we like it or not, we have a lot of things to do as a teacher. Going beyond the curricular requirement might mean doing other things like extra-curricular activities and paper works. That’s one thing that is inevitable but when it comes to our students, going beyond curricular requirement seems difficult. What does “giving students an extraordinary gift” exactly means? I think that goes back to making students motivated and inspired to come to our class. In order for us to do that, we need to think about their learning styles, backgrounds and prior knowledge. We need to consider what will keep them want to learn and what they want to learn from us.
In the past years, what kind of extraordinary gifts did I give to my students? Only my students can tell but every time I receive sweet “Thank you” messages from them and from their parents, I know I have given them something (whatever is that) and it’s enough to keep me going and do better. I really do hope that the time and effort I spend with them is already a gift.
When God came on earth and became a teacher himself, the profession of teaching becomes noble, prophetic and heroic. And as teachers, we have a great mission to fulfill. Just like Jesus who sacrificed himself to die for us to give us the gift of freedom, we, teachers, also give a part of ourselves for the benefit of our students.
Merry Christmas to all teacher-heroes around the world!