As the first year of teaching in the Teach for the Philippines (TFP) fellowship comes to an end, I have learned five set of important things on myself, team, students, school community, and change. It is not a secret that teaching does not only involve classroom instruction and management, but also the dynamics which contribute to the efficiency and effectiveness of our work in helping bring transformational learning to our students. It is important for me to look into these five different factors as I reflect on the year that has been because each area reveals growth in the teacher that I have become and the work that I do.
On myself, I learned about self determination and personal accountability.
I discovered that I should be managing my focus, expectations, and resolutions so that I would be able to contribute in the fulfillment of my students’ dreams and aspirations. I learned that this phase of my life as a teacher will demand a different me, set of priorities, and crowd. Being more honest of my goals for my profession and for my students have led me to be more accountable and responsible in how I spend my time, energy, and resources.
On my team, I learned about faith in others and humility.
I discovered that I should be allowing myself to be wrong so I could finally learn and improve in how I am serving my students. I learned to reach out and communicate what I don’t know which helped equipped my teammates to know how to exactly help me. I learned to trust the people who are with me on my mission for the children and our country by letting myself learn from each of their expertise and applying them in my personal and professional life.
On my students, I learned about tough and persevering love.
I discovered that I should really work hard in ensuring that all my students equally feel that they have someone who they could count on to help actualize their dreams. I realized that I need to be forgiving of myself and the students as we move along the school year because not everything could be as accomplished as we hope things could be. I also learned to challenge my strategies and approaches in facilitating learning because inclusivity requires differentiation. I learned to accept that as a teacher, I can only do so much but in what I can do, I should give my all.
On our school community, I learned about sharing resources and lives.
I discovered that the best way to rally and mobilize people is to care for the things which are important to them so that they would be validated about their struggles and hopes. I learned that identifying with them helped all of us to engage in more meaningful discussions and resolutions of how we can all work together for the good of the students. I found out that we are truly never alone in the weight of the work we have ahead of us.
On change, I learned about purpose and courage.
I discovered that I should embrace the unique capabilities I can bring to the table as a teacher and education advocate and “allow them to mean something to others”, as how Ms. Dane Maaño have expressed it. I learned that there’s a lot of things we could only make sense of only after we have bravely pursued and fulfilled the locus of responsibility entrusted to us that is different from the others. I learned that I have to continuously choose on persevering because every next big thing is made up of the small things we each have left our fingerprints on.
All the aspects of my life started to make more sense in retrospect as I honored my pace and the system that many people are continuously contributing in their different ways so that we could provide an avenue for all students to have an excellent and relevant education.
I am grateful to have experienced so many things in the TFP fellowship which affirmed, adjusted, and changed my beliefs and perspectives. While there are still so many things yet to be grasped and learned in the next year to come, I am thankful for the tears and joys of the grands and in-betweens because it made me appreciate the growth process of leading learning.