Sunday, March 4, 2012

Teacher Essay: Reflections on Teaching

       Teachers nowadays are required to have a portfolio. This portfolio is a collection of everything about a teacher: his/her credentials, achievements, linkages and many other important and relevant information. Part of this portfolio is for the teacher to write his/her reflection on teaching. And let me share to you my own personal reflection and insights about teaching which I have written in my personal portfolio. These reflections are actually the views and philosophy I uphold about teaching as far as my experiences, values and my principles are concerned. You may or may not agree with me...

Teaching for me really isn’t just a profession. It is a vocation. It requires self-sacrifice, and being able to offer oneself for the sake of the students. This job may not be one of the highest paid jobs in this world, but I think it is on top of the most rewarding and self-fulfilling job man has created. It is so because teaching creates other professions. This may sound cliché but this really is true. We will never have doctors, lawyers, architects and any other profession if not for a teacher who has painstakingly taught us and saved us from ignorance.
Being a teacher as far as my experience is concerned has opened my eyes to a lot of things. A teacher who may have exemplary credentials on his/her back can never be sure if he/she will be successful inside the classroom. It hit me in my head that I should not be complacent about myself. That there are things I need to improve and change about myself. I need to think creatively, innovatively and resourcefully in order to make my class successful. I need to prepare each and every day. Every day is always a brand new day. What happens inside the classroom is always unpredictable.
For me, a true “called” teacher isn’t just a person who teaches and comply all the things required by the curriculum. It is very true that to be a teacher, one has to be competent: an expert of his/her subject matter, has a command on the medium of instruction, a manager of his/her own right inside the classroom and has mastered the art of pedagogy. And I think these teachers are many. However, I can’t ignore the fact that to be a teacher, one also has to have the right attitude, the enthusiasm to teach, the respect to the dignity of the teaching profession, the care and love for the students, and to love learning itself. And I must say these teachers are rare. How I wish that I may belong to these rare finds.
As a teacher I wish to win the hearts of my students. I want them to be inspired, to be genuinely motivated to learn. I want them to remember me as a kind of teacher who has made them learn not by coercion but rather by inspiration. To be honest, I would rather wish to win the hearts of my students than to win the hearts of my superiors. I teach not for my superiors to be impressed of me. I teach for my students. They are my honest and sincere critics. This drives me to improve myself more and more every single day that I am a teacher.

The mediocre teacher tells.  The good teacher explains.  The superior teacher demonstrates.  The great teacher inspires.  ~William Arthur Ward

I personally believe that teachers are most remembered not on how they have made students learn, but rather on how they have made the students feel. And because of this, I learned to be very sensitive with the way I deal with my pupils. I learned to let them feel the care, concern and warmth of a teacher. I may sometimes hurt my students’ feelings intentionally or unintentionally, but I hope they know that learning sometimes is a painful process. We have to offer sacrifices and that includes giving up our old, comfortable but wrong ways. And to wake ourselves up from these wrong ways, we have to slap our face (and I don’t mean this literallyJ). I sometimes do this not because I want to but I have to.
Based on my experiences, I learned that we need first and foremost to motivate our learners. As Horace Mann said, teaching learners without motivating and inspiring them is like hammering a cold iron. As a teacher, I need to make them appreciate and develop the love for learning. They will never, ever learn unless they allow learning to occur in their minds. Learning is an experience which occurs inside the learner and is activated by the learner. This poses me a challenge, that as a teacher, I really need to think of various, creative and enjoyable activities that can arouse my students’ desire to learn.
Finally, I personally adhere that teachers nowadays must focus on the moral and the value side of learning. Yes, it is true that we need to make our learners competent, equipped with all the skills and knowledge necessary for them to become globally competitive. However, we need to mold well-rounded individuals, future citizens that can raise and morally recover our world’s present condition. It is through values that our learners can create meaning and connect the content and skills they learn to their lives. That they can use their learning for the common good, and make positive changes not only to their lives or family’s lives, but rather to other people as well, and to the world as a whole. Without focusing on values, we teachers may create persons with big heads but small hearts, intellectual giants but emotional dwarfs.
To end this, I hope and pray that God will provide me more strength and power to fulfill this mission. Sometimes, part of being a teacher is accepting the reality that not all students will appreciate you. Some students may not listen to you, some will just forget you and the worst, some will disrespect and back-stab you. And as a human being, this weakens me as a teacher. But like God who was also a teacher Himself, He never hated His students despite the neglect and betrayal He experienced. I hope that I can also be the same despite of my shortcomings. Bearing in mind that teaching and making others learn without asking in return is enough as a reward itself.

A teacher's purpose is not to create students in his own image, but to develop students who can create their own image..  ~Author Unknown


  1. .., i can see u that teaching is really ur passion.. more power to ur career sir... u inspire an ordinary educ student like me..