an essay for entering a university

“An essay for entering a university”

            I love teaching. Perhaps, this passion ran through my veins since I was born or, if not, this is something I learned to endear along the way.

            When I was young, my friends and I always do role plays, with me as the teacher and the others as my students. It was fun. I find myself just smiling childishly every time I look back on those memories. I haven’t thought that it was already building a strong desire for me to become a real teacher then.

            According to John C. Maxwell, author of  The 17 Essential Qualities of a Team Player (Introduction XI), “Developing a better team always begins with you. To improve the team, improve the individuals on the team.”  These lines have truly been a good motivator to me as I took each step towards my goal of becoming an educator who is reflective, collaborative, concerned with social justice, caring and inclusive.

ON BEING REFLECTIVE AND COLLABORATIVE

            There was an instance during my college days that, in a class, we were given a group assignment. Particularly, we are told to do a dramatization of a life story of a great mathematician.

            As we go through with the groupings, I find myself a bit out of place. I belonged to a group of truly dominant persons, those that talk more than they should, leaving no room for others like me. Normally, I felt frustrated. However, as the group continued planning what to play, I came to realize that speaking out what’s in my mind could somehow help. And so I tried. Clearing up my throat, I started to say, “Ehem, guys how about reflecting first on the life of Pythagoras before planning what props or other stuffs to bring during the play.” I couldn’t believe it at first that I heard myself speaking those words. Deep in my mind I was thinking they might reject my idea or, worst, would laugh out loud. But I was wrong, the leader of our team silenced everyone as he made a thought of what I just said and later commended me for giving such simple yet goal-oriented idea. From that, one person to another started donating his/her idea till we all come up with the final view on what to play and how to do every detail of it.

            That I dared to speak my mind is the start of it all. It was truly a great experience since first; I learned that being reflective means not talking more. It is simply, thinking first before saying a single word. It pays to be wise before acting and so it is better to reflect before bubbling. Secondly, I learned how valuable it is to collaborate. Again, let me quote Maxwell’s line from same book I mentioned earlier, this one is cited on page 13-14 entitled Collaborative: Working Together Precedes Winning Together (Fleshing It Out), “Cooperation is working together agreeably. Collaboration is working together aggressively. Collaborative teammates do more than just work with one another. Each person brings to the table that adds value to the relationship and synergy to the team. The sum of truly collaborative teamwork is greater than its parts.”

            I find it therefore essential, that as an educator, one should learn first the value of being a good team member.

ON BEING CONCERNED WITH SOCIAL JUSTICE

            Being a piano lesson teacher, I also learned how to deal with conflicts among my students just as I have been to it before. One day, I gave my class a lesson about listening to different tones of the chords. Seemingly, they learned and were bright enough to perform individually with enthusiasm during our class recital. However, a squabble rose right after I have given the highest regard to the student who did the best job. Everyone seems not to agree on my decision. They speculated that I have been too unfair for choosing Kristel as the best among them. Normally, my dear student cried for being doubted by her classmates of her credibility. And so I brought the matter into a whole class of reflecting and open forum. I gave every one the opportunity to speak out his/her view regarding what it means to be the best in piano playing. And there, I found out that the root of it all is simply jealousy. All of them wanted to be the best and not wanting to be regarded as the second best. Too childish to consider yet I found it a great privilege to exhort my authority as the judge among them. I explained to them why I find Kristel the best yet I also uplift the rest that they are all the best in his/her own way and style. By that circumstance, I truly learned the value of being a firm yet just teacher.

ON BEING CARING

            Being corrected of my mistakes has been one of the things I hated before. I do really find it humiliating to be told that I am wrong until I came across a passage in the Bible that says, “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid.” Proverbs 12:1. Reflecting on that, I gained a fresh understanding regarding discipline. It was then that I started to accept that every time someone corrects me, that someone simply cares about me.

            One example of this was when I first enroll in a piano class during my teenage years. I was just so eager to learn the principles of playing it but I find quite resented every time my teacher hits my fingers for not pressing the right keys. I would then heavily drop my hands on the keys that it made an annoying sound. Of course, the matter proceeded to a one-on-one conversation between me and my teacher. I remember her telling me, looking straight to my eyes, “You have the potential to be a good pianist but you will never become a great one until you learn to appreciate my way of discipline. You know why I hit your fingers when you press the wrong keys? It is because I care for you and I just want you to be at the top of your potentials.” Tough love yet that’s how it is when one is being trained to be at his best. That moment, my mind imprinted the idea that discipline and correction is just another spelling for love and care. Eventually, I became a piano lesson teacher today and it’s just a great thing that I was able to let my students understand that my way of discipline is my style of showing that I truly love them and I care that they’d be also at the top of their potentials. The result is, every one of them learned quicker than they should.

ON BEING INCLUSIVE

            Covering all important points in my lessons is the most important thing for me. I see to it that all of my students learn every detail of the topic for that day. By attaining so, I am quite sure that they are always at the top of their potentials whenever, wherever.

            Way back years ago when I was in preparation for my high school entrance test, I remember how much I murmured behind the back of my teacher for being so meticulous with the subjects we are reviewing. I thought that I am capable and grown up enough that I don’t have to review anymore. The one week refresher class was just a whole bunch of burden for me until I came to realize that I was wrong. The day of the exam is here. I was seated in the front row, sweating, pressured, and intensely nervous thinking I might fail. The test paper is distributed; I stared at it closely and almost jump out of my seat seeing that I knew most of the answers to the questions. Going through each number confidently, I whispered a little prayer thanking God that our refresher teacher had been so inclusive with the matter. If not for that, I must have failed since there are points during the test wherein I remember that I haven’t learned those lessons before the refresher class.

SOURCES

The 17 Essential Qualities of a Team Player (Introduction XI);

 Collaborative: Working Together Precedes Winning Together (Fleshing It Out,

 p 13-14),  John C . Maxwell

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