Why I teach

It’s been 16 years since I graduated from college.  Yes, I’m that old if you do the math.  I’m that old but the freshness of the reason or the raison d’etre for my teaching still remains.  This morning, I talked to a former teacher of mine who’s now my co-teacher in the Senior High School department and our talk brought me back to those last few months in college and that passionate, zealous desire to come back to Cebu because I had two reasons:  to teach because I wanted to “change the world.”

I realized today that 16 years after and after so many failures, setbacks, burnout episodes and mistakes, that same reason still resonates within me.  That I love to teach and mentor younger people because I believe that by doing so I am creating ripples of change in society and doing my part in helping change the Philippines.

But I learned along the way that more important than changing this nation is first changing yourself and that by ourselves alone we cannot change.  Only God can do that by the power of His grace.

This afternoon, I watched and listened to my students in the STEM strand debate about the implementation of the Senior High School program.  There were several good speakers and I wanted to chime in and say, “why are you in the STEM strand when you’re so articulate and eloquent?”  But then I realized that why not?  As my brother Jim puts it: “We need more articulate and eloquent scientists and engineers in this nation.”  I told my class “the science and technology community needs people like you because maybe that’s the reason why there is a disconnect between the community and the academe because scientists cannot articulately explain their findings and inventions (to the eloquent scientists out there please do not get offended, this is for most of the scientists who have difficulty explaining their work in layman’s terms) to the community.”

Today’s activity made me reflect about my WHY for teaching these young minds and the vision that I made just before classes started.  I tweeted and posted it on Facebook tonight so I would be reminded over and over again about the reason why I go to school every day.  Here is my vision for my students in Senior High School this academic year.

This is what I’m praying for my SHS students and this is my vision for my classes:

My vision for PCGS’ SHS: Students who passionately love Jesus, love to learn, are smart, who have excellent character & are “men/women for others”.

I hope that these students can see themselves the way I see them:  that they have so much potential in them, so much creativity and intelligence and so much passion.  My constant prayer is that they’d encounter Jesus Christ and know His power, love and His dream for their lives and for this nation that it will totally change them and how they see things.  I hope that they see how precious and loved they are.  

That they’d see that studying in PCGS is not just because their parents want them there but in all things (like Romans 8:28) God orchestrated everything because He has a greater plan for their lives and that He will make everything beautiful in His time (Ecclesiastes 3:11).  

More than the lessons about social norms, Culture, politics and qualitative research this semester, my prayer (as what I told my students in the past) is that after they leave my classes, they would learn to love the Philippines, serve this nation and love God with a passion and a zeal that only young people like them have.  By then I will be able to say that I have taught well not only in “head knowledge level” but in the heart and character level as well. 🙂