Issue of April 16, 2017
Mt. Province

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What matters most

Jonathan Kozol said that “The hidden curriculum is the teacher’s own integrity and lived conviction. It is the message which is written in a teacher’s eyes throughout the course of his or her career. It is the lesson which endures a lifetime.”

Many of my well-remembered memories are the ones I experienced during my elementary and high school years; some of them made me smile while others I was actually trying to forget or erase from my consciousness. I realized much later in my life that, in fact, those experiences have formed part of who I am today – the way how I think, the way how I see things around me. Part of my character was formed by what I observed from my teachers. It was not from what they taught me in the classroom through formal lesson that they delivered every day, but from how they related with me, how they treated me, and how I saw them behaving in the community.

One thing that I learned from my teachers was their trust on me that I could excel in whatever I do. They motivated me to use every opportunity to learn. There was no time and space for mediocrity. It was more than just a matter of creating a good condition or mind-setting for maximum learning.

Those positive and optimistic attitudes towards me increased my self-confidence. They believed that I could excel in my studies and be successful in life. This is one of the hidden curriculum that I want to convey.

Teachers, when dealing with students with different learning abilities, try to employ different strategies to motivate them to learn. But good strategies should be coupled with the confidence that students can learn the lessons imparted to them. More often than not, misbehaving or problematic students can change for better. Showing that you believe in them pays off well when the students begin to come out of their comfortable mediocrity – afraid of trying it out or afraid of making mistakes – and start to explore their potentials. They start to envision a path to walk through later in their lives. They do not only change for the better but succeed in their field.

Sometimes teachers are frustrated in dealing with their students. They get a little harsh in talking with them. Often they are misunderstood as being heartless. However, deep inside them lies the good intention to make their students learn.

One of the biggest challenges of teaching is not when students fail in their academic performance, but when students think that they are helpless, and that they cannot excel, or that they cannot explore a better career than that of their parents. A good educator always reinforces what is good in students. Students may fail along their career path but the good seeds planted in them will grow and finally bear fruit, because they will never stop trying until they succeed.

What matters most in education are the lessons of life that we learn from our teachers. These lessons of life are the hidden curriculum that we will never forget throughout our lives.

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