Education: Key for Professional Growth
DIANA KRIS GASTON LIMOS
Aside from dedication, resilience and diligence, a teacher must be—above all—an expert in her field of specialization, not that students would deem her as a sage in the classroom, but rather a competent facilitator who knowsmostlearners’ needs. That being said, what teachers need is an awareness of their own needs. A need to be continuously educated.
The poststructuralist Michel Foucault (1977) asserted that discourse in different fields especially in the academe must take the path of continuity for it is only through continuity that we can better track and evaluate the specifics history, science, art, and literature. Hence, continuity in the fields that we pursue is the answer for our growth. To begin with, growth will not take place without development. To develop a bigger rocket, we need greater energy, for trees to grow accordingly, they must be well nourished, for an educator to grow professionally, she must continuously hone her education. She must become learned not that we expect her to be an entity who has a monopoly of knowledge about her field of specialization (that would be unrealistic), but to make her aware that although deemed as a professional, she is still ignorant about what she thinks she knows, and continuous learning will serve as a way to reduce this ignorance. If one is aware of her own ignorance regardless of her rank, she can do something about it.She can remedy it with education.She can arm herself with knowledge. Even Socrates thought that the beginning of knowledge is the awareness of one’s ignorance.
A teacher must know that in her world, knowledge is not absolute, students are not standardized entities, and there is no one model of clarity for classroom instructions. Education in general—like art, language, science, and technology—grows and changes. This is because like people, education progresses. And there cannot be any progress without developments; without improvements. If one wishes to grow professionally, she must play her part. There are two essential ideas for a facilitator’s growth. First, she mustpursue graduate studies not for the sole purpose of earning merits, but for gaining the needed knowledge and competence to keep up with the ever changing teaching world. Because achievements are utterly useless without one proving that she deserves such. That is the reason why we cannot trust an out of shape gym instructor to motivate us in an exercise program or a dentist without a diploma to extract a bad tooth. Second, she must read not just for the purpose of knowing a lesson, but for the purpose of developing herself as a learned individual. Much like an Epicurean credo, she must learn how to read for pleasure, and in turn, she will learn how to think for pleasure.
And arguably, we can be romantic about a lot of things: the notion that having a virtuous character is more important than gaining something; the notion that being a good person is what really matters. The problem is, we have too many good people in our society, but less competent ones. This is reflected on the way we decide who to vote or the way we know more about celebrities than our own artists, writers, scientists, and thinkers. As the physicist Brian Greene sees it, we idolize celebrities more than thinkers.That said, if we have more learned professionals, they would be the ones to share better sources of inspiration to students other than the agents of averageness that they see on local television. If we have more competent teachers efficiently utilizing their classroom instructions; effectively imparting knowledge, then students would see that learning is one of the things that makes us human.
We are, after all, thinking animals, as Aristotle puts it. If we have more teachers who are thinkers, then we would generate a society of thinkers; a continuity of producing learned individuals which will pave the way for an intellectual collective consciousness.It is good to dream.
Unfortunately, given our culture of meritocracy, that of valuing ranks and achievements over clear competences, we will not reach this good dream anytime soon.
But there is hope for us yet. We can start now.