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abel d soto
abel soto NOBODY CAN deny the fact that teaching is the most powerful instrument to change something into another thing. Definitely more powerful than any disease that has ever been known to man.

The effectiveness of teaching relies greatly on the magnanimity of words. Again, another undeniable fact.

There is immense power in teaching because there is also great power in words. The weight of teaching comes from the validity and factuality of words and its relationship and significance to a certain contextual paradigm and situation that affrim or deny whatever it is that teaching and words are trying to prove or disprove.

Words and teachings create meanings and substance. And created meanings occur through the accuracy and appropriateness of linguistic significance found in the connectedness and interconnectedness of words carefully chosen to reveal their power to teach whatever it is that is necessary to be learned and to be relearned by man.

Here is one truism that I have proven time and again as a teacher: words and teachings could appraise or raise the state of a person's mental capacity to believe and accept and/or reject or deny what s/he is and what s/he is not, what s/he would and would not like to be.

Pragmatically speaking, teaching is said to be most effective if learning happens not only to the learners but also to the one who facilitates it. And learning begins through simple awareness and discovery of something.

This is another reality that I have realized repeatedly in this so called noblest profession or vocation.

This profession made me realize that no matter how small the amount of learning is facilitated to a group of willing learners, awareness could still be instilled, and thus learning could happen. And no matter how simple the learning is gained in trying to understand something so as to improve another thing, it would still continue to provide hope to humanity to never succumb to desperation and cling on to indifference and apathy to self-destruction.

To wit, I have discovered the sometimes ignored fact that learning, like any alcoholic beverage, could intoxicate an individual to consciously redeem what was lost, to prevent losing what it is that could be lost, and to rescue whatever it is man is presently losing, especially if the "man" we are talking about here is the "hope of the Fatherland" who could save humanity from an early demise.

I am happy that I became an English teacher. I know that I am able to make my students realize the importance and the power that lie in words. I am certain that I am able to inculcate in them how to have respect for words. I am happiest because I am sure that I am not only able to teach them grammar and literature lessons, but most importantly, lifelong learnings that transcend the boundaries of my subject matter. My students are my living proof to this.

It is my belief that a teacher is happiest if s/he will be remembered not simply as a subject teacher but more so as a teacher of life, love, and learning. This is also the highest and the most fulfilling award that any teacher could receive. This is also his diploma every graduation, a diploma from life itself. This is graduation to the fullest and noblest sense of the word for any teacher of life, love, and learning could experience.

Once, when I was in Dumaguete giving a seminar to public school teachers there, one of the teachers gave me something that for me was priceless: it was a poem/prayer that was framed and with matching personalized designs. I am reprinting the poem/prayer here because I believe it is worth doing so.

A Teacher's Prayer
By James J. Metcalf


I want to teach my students how—
To live this life on earth,
To face its struggles and its strife
And to improve their worth.

Not just the lesson in a book,
Or how the rivers flow,
But to choose the proper path,
Wherever they may go.

To understand eternal truth,
And know right from wrong,
And gather all the beauty of
A flower and a song,

For if I help the world to grow
In wisdom and grace,
Then I feel that I have won
And I have filled my place.

And so I ask your guidance, God
That I may do my part,
For character and confidence
And happiness of heart.

*

I always pray this prayer before I leave the house, before fulfilling my responsibilities as a teacher. I believe the prayer served its purpose on me more than I can ever imagine.

Allow me now to share three inspirational pieces that I am sure will inspire not only teachers like me and Ma'am Cecile but also anyone who has been in any way affected by a teacher.

Here they are:

1 Corinthians, Chapter 13 (A Teacher's Paraphrase)
Fr. Ron Nuzzi


If I could explain everything perfectly to my students, but did not love each one of them, I might as well be talking to an empty room. If I could find all the answers to educational problems and did not love, my efforts would be futile. If I could buy every kind of educational aid and sacrificed to do so, but did not have love for my students, it would be a complete waste.

Love is patient: when it is necessary to repeat a concept over and over to a student who is having difficulty. Love is kind: when an irate parent accuses and berates other teachers or me. Love is not jealous when the other teacher has an entire class of well-behaved and extremely intelligent children while mine are not so great.

Love is not proud or boastful when my students improve greatly and really want to come to my class. Love is willing to yield my schedule and plans to fit in with the needs of others. Love does not scream at my class when they misbehave, but seeks to help them understand the importance of self-discipline.

Love does not broadcast all of my students' problems and misdeeds to those in the lounge. Love keeps trying even when it seems a student will never understand long division or the difference between an adverb and an adjective.

Teaching methods, bulletin boards, textbooks, yes, even computers, will eventually be discarded, but love is everlasting. These three things I have learned through teaching: endurance, patience and love. And the greatest of these is love.

*

Teacher's Prayer
Author Unknown


Lord, please help me,
To strengthen their voices,
bodies and minds,
To express their feelings and
control them sometimes,
To explore what's near
and venture afar,
But most important to love
who they are.

*

Jars
By Abel D. Soto


We teachers are jars,
half-empty,
half-filled...
thirsting...
waiting...
to be filled
with something
other than ourselves,
like the "otherness"
of others or
something more
than who we are
and what we have,
so we could be:
complete, whole,
enough to be
jars of God's works,
of God's word...
of Godís will.

*

I congratulate all the graduates this academic year 2008-2009, but most especially the teachers who tried their best to make a difference in the lives of their students.

Graduates, fellow teachers, facite diferentem!


[About the author. Abel D. Soto took up his certificatory double major course in Creative Writing and Performing Arts at Centre for Arts Foundation, Inc. in Quezon City. He also finished the Managing the Arts Program at the Asian Institute of Management in Makati City. He is a resident of Bacolor, Pampanga.]

-Posted: 11:55 PM 4/9/09 | More of this author on eK!
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