Fernando: Awareness


THERE’S a saying that goes “a jack of all trades is a master of none.” Accordingly, people who have a lot of trades are generalists, not specialists. The positive side is that they know a lot of things but since they spend their time learning these other things, the downside is they can’t focus on one particular thing so they fail to become master of it. People who want to become the best in their work need awareness of the nature of their job so that they can develop focus. This means they do not engage on things that are not significant to their work.

Teaching as a profession is immense enough to spend the entirety of a teacher’s focus. I talk about teaching because this happens to be my job. This of course, is not limited to teaching but applies to all kinds of profession. Aside from the world created by teaching, there’s the family that takes away whatever left of their time. Family time is less demanding when a teacher is single. A teacher’s world is therefore compose of two major entities, family and teaching work. If a teacher engages himself/herself with activities or passion other than these teaching work and family, and let’s say he/she devotes himself/herself to it, I would say that he/she will not perform effectively as a teacher or as a family person. Okay, let’s give exception to those who have extraordinary talent and skill to balance their time. We know why teachers unceasingly demand for a salary raise. The job is notoriously too demanding. Too asking for energy, effort, and time. It takes away most of the teacher’s limiting him/her to participate fully in other engagements. A teacher may do so but time is always scarce. For instance, work does not end after teachers log out from work. They need to prepare for the next day’s work. When they get home, they often think of school and paper works and there is also the family that needs our attention. So much attention. Part of this awareness is understanding what are significant to teaching and not.

Sometimes, engaging in sports activities is not irrelevant since as a teacher, he/she needs to stay healthy, in mind and body.

Teachers try to balance their time between school and family and oftentimes they have hard time figuring out how to do it. It is good when a teacher is contented of being a teacher, say a teacher who never have any plan of getting promoted. There is less pressure in doing innovative works. But there’s a whole lot of reasonable reasons why a teacher wants to get promoted. First is the justice of getting to the next level especially if experience and tenure justifies so.

Second, it has something to do about capacity, ability, and deserve. Third is the fact that promotion can mean more financial support for the family members, and (finally) perhaps because it just feels fulfilling to be promoted. If a teacher has these things in mind, even one of these, even if they are too shy to admit it, fact is they want it too.

First thing to bear in mind if an educator wants to be in the mix of those who want to test the water, weigh the system, awareness is the key. Awareness begets focus. I have read that one way of getting what we want, like you, who want to get that “P”, as in promotion is “F”, as in focus. Focusing is keeping away with things that are not related to your work, like too many night out or too much friendly chatters. Don’t get me wrong. It’s good to get away with our routine sometimes because it can take away stress. It can provide us with wider and fresh perspectives. The question is how often. Family may hinder us to give our whole time to our work but we can never call it as “deviation” because family as I pointed out is an integral part of our world being family-oriented individuals. Since we cannot call our families as hindrance, we may try to learn balancing our time, focus, and energy between them. We call those activities not related to our work as distractions.

Every person is living in a world defined by their work and values. For a teacher, the world necessarily rotates on two; family and work. The work involves school, students, administration, co-workers, paper works, lesson plans, seminars and trainings, personal development, and education. I presume we have now a better grasp why many teachers remain single. For others, it’s a choice. For many, they don’t just have enough time for that kind of love. Now if we are doing something else today that in our minds they are alien to the teachers’ world, we may not be functioning well as educators due to commitment factor and that “p” will not happen very soon unless association and luck are on our side. Focus is not my forte I think but I’m trying to fix it through time management. I have too many interests in life that I’m not willing to give up just yet. Other branches of study and knowledge are so tempting. Sports and entertainment are seductive. Financial literacy is too necessary.

If we want to be on top of our chosen field, make sure we spend most of our time in this field. We divert our interest and effort to these field alone. To do this, we need awareness. Our choice is to become generalists who know a lot of crafts or to become specialist who focus on one turf. A jack of all trades but a master of none or one who may not know things and stuffs but a master of one.


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