Lola’s Lifelong Lesson

Zenaida the Teacher

What does it take to be a great teacher? For one awareness of their limitations and time constraints magnifies their strengths. Knowing that education spans past their fingertips, grasping minds wide as their influence. Only second to the guardian and that’s apparent, as children come with inherent gifts they inherit. What are some key qualities and features? Sharing enthusiasm wholeheartedly regardless of the magnitude of success. Feeding boundless appreciation especially to those who place an effort yet aren’t at their best. Displaying patience when replacing destructive acquired habits with constructive ones instead. What role do the parents play in it all? Set the precedent, initial weighted actions will be mirrored with innocent intent. Acknowledge that what they’ve said for years isn’t a waste of breath. Children follow first the example that’s been set, so be firm with affirmations and never second guess. How can all three parties work together? Openness to learn, establish clear lines of communication transparent not taciturn. Embrace the unknown, encourage inclusivity in diversity at work, school, and home. Be unafraid to fail, learning is an iterative process and that’s what it entails.

To the student that struggles with problem solving, sometimes things don’t need to add up to make sense. To the student that gets heated when they don’t get their way, cool down, don’t let entropy ruminate. To the student that’s always in their own head, note people cannot read your history like in documents. To the student that’s stuck in the past tense, don’t subject yourself to failure and positively predicate. To the student that always amplifies their shortcomings in trade for attention, strength condition within achievements and without compliments. To the student that thinks morning light interrupts the thoughts envisioned in their dreams, wake up now is the time to create. To the student that callously questions what they cannot comprehend, be unabridged with your actions and make amends. To the student that wavers when they raise their hand, as a figure of speech personified know that you’re brave and few can relate.

With a background in the Philippines and a foreground in the states, she set on her journey becoming only fixated on growth. Exemplified through action alone, making the most of her deficits by daring greater than a cause of her own. Teaching elementary students at Coronado and Franklin-McKinley that they’re not extensions but individuals, seeking fulfillment is a process that cannot be bestowed. Teaching English as a second language at Overfelt by providing a sense of belonging to the marginalized, because self acceptance is something we cannot forgo. Like a crossing guard manning a busy intersection, it’s not until they’ve traversed safely that most gratitude is shown. For a brief moment they’re given a certain direction, but eventually they’ll wander and come to recognize sonder in every passerby past their control. Drawn to a purpose to bring out everyone’s true colors, empathetic to energies which she’s regularly exposed. Although she’s made more time for herself in recent years, her selfless behavior will never come to a close.

Zenaida is my grandmother and roommate for years. She’s also happens to be the teacher that has taught me the most. From basic health concerns towards my diet, (not eating enough mixed vegetables) sleep concerns, (not reaping the benefits of a full 8 hours) and battling sickness (not applying enough Vicks Vapor Rub to my body or having enough kumots/blankets) to some of the gems that she’s dropped in the passage above. What I’ve learned to be the most valuable lesson from her is that there is that at no age we should stop learning and that learning should be set as a lifelong goal.

Lola’s (Grandmother in Tagalog) Lifelong Lesson is separated into three verses addressing: parent teacher student relationships, different types of student behaviors, and personal experience. In the first verse, framework is established as to what constitutes a successful learning environment for teachers, students, parents, and altogether. The second verse delves into types of negative student behaviors based off of subject matters and positive take aways from a teacher’s perspective being: 1. Math/Overthinking 2. Science/Frustration 3. Social Studies/Assumption 4. English/Self-Victimizing 5. Physical Education/Self-Deprecation 6. Art/Disinterest 7. Reading/Instigating 8. ESL/Helplessness. The third verse explains her outlook on teaching with references to Brene Brown’s Daring Greatly, Carol Dweck’s Mindset, Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet, and sonder (the realization that everyone has their own story) from John Koenig’s Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows. In conclusion we all have a purpose to fulfill, and teaching others to find their fulfillment happens to be my grandmother’s purpose.

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