8 years as an educator and teacher, and as I reflect on these 8 years, it is really a very small fraction of what others put in into moulding the future of our nation. Sounds so cliche you may say, but that is an important mission and a very high calling, to MOULD. The word mould has a very strong Christian context. It derives from a potter’s job of shaping their masterpiece, their best piece of their hundreds or even thousands of their artefacts. To mould means to sets the direction and to give the pottery a sense of purpose and direction…so that it will be shaped to a particular shape and design which is highly desirable and valuable. Thus, in every educator’s hand is the power to mould and to gear our students to a certain direction and destination. If you tell me this is not a high calling, then I do not know what is.
So what do we exactly mould? We mould character, so that each child can grow up strong and resilient in their heart, mind and soul. In a world that is ever changing, it is important to develop in every child to ability to adapt and the capacity to accept changes. Over the years as an educator, I have learned to accept things which I cannot change and the courage to accept them and to make the best out of all these new challenges. I cannot say that I have mastered this skill already, but I am definitely more skillful then 8 years ago when I first stepped into a classroom.
The 21st Century students need a whole new set of skills and characters to be successful in life. Knowing is already a given. We can no longer be just feeding our students with tonnes and tonnes of knowledge and the know-how. Knowledge is a given because they are everywhere. More often than not, the students know more things than us. However, we need to inculcate in our students the ability to manage knowledge and sometimes even to create knowledge from existing one. One of the things I find really lacking in students is the ability to manage knowledge and to be able to create new knowledge based on what they already know.
I can’t help but to think of the MOE framework for 21st Century Learning. The framework encompasses three skills that our 21st Century students should have. They must possess the ability to think creatively and critically. Creative because they must be able to invent new knowledge by building on existing sets of knowledge. This new knowledge is not meant to replace the old but to improve on it. It is a matter of “doing things better, or doing better things.” Which is better? Hahaha! With new knowledge also means that it is important that our students are able to articulate the new knowledge and whatever that they have learnt. Knowledge unspoken remains just a piece of information unrefined. Knowledge must be heard. Finally, knowledge must be civicly and morally responsible. We cannot have knowledge which runs contrary to the basic guiding principles of man. Thus, value and citizenship education is essential in every educational system. The need to propagate certain ideas and philosophies lies deeply in every education syetem. Without these values, education remains as a body without breath…the breath of life itself!
In summation, education is an extremely high calling. 8 years as an educators have made me at times feel so inadequate for the job. I pray every time that the Lord God will enable me to be the teacher that He wants me to be and to feed me so that i can feed His lambs. How can I go on to feed others when I have not been fed by the Lord Himself. Thus, in every Eucharistic feast, I always pray that the Lord will feed me with His Body and His Blood so that I can have part in Him. That means that I have part in His love, His mercy, His compassion and etc….without feeding on the Lord, how can I have the strength to feed others.
Let the Lord continue to work through me…let Him be known to us through the breaking of bread. I always pray that the Lord will make a broken bread and poured out wine to those around me. May we all continue to labour in His love….