August 23, 2021
October 9, 2021

Reflections: World Teacher’s Day Special

by Dr. Jonathan Chiong

September 30, 2018. It has been three years since I have taken the journey, one of the most rigorous journeys of my life at the stage when life begins, the Licensure Examination for Teachers. I do not have an inch of regret for taking the journey. The journey taught me to further embrace gratitude. Along the way, I have learned patience, perseverance, the strength of character, and a perfect sense of sound judgment. I attribute the courage to my mother, who as a teacher herself was a shining example of a teacher whose heart and soul encompassed beyond her mission…beyond her vocation. Jose Rizal University has also greatly contributed to many of my inspirations.

My mother Aurora taught me to love and faith, that being a teacher takes more than courage to make a difference. It is through teaching where I have found the strength to change lives. It is through teaching where I have found the greatest courage and utmost strength to mold, to hone, to instill life’s lessons and wisdom, to build a foundation of a life well-lived for others. Being a teacher is more than being purposeful. It is life telling us that our purpose in life is something that logic cannot comprehend, that it is only through the heart that we can fully grasp our purpose…what lies beneath, what lies beyond, what lies in between.

Teaching has long since been my passion. When my first job in showbiz opened doors for me to be in the training & development department, I knew in my heart that teaching is deeply ingrained in me. From the realm of TV and film production, I started developing courses on soft skills training for ABS-CBN’s Star Circle talents in the late nineties. The early part of the millennium brought me to the academe and I totally found the element of teaching running in my veins. Even when I joined the BPO industry, I was pulled to belong to the nucleus of training & development, human capital management. Happiness felt was always indescribable. As I have explored the world, I am continuously drawn to the teaching profession, and one day while strolling down Stanford University, UCLA, and Harvard Square, I knew in my heart that my purpose in life is indeed to become a teacher, to further make a difference in the core of the world’s noblest profession, the creator of all other professions.

One day in 2014, a whiff of fresh breeze captured the essence of my being. JRU has opened the door to the heart of education, more than caring for good education, it is the heart that ruled. Being at Jose Rizal University has taught me how to embrace more of my passion. It takes more than passion to really serve. As teachers, that passion needs to be ignited further. As we continue to take the journey, we must always remember that there are challenges that would beset us, too many challenges that sometimes our hearts would break and our brains would split into half. The strong will to love our profession is what will shape the core of our being, the faith in believing ourselves that being a teacher is the best thing that ever happened to us, the hope that will carry our legacy in creating an impact in the lives of others, the core of the community, the society, the world, and the universe. Most of all, it is the humility that we embrace is that makes our lives more special, humility, gratitude, and love.

Life has a way of telling us that our purpose in life is to serve others. Embracing that purpose will make us realize our value and worth even further. Money as motivation is actually secondary. The primary motivation of being a teacher is selfless devotion to serving others and society.

As we strive to achieve our goals and dreams, we can count on there being some fairly substantial disappointments along the way. Let us not get discouraged, for the road to our dreams may not be an easy one, more so in guiding others to achieve their dreams. Think of these disappointments as challenges – tests of persistence and courage – that life throws at us during our journey. I have learned that these are necessary and are meant to help us grow as a person. The acquisition of knowledge doesn’t mean we’re growing. Growing happens when what we know changes how we live.

I have also learned that what I believe has more power than what I dream or wish or hope for.  I become what I believe.  Even though I cannot control everything that happens, I have learned that I can control my attitude toward what happens.  And in that, I will be mastering change rather than allowing it to master me.

The journey to life has just begun. There are many things yet we all need to accomplish. Making a difference is not easy, but I tell you, it is worth it. Yes, each step may get harder, but experiencing the soulful rewards is priceless, and well worth enduring the journey to get there. In life, no matter what happens, there is always, always something to be grateful for. Being a teacher is always something that I am grateful for…forever.

To our teachers, carry your presence with you wherever you go.  Let us always appreciate the little moments of life.  Remind yourself that there are few joys in life that equal a good laugh, a good conversation, a good hug, a great book read, a sip of hot chocolate or savoring the aroma of Cappuccino, a breath of fresh air, or a good deep breath at the end of the day. WE ARE TEACHERS. WE CHANGE LIVES. THIS IS SOMETHING TO CARRY ON. More than a legacy…more than the heart that sees one rightly. In our quest to change lives, then that change should also start from within.

The success of a teacher is being measured by the happiness, joy, and success of his/her students. There is nothing more that we could ask for.

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