Keep your goal in sight

It’s important to set your own goals and work hard to achieve them.

Yuichiro Miura

In our life, we plan and set goals, often with a positive optimism of reaching that goal. We try to think of all the possibilities and probabilities we might encounter along the way. We anticipate and try to be ready. But sometimes, even before we start the journey, we get sidetracked. Life itself is not predictable. We are affected by the people we encounter and the things we experience along the way. Often times, our goals change and we forget previous ones. But can we still make it happen?

  1. Don’t abandon, just put it on hold

Goal is defined by Merriam-Webster to be the end toward which effort is directed. A goal could be something simple like finishing a task for the day, short term as cleaning the storage room in three days, complicated as learning to bake and designing a birthday cake for my kids (well, for me it is a complicated task) and long term as getting a teacher’s license.

I always admired my teachers especially during my high school at St. Paul College of Parañaque. My favorite subjects were Geometry and Trigonometry, not because I am a math genius (a far cry from the truth) but because my teachers then were so good at making it simple to understand and interesting that I never got bored learning. They say teachers are our second parents and they greatly influence their students in shaping their character and future. This is true in my case. Thus, at one point, my goal is to be a teacher.

But it was sidetracked when I attended my first computer class in my Junior year and fell in love with programming.  Suffice to say, I graduated with a degree in BS Computer Science and proceeded to practice in this field for the next 22 years.

But from time to time, the teacher in me surfaces. I love imparting ideas and learnings to my colleagues. Conducting training is something I like doing.  At home, helping my kids on their school lessons is a joy. Every opportunity I get to teach, I value.

Still, I did not see myself ever fulfilling this goal of being a teacher until circumstances aligned in 2017. Corporate work is taking its toll on my family. All the long hours and multiple projects, I barely have time to spend quality moments, especially with the kids. My husband and I talked about me getting another work that would allow me to spend more time at home. I prayed for guidance. In no time, I learned that the school my children were attending is needing a computer teacher. What an opportune timing!

A Montessori classroom

2. Flex like a bamboo

Starting over to fulfill a goal at mid-forties is terrifying.  Abandoning the old ship and sailing on with a new one is both exciting and nerve-wracking. A lot of what-ifs and uncertainties went with the decision. But the first time I set foot in school as a teacher was one of pure happiness and sense of fulfillment.  The trainings were not a breeze. A lot to learn in so little time. You see, in my first year, aside from teaching computer lessons, I was assigned to handle a multi-level class for multiple subject areas with about 12 students, a mix of grade 3 to 5 students including 2 children with special needs.

I wanted to quit in my first quarter at school. But I remembered the lesson of the bamboo. This is best described in the article “Be like the bamboo: 7 lessons from the Japanese forest” by Garr Reynolds posted 07.23.2010.

 The seven (7) lessons in Garr’s article are:

  • Bend but don’t break. Be flexible yet firmly rooted. – “… A bend-but-don’t-break or go-with-the-natural-flow attitude is one of the secrets for success whether we’re talking about bamboo trees, answering tough questions in a Q&A session, or just dealing with the everyday vagaries of life.”

  • Remember: What looks weak is strong. – “… You may not be from the biggest company or the product of the most famous school, but like the bamboo, stand tall, believe in your own strengths, and know that you are as strong as you need to be.”
  • Be always ready. – “… In presentation or other professional activities too, through training and practice, we can develop in our own way a state of being ever ready.”

  • Unleash your power to spring back. – “…The bamboo endured the heavy burden of the snow, but in the end, it had to power to spring back as if to say “I will not be defeated.””
  • Find wisdom in emptiness – “…In order to receive knowledge and wisdom from both nature and people, we have to be open to that which is new and different. When you empty your mind of your prejudices and pride and fear, you become open to the possibilities.”
  • Commit to (continuous) growth. – “…Do not be discouraged by what you perceive as your lack of growth or improvement. If you have not given up, then you are growing, you just may not see it until much later.”
  • Express usefulness through simplicity. – “…If we could lose our fear, perhaps we could be more creative and find simpler solutions to even complex problems that ultimately provide the greatest usefulness for our audiences, customers, patients, or students.”
“What the hand does the mind remembers.” – Maria Montessori

Though I find small fulfillments on directing my students in their learning, there is still something missing. I wanted to be a licensed professional teacher.

3. Persevere and Work on it

Don’t stop moving towards that goal at every opportunity that you get. So, during my first year, while already teaching and undergoing training, I enrolled at the Technological University of the Philippines – Cavite under their Certificate in Professional Teaching Program (CPT). This will enable me to apply for a permit to take the licensure exam to become a professional teacher.

Thus, in the middle of my second year of teaching after getting my certificate, I finally decided to take the plunge. I applied for a permit to take the March 24, 2019 licensure exam.

Still, despite the training and certification, I feel I am not yet fully ready. Three months before the board exam, I decided to enroll in a weekend review class. By this time, my schedule is again full and I have very little time for family. Good thing my husband and kids understood and were very supportive.

On the day of the board exam, I asked God for guidance and did the best I could. Then the waiting began.

Finally, on May 25, 2019, results came out. My goal has been reached. I passed!

And on July 6, 2019, I officially took oath as a licensed professional teacher. A realization of a goal that started when I was in high school.

Whatever obstacles we come upon, each challenge will either bring us near or further to our goal. It is up to us to pursue with determination and faith.

Now, on to the next goal……

Maria Ligaya Tanio, LPT

Perks of teaching at your kids’ school

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