I have spent the longest time in my current academe employer than any other job I held. In these more than 10 years teaching, I was never the same teacher when I first entered my first class — no one should ever be.
I had the honor to be able to speak to future educators this afternoon. It was more of an honor for me to speak to them than the other way around. I don’t get the opportunity like this to inspire them and keep the passion and idealism in them. The talk I had with them was equally inspiring. It gave me the chance to reflect on my 10 years of teaching. To be honest, it wasn’t difficult to answer the questions they posed to me. I could easily summarize my answer to just this: Please only God.
Some people have wondered and admired my confidence and my peace. These people ask me how come I don’t have any hang-ups. It’s because I learned to only please God when I work, when I decide. I don’t try to please anyone with the way I work. I don’t teach with the goal in mind that I want my students to love me; that I want to be the most popular teacher in school. As long as you know you are doing the right thing and what ought to be done knowing that these will please God, then there is nothing to fear. There is no reason for us to complicate our lives.
Complaints? Sure I complain about many things at work, but I always go back to the fact that no institution is perfect, because it is run by people who also commit mistakes, myself included. I am not perfect. I am not the perfect teacher, nor a perfect friend. If I want a perfect boss or even a perfect colleague, only God will fit the bill. And if complaints need to be addressed, I talk to the right person who can address these concerns. Complain not with anger, but out of concern always. In this way, you also achieve peace.
Anxious about getting promoted or demoted? I have no qualms about losing my position, because I never asked for it. I see my special role in school as a privilege, not as a right. If we start seeing them as a right, then that’s when we start being anxious about losing our post. I don’t work to get promoted. I work solely because I want to please God, to show my appreciate for the One who gave me the skills and the talents. Promotion? A mere consequence. In fact, in the academic setting, it’s an extra task that your superiors think you can handle. More than a promotion, it’s an additional burden.
Stop looking at other people at work, at your boss, and begin looking at yourself more — how you do your work, how you inspire other people through your work.
Life is simple. You can live a life without hang-ups, worries. You can achieve a lot of great things without directly wanting them, but by achieving as a mere consequence of only one thing: to please God.
Ten full years I have already spent teaching, and many other things in between, and doing only one thing consistently, it is enough to make God smile with my efforts. If God allows that I see the fruits of my labor while here on earth, I thank God for these bonuses.
To God be all the glory.