For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
My personal philosophy reflects my desire to be an important part of the work of God for humanity and help fulfill the mission of the church through education while contributing to the development of a better-educated society. I take courage from the promise given in Jeremiah 29:11. In addition, I base my personal philosophy on the words of the song “We’re marching to Zion” where all who love the Lord would let their joys be known because we are marching to Zion, the beautiful city of God.
Furthermore, I also find inspiration in the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” In combination with these three, I define my personal philosophy.
In my personal life, I embrace the goal expressed by Ellen G. White, to restore God’s image in man, as much for my life and to help those around. I believe that the image of God is restored in man by man’s ability to think and reason independently, and is reflected in the care and love one shows for others. The fear of God and a love for others that will generate a selfless culture.
It has been said that “All who engage in the acquisition of knowledge should strive to reach the highest ground of the ladder. Let students advance as fast and as far as they can; let the field of their study be as broad as their powers can compass, but let them make God their wisdom.” Ellen G. White Counsels to Parents, Teachers and Students, p. 394.
As an educator I believe that our goal should be to produce a different type of professionals, an alumni that can be distinctive not only by their knowledge but also by their ability to innovate, to care for others and, to exercise wisdom in their area of expertise. After all, our mission is to make a significant contribution to the quality of life here on earth and the preparation for everlasting life.
As an administration I believe one’s role is to provide the tools, stability, and direction to the teachers, to maintain a unifying image inwards and outwards about our goals and objectives, to create an environment where students, faculty, and staff can generate ideas and implement research in their search for wisdom at the feet of Jesus Christ. I envision a local, regional and international environment where unique or specialized resources of each institution can contribute to the whole development of the mission and vision of Adventist education. Each institution should prepare a plan where it allows its best and unique resources to be developed and specialized for the enrichment of the students and Adventist Education in general.
One’s influence in the curriculum should serve to demonstrate the emphasis on independent thinking and the specialization of the institution, and the resources should be pointed at creating the best environment for the student to grow and develop in each area with an emphasis on innovation and research. I think that the curriculum should be guided at making the students fall in love with their chosen career and find a passion for discovery and innovation.
Each class should reflect the distinctive curriculum of the SDA institution. While the holistic approach is maintained for every degree program the class outlines should aim at shortening the period of fact learning and memorizing to the mere essential information, focusing on exposing the student to the current trends, ideas, findings and information through teaching and pointing to the sources of the information. This will leave time for teachers and students to interact and develop thinking, analyzing, researching, innovation and implementation according to the subject being taught. All these activities should be guided and promoted at the shadow of the Bible and with the main purpose to seek wisdom and understanding.
As a teacher, I believe the role of the teacher is to inspire the students for learning, to create an individualized education where the need of individuals students will be met. Ultimately
nurturing an environment of Christ-centered innovation, questioning and developing self-assessment in search of wisdom and passion.
“radical change in some of the current methods of education. Instead of appealing to pride and selfish ambition, kindling a spirit of emulation, teachers would endeavor to awaken the love of goodness and truth and beauty—to arouse the desire for excellence. The student would seek the development of God’s gifts in himself, not to excel others, but to fulfill the purpose of the Creator and to receive His likeness.” Ellen, G. White, Counsels on Sabbath School Work, p. 103
I want to entice a student to love the subject at hand. A large number of students pass through the halls of our institutions just to fulfill a requisite for graduation, trying to achieve high grades for personal satisfaction or just attaining a passing grade with the minimal possible efforts, any of these two reasons do not benefit the student, who will go through the class without the opportunity to fall in Love with what they do or to retain a meaningful amount of information that may allow them to develop the holistic development of all senses and potentially hindering their ability to make wise decisions in the future.
“Reach the highest possible degree of excellence,” but this goal cannot be reached by a “selfish and exclusive culture; for the character of God, whose likeness we are to receive, is benevolence and love.” Ellen G. White, Ibid., p. 595.
In a fast-developing world, teachers should be updated in theological advances for the classroom as well as research project being conducted and updated information in their areas of expertise. Knowledge and information have been increasing exponentially these past five years, with signs of even faster development in years to come. Teachers should keep as relevant as possible having in mind that they are most likely teaching individuals that will enter the job market two or three years after their classes, if information in any specific field is doubling every single year, what one teaches today will potentially be outdated and possibly obsolete by the time a freshman student becomes a senior.
For these reasons, teachers should be given special time to engage in research and attend events at least every other year where they can be maintained in part with the technological advances as well as with the subject of expertize.
I believe in the internationalization of education, an Arab proverb says “who lives sees, but who travels sees even more” My personal philosophy may be strongly centered in education, education is a strong agent of change, but at the same time; having the opportunity to travel and experience the world that God created opens the horizons and helps develop a more holistic and complete philosophy of life. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.”, this highlights the need to focus on the importance of directing our lives, the search for knowledge and understanding starts with God “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10). “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom” (Proverbs 4:7) this is the pinnacle of my personal philosophy.