UNITY in DIVERSITY–Mantra for Teachers

A school of fish…one specie…different colors… I took this photo on an out-of-town trip south of Manila – TeacherMarich

A common ailment in the teaching profession is professional jealousy, which exists as well without doubt in any field.  In fact, at some point in one’s career, one may have been guilty of this malady. Thus, one mantra teachers can invoke in order to avoid the pitfalls of petty jealousy, is UNITY in DIVERSITY.

Simply said, unity in diversity is that sense of belonging we teachers experience even though we are of different minds, perspectives, or teaching methodology. The differences in teaching approach, classroom management style, and individual personalities that we bring into our respective work domain contribute to a stronger sense of community, free from fear of rejection.

Unity in diversity means there is acceptance, collaboration, sincerity and RESPECT, most of all. Respect for others’ ideas, boundaries and space.

Respect

Have you ever encountered a colleague who often tries to negate almost every idea shared during brainstorming sessions, or one who refuses to collaborate unless she/he can make any demands from the team, or someone who seemingly asks for everyone’s consensus, yet she wants to have her way; everyone should follow her suggested activities?

Respect for others means being open to what others have to say; it also means you can agree to disagree amiably, without having to insist on your own opinion, without disdain for anyone else’s ideas. Being humble, in short.

Respect also means knowing your limits and boundaries, and that includes respecting your personal space — like not going over co- teachers’ files then deleting them from a shared computer without the courtesy of asking permission or letting them know about it. Believe me, there are such teachers who do this, and it makes them pathetic.

As a teacher, you show respect for others by not talking ill of anyone behind their back — be they your students, fellow teachers, superiors and other staff. In other words, behaving in a professional manner even if some people get into your nerves.

I notice mostly individuals who seem to lack self-respect are more inclined to exhibit signs of professional jealousy as well as act immaturely. Now, I lead you to these helpful articles that discuss professional jealousy: Dealing with the five causes of professional jealousy, and Innovative Teachers Hindered by the “Green-Eyed Monster.”

Unity in Diversity

Thus, to keep track of ourselves whenever we feel beset with negative attitudes and feeling is to focus on our main goal: helping our students the best we can.

It should be all about the students first — that is why we need to constantly upgrade our teaching skills and knowledge, so we can effectively lead our students to their learning goals. We need to make space for creativity and innovation. But it is just difficult to do so without collaboration and unity from our fellow teachers all because of jealousy – that nagging sense that you have to be the better one.

Diversity is a value that each of us teachers should inculcate in ourselves and in our students. Diversity is a value that aims to promote peaceful accord with everyone despite differences in thoughts, attitudes, cultural background, lifestyles, gender, race, among other variables. In an ideal situation in any context, diversity is seen to be working when each member accepts, tolerates and respects one another.

Unity in diversity – a mantra we teachers should invoke if we are to keep the pangs of jealousy at bay.

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