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Room to grow

Initoli Vinito

Transition is a normal state of being, and how we respond to it changes our subsequent decisions for years to come. This is never more true than in our professional lives. Perhaps the hardest thing about these sorts of changes is the fear of failure and criticism we sometimes feel when walking into uncharted territory. What is exciting, though, is that we are also walking into a space with new opportunities, experiences, and knowledge for our professional and personal growth. Passion for our field of interest can overrule the fear, positively changing how we relate to the world and handle the challenges that ensue. It creates a willingness to learn and constantly improve and build on prior knowledge and experience. Moreover, we get the additional bonus of meeting like-minded people and growing together professionally as well as in every other aspect of life.

I have always heard loved ones say that learning begins with acknowledging that we do not know. Keeping this as the guiding principle makes transition exciting. In the field of education, we study and affirm the need for reflective thinking in schools, but it is worth asking whether we practice it in our own professional and personal lives as well.

What are our beliefs as educators? What drives our desire to educate? What are our preconceived notions, and how open-minded are we when it comes to improving through constructive criticism and feedback? Locke talked about those who have “wrong beliefs,” referring to people who would prefer not to go through the pains of reasoning and examining for themselves but would rather depend and conform to the lives and examples of others or the prevailing norms. He also talked about those who reason but refuse to accommodate other people’s reason, making them rather self-centered. Exploring Locke’s bold critique makes one realize the danger and subtle deception of pride - how being comfortable in our views can also turn into complacency and stagnation.

I joined the SEF team after a string of transitions: from student to teacher to student to tutor to SEF member. This return to full-time work, and realizing how much there is to learn and know, has been challenging but also exciting. The learning curve is indeed steep when you’ve been a student most of your life. Still, I eagerly anticipate the rewards of being further along in the climb. It has been just two months at SEF, and the growth in knowledge and experience has already been immense. I look forward to all that there is to come. Cheers to transitions and being reflective practitioners!

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