I believe that one of the most relevant topics in today’s society is education. There are a list of qualified and well regarded professionals that in comparison to myself, would be considered more entitled to speak on this particular topic.

As education is a broad topic of discussion, I believe every individual that has been educated, whether be it in New Zealand or any place else, has received education from an ‘invulnerable state’. So, what do I mean by invulnerable? As the 21st Century has been the hit-list to have broken the most molds, the traditional teaching methods continue to keep emerging and seasoned students of all race, ethnicity and socio-economic standing, stagnant in their abilities to acquire lasting-skills that can be used in any situation… I sincerely believe that education systems supporting authoritarian style teaching blankets learning experiences. This goes on to prevent students from fully encompassing the most fundamental requirements to succeed. Ultimately, students are placed within systems, where educators support the belief that being invulnerable will hide enough flaws, in hope that students believe in the perfected learning habits and knowledge that is being projected.

However, through exploration of real-life problems, educators have the opportunity to be vulnerable, allowing students to question , share their needs, and deviate from the plan. They are then able to delve deeper into what really builds success, resilience, perseverance and create a passion for learning. What is my point of sharing all this? It really comes down to how much you value the education you are receiving and what are you willing to do, either individually or collectively, to address this common issue in society?

Perhaps, if you think back to what system of education you received in your younger days, you may be filled with either hate or love towards certain institutions, individuals, or leaders that were the ‘make or break’ within the totality of your education experience. I believe that these experiences, whether ‘good or bad’, are symptoms that conditioned the resulting education you received.

When authority figures within all institutes exercise a high standard of maturity based on vulnerability, then students engagement towards learning will exponentially rise. I understand that if the problems around cultivating this change was easy enough, there could be potential for more societal problems to arise. However, this doesn’t mean the change should not begin to happen. The best possible measure of improvement would be the unity in numbers for a cause. If you consider yourself a person of influence, you have a voice. Society needs your input whether you’re a university lecturer, sister to another sibling, family man, doctor, primary school teacher, retail worker, or are home-schooled.

Most of us can pinpoint the exact moments in our childhood where someone we know, either “got it, “missed it”, or even “hated it”. Was there constructive feedback provided? no response at all? or even destructive criticism? So much so, the fear of revisiting that one moment in ‘Year 5' ripples their chance of publicly forming a logical answer. I remain hopeful that the educators of either today, tomorrow and the days ahead, use their strengths and weaknesses to empower students to take higher responsibility for their learning.

As an educator myself, developing great character should be the first key to providing quality learning experiences for students — I am Mr. Caetano to a diverse group of students in Auckland, New Zealand. If you get the chance to think about what it was like to have me as a teacher, I hope it brings a smile to your face.

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