What It Means to be an Icon

If you happen to search the for definition of an icon, then you will know that it has several definitions based on how it is used. It could be: 1. a graphic symbol on a computer display screen that represents an app, an object (such as a file), or a function (such as the command to save), a sign (such as a word or graphic symbol) whose form suggests its meaning. It could also be 2. an object of uncritical devotion, an IDOL of some sort. Some dictionaries might also define an icon as an 3. emblem or a symbol, and lastly, an icon is defined as 4.  pictorial representation or an image. However, if you take a look closely at all the definitions, you will notice that they point to a singular commonality: that an ICON is a symbol, a representation or an emblem. The question now is: What do they symbolize? What do they represent?

If you search for icons of education, you will encounter several noteworthy names the likes of Jean Piaget, whose research and subsequent theories have become the basis and foundation of our understanding of normal child cognitive development. You will also encounter the names of John Dewey who popularized the cooperative learning approach and viewed that children should be encouraged to develop “free personalities” and that they should be taught how to think and to make judgments rather than to simply have their heads filled with knowledge, and lastly, Jerome Bruner who promoted the constructivist approach of learning.

To be an icon in the Division of Malaybalay City, one need not promote and popularize his/her own theory, nor study human behavior to explain the meanings of peoples’ actions. To be an icon means to be a model of passion, commitment and dedication. However, behind these qualities is an image of a person who exemplified perfection in so many ways.

Passion is seeking for the new, and experiencing new ideas. Passion forms the basis not only of an effective teaching and learning but likewise creates an environment and atmosphere of enthusiasm and desire to succeed. Passionate teachers and personnel create effective learning and working environments increase learning potentials of their students and open opportunities for co-workers to excel in in a productive way.

Passion generates commitment and commitment motivate and inspire people. For teachers, commitment cultivate students’ curiosity and interest in learning because they themselves recognize the need to fulfill their responsibilities to their students. It drives the teachers for a better student accomplishment. Passionate teachers create an effective learning environment and increase students’ curiosity and interest in learning. Committed teachers recognize and effort to fulfill their responsibilities to their students learning potential of students. Passion leads to creativity; so, committed people have the ability to think and produce new ideas for the people around them.

Finding icons of education that model passion, dedication and commitment in DepEd Division of Malaybalay City is not impossible to do. After all, in the 11 years of existence of the division, we have been blessed with teachers and personnel that became our pillars. Everyday, we find idols of passion and commitment, images of people with unparalleled dedication, workmanship and excellence and symbols of genuine and untarnished reputation. The 2020 Institutional Conferment is a celebration of these virtues.

The pressures of the division and all its schools have never been higher, with a constant focus on evidence and results to determine our strategic direction. These might not feel so onerous if they weren’t also happening against the backdrop of a pandemic that that have left us all scrabbling to keep up. In this climate, there is a temptation to simply try to get through the changes unscathed, to focus on getting to the best possible scenario and produce mediocre results, but this short-term outlook is a barrier to genuine improvement as each action becomes a meager response to a temporary crisis.

What is needed instead is a culture of excellence that permeates every classroom, every department and every school; a focus not on simply getting through, but on getting the best education and creating a lifelong passion for work and learning. This approach means that we are always to think about the purpose of our actions and considering the best it has to offer. There is neither a shortcut nor a blueprint to achieving educational excellence in this new learning landscape, after all, we are all treading on unfamiliar waters. There is, however, the challenge of raising our standards even higher, because it is only in raising our standards that we are assured we do not fall short of our vision of enabling our student realize their full potential and contribute meaningfully to nation building.

Written by:
Rio G. Arbutante

EPS II Soc. Mob. and Networking