Author’s note: After publishing the video on YouTube, someone commented and about axiology so I thought I would use it as the title
Well, the academic year has started once again and I feel that I have never been away from work. The four weeks vacation seems but a memory and the queues at Costa are back and I have to judge it carefully in order to get a seat! Oh, that might sound strange, I always write these blogs from Costa, hence this post. Yes, I found a seat!
But I didn’t want to start with a post all about Costa and seats! I have started to teach on a new module this year. And, as always, the content has really got me thinking. The first topic of the module were values – so here are my thoughts about my own values.
Always do the tasks
When I start a new module, I always have to do lots of reading. I probably know the stuff to an ok level, but this is never enough for me. I want to know lots. Doing the additional reading also allows me to experience the topic for the first time as if I was a learner.
Once the additional reading has been completed, I like to experience the module first hand. In order to do this, I actually complete all the activities that I will be asking the students to do. I think this stems from my primary school teaching days. Always do the lesson/activity first so that you know what the issues will be in advance.
It was while I was completing the tasks that I came across a question. Write down 10 values which are important to you. My mind instantly went blank. It was like being back in A’ level chemistry all over again! Whenever I need to think, I dedicate my walking to and from work to thinking time. Headphones on, but nothing playing, I started to work home, capturing my thoughts as I went.
My Top 7 Values!
I don’t know if I actually got to ten, as the task required, but I did quite well. How did I come up with my values? Well interestingly, I started to think what actually makes me happy, cross or some other type of emotion and then analysed why and this allowed me to come up with a word. Let me know what you think about my values in the comments below.
- Acceptance: Being slightly weird, I always look for acceptance. Initially, this was focused mainly on people accepting me. But as I have grown as a person, I now want to be completely accepting of others. Sometimes I can struggle with this since my knowledge and understanding of the world is continually growing. I do get cross when I see others not accepting people. In this age of diversity, I think this should be a value that not only does everyone have in their top ten but I think that we should actually teach it and encourage it.
- Perseverance: One thing which really gets me frustrated is when I give up. I recently had to admit defeat with my Radio Station. I thought about it for ages, including not thinking about it in order to avoid the subject. But in the end, I had to admit that it was not paying for itself and listeners were at an all-time low so I terminated it. I hate giving in. I am always striving to improve and feel that I should never give in. I actually made a video about it – Give out generously, give in graciously but never give up!’
- Honesty: This one causes me so many issues. I really do feel that honesty is the best policy but I find it difficult to know when people do not want me to be honest. I always maintained that I want to be honest with people and children. I don’t think it is good to say something is great when it is only just mediocre. I really appreciate honesty from others. I find it hard to take honesty in the form of criticism without plummeting into a black void of depression, but I am getting better.
- Generosity: I’ve mentioned one of my favourite sayings earlier in this post but I just wanted to focus on which element of generosity I was referring to. For me, the important thing to be generous with is time. If I am able, I am always willing to spend time with or for people. Whether this be learners or colleagues. It often means that I have to work extra hard because I will be behind with my own work, but I think giving time is often the most precious commodity we have.
- Freedom: One of my other favourite sayings include the phrase, ‘be who you are and say what you feel’. In the world when things are always changing, I think it is important that everyone has freedom of speech and enjoy that feeling of being free. Never apologise for questions, never worry about answers. Freedom is something that not everyone in the world can enjoy, so I for one is someone who is grateful for my freedom in every form.
- Integrity: I know it doesn’t really mean this, but I live in a black and white world when it comes to rules. I find it very hard to justify exceptions. I like to follow the rules and do the right thing. I get very angry when I see people getting away with not doing what they should be doing or using others to gain advancement or perfect results. I might not be the best at things, but I know that I have got to the position I am at through hard work and commitment. Short cuts are never in my vocabulary.
- Positivity: There are times when I get very down with myself and what I do. I have the tendency to take things personally and like all educators I am incredibly self-critical. When I am streaming (yes I do that as a tutor) I always try to be positive and remove the negatives. No one wants to see someone down in the dumps! But when I do get negative I hate myself for it. I much prefer it when I am positive and upbeat. the trick is trying to reduce the negative times and hang onto that positivity.
I did have other values on my list, for example considerate, individualism, fairness, but I felt that I was repeating myself. Seven seems an odd number to have, but it is my favourite number so it seemed suitable to stop there.
What did I learn? Well, I am certainly more complex than I originally thought. I feel that I am a good person at heart, or trying to be a good person and that these values will help me through the rest of my life. Maybe, I should have thought about these earlier in my life so that I might have been able to express them more through my teaching. But I’m a strong believer that everything happens for a reason and, because of this, it must have been now that I needed to think about my values and share them with you. As you read this perhaps it will prompt you to think about your own values and, if you are at a younger stage of your life, you can act on these and share them with others.