Follow Your Dreams

So… I have reached the final day of my first semester as ESL teacher (the final teaching day of this semester is tomorrow). I have not written in this blog as much as I would have wanted, but I will resume in this post what I have learned and grown during these three wonderful months.

I am very grateful to God for the opportunity of finding a job as ESL teacher in a special education school. I love working with kids and teens that need extra care and extra love to thrive. They are all amazing students, each one with unique challenges and gifts. These students are very used to be treated as “less capable” than others due their disabilities. I have been blessed with the opportunity to teach them to see themselves according to who they are (not according their disabilities): as thriving human beings with the same dignity than anyone else.

What other lessons, besides ESL, I have been blessed to teach them and to learn from them? Let’s see…

You are a person, you are an amazing human being: You are not your behavior only. You are a human being, called the best person you can be. You matter as a whole person. You are loved and respected no matter how you behave.

You have rights: Your human dignity must be always respected. There are some rights called “human rights”. You have them. I have them. We all have them, because we are all human beings. We all must respect every human being just because he or she is a person with dignity.

We all have our own “learning rhythm” and that is OK: an ordinary teacher has a lesson plan to follow. I can’t work that way: I have students with learning need that require some degree of individualization. Doing lesson plans is part of my job, but the way I apply them is quite flexible. I must embrace the “learning rhythm” of each student and create a symphony with all the voices. One thing I have tried to teach to them is that is OK to have an own learning rhythm and do things in other way.

You have an amazing capacity to do good: usually when a student has behavior difficulties he or she has very clear all the wrong things he or she is capable of doing. What is not so clear to these students is all the capacity they have to do good. They sometimes surprise themselves when you show them that they did something really good, of when you simply believe in them. They need to know they are capable of doing great things.

A new beginning is always possible: I have students that are living proof that new beginnings are always possible. I have met students with very difficult pasts, students that have overcome huge obstacles in such young lives and that have demonstrated me each day that new beginnings can be possible if you reach the help you need and choose to work hard.

A disability or a medical condition doesn’t defines you: this is a VERY important lesson when you are teaching students with any kind of “disability”. We need to learn to focus in each other’s abilities, not disabilities. We are all able to follow our dreams and become the best person we can be. We all have things that we can’t to and we all have things that we can do. We can choose in which one we focus.

Growth choices help us to become the best person we can be: whatever we do, we must make “growth choices”: choices that help us to become the best person we can be. Every choice is an opportunity to become the person that we are called to be.

Our growth choices have the power to create a better culture, a better nation and a better world: our growth choices not only help us to become the best person we can be. When we choose to become the best persons we can be, when we make growth choices, we create a culture of growth, a nation that help all to grow as the best person they can be. Our choices have the power to create a better humanity and a better world. When we make a true growth choice, it doesn’t help us to become the best person we can be: it helps everyone to become the best person they can be.

We must look all persons to the eyes: in a world where we are used to judge people by their physical appearance, we must look everyone to the eyes, not focusing in their physical attributes but in who they are as persons.

We must dare to test our limits and never limit ourselves: something the fact of having a “disability” makes students limit themselves because they see themselves as “disabled”. On purpose, I have placed them on situations that are at the same time safe and a challenge to their limits, only to let them discover by themselves that they can do something they believed they couldn’t do. This can complicate things sometimes, but it is really worthy, especially when you see the student’s huge smile when he or she discover that he or she can actually do something that he or she thought that he or she couldn’t do. This help them to learn how to engage in the world that is outside of the classroom and the school, becoming citizens that have a healthy independence and know what they are able to do to serve the common good.

What happened with the “growth plans” design? I resumed my “growth plans” design by adding a “growth objective” in the lesson plans. I truly think that it can be possible to create “growth plans” besides the lesson plans, or even make both plans integrated as a “growth plan” instead of making a “lesson plan”, applying what should be taught to the personal formation of the students, but now is not the moment to design a whole “growth plan” to substitute the lesson plans with it. That enterprise would require a research capability that I currently do not have: I first need to observe, then research, and finally apply. For now, using a “growth objective” to help the students to become the best person they can be is the best choice to complete the observation phase.

Before leaving for Christmas break, I am leaving everything prepared for the first lesson plan of January: each student will create a poster with his or her New Year’s growth resolutions, resolutions that help him or her to become the best persons he or she can be. The only thing that is still needed to give this lesson plan is preparing a short message about what is a growth resolution and why they are important, or may be find a prepared short message of other person that talks about that theme (of course, in English, because it is English class 😀). I will work on that during the Christmas break. During the Holidays I will also work in the design of a Pictionary Olympics for the English Week, that is at the end of January. We will have a lot of fun! 🙂 I’m so eager to start the next semester!

My last pending classroom task before ending the semester, besides all the administrative tasks that are due in any semester ending, is putting a huge “Follow Your Dreams” in the wall, so they can all see it when they walk into the English classroom when they come back to the school in January. Here is an image of my “Follow Your Dreams” (I bought it in the online store of Carson Dellosa, but I do not recommend it, their shipping methods are terribly slow. If I need another “Follow Your Dreams” for a wall I will ask my students to make it, specially with glitter, they love glitter!).

Follow Your Dreams

I have had this “Follow Your Dreams” since weeks ago, but I have not been able to put it where I want to place it because I need to move first my teacher’s desk, some student’s desks and a book shelf in order of being able to put the “Follow Your Dreams” in the wall I want (the wall that is first seen when you get into the classroom). So, I chose to wait until the end of the semester to do all that movements needed to put the “Follow Your Dreams” in the wall safely and peacefully.

That will be the “growth objective” of the first lesson plan of the year 2019: follow your dreams. Whatever New Year’s growth they may have, they must help them to follow their dreams and to become the best person they can be. For me the phrase “follow your dreams” has a very beautiful meaning: I dream with God’s Love, seen as Jesus Charity, literally every night, so for me “follow your dreams” means following God’s Love, realizing His will in my life, whatever that may lead me and whatever that could mean. In this moment, following that dreams means being the best teacher I can be for my students. However, of course, I have never told that to my students, nor I will, because my dreams do not have to be their dreams: I want them to have their own dreams and to dare to follow those dreams. I want them to learn how to dream dreams that create a better growth community, a better society, a better world… I want then to learn how to dream dreams that are bigger than themselves, dreams that help everyone to grow as the best person they can be, beginning with themselves. We can’t get used to be less of the best we can be. We can’t get used to situations of degradation of any human being or to situations that dehumanize of our society. We are all called to be the change that the world needs to be transformed with fraternity, joy and creativity that gives life. I want them to learn that when they choose to be the best person they can be they change others for good with their growth. ☺️

Please pray for me, so I may serve my students in the best way possible and I may teach them with living lessons to dare to dream big, helping them to learn how to follow their dreams, how to make resolutions to turn those dream into a reality and how to always choose to become the best person they can be.

Merry Christmas to everyone! May you follow your dreams and may they lead you to become the best person you can be. Let’s keep growing!

PD: Here is a picture of the “Follow Your Dreams” placed in the wall of my classroom 🙂

Always Affirming the Person

At the end of September I began to work as ESL teacher of secondary level (in my school this means middle and high school) at a special education school. So far, I love it. I have six groups, mostly multiple grades groups (grade 5, grades 6-7, grade 7, grades 7-8, grades 9-10, grades 11-12). The biggest group has six student. The smallest group has only one student. Most of my students have behavorial special needs, so I must adapt my teaching methods and my disciplinary methods to meet their needs in the classroom. In total, I have 23 students, plus one more on the way (I have not meet him yet, but he will be in my classroom soon and I am already being informed of what needs he will have to be prepared when he arrives).

Although I should call it “special education”, I prefer to aim a “person-centered education.” With “person-centered” I do not mean exactly “individualized”, although sometimes I must individualize my lesson plans due my student’s needs. What I aim is “learning by forming”: teach them ESL through helping them to grow and to learn how become the best person they can be (this is what I mean with person-centered education). I could called it “learning by growing” too. I do have class books to follow, but I have a wide creative range to determine how to apply each lesson. Besides lesson plans, that are mandatory (of course they are, I would never deny their importance) I am designing “growth plans” to promote the best personal growth possible in the classroom. Designing something like this from scratch takes intellectual creativity, patience and time. Right now the only thing I can say is that with a person-centered approach almost all the attention issues and the discipline issues are avoided… but it is very, very important that students understand the importance of being person and of becoming the best persons they can be. That part can be tricky sometimes. Why? Because my students tend to reduce the definition of person to his or her behavior: we are how we behave. If you realize that special education students are constantly being evaluated according to their behavior, you understand their personal formation view perfectly. Teaching them that they are not their behavior and that the person is first and foremost a human being called to grow and be best is crucial to integrate a “growth plan” and to pursue a “person-centered learning” successfully. Right now I am working on that aspect while I keep developing the “growth plan” design. It takes time and resources, but it is worth it because you truly respect your students as persons when, instead of limiting yourself as teacher to give them certain information and skills, you keep looking how to help them to be, to do, to grow and to radiate as the best persons they can be.

Whatever I teach in the classroom, I teach it through affirming the person. It is like positive behavior, but I don’t limit myself to behavior: I affirm the whole person, so let’s call it “positive humanity” or “positive growth”. That means that my respect to the student and the opportunities that they are given to grow won’t change according to their behavior, so they learn they are valued unconditionally as human beings. They may loose privileges, but they won’t never loose “growth opportunities”. The main problem with a behavior-only approach is that the student learns to value himself or herself according to how he or she behaves, and I want them to learn to value themselves as whole human beings called to growth. I am not denying the importance of behavior: I am just integrating it to the whole person.

So far, I only have had one instance when this “growth approach” has not worked to avoid a discipline issue. One. My students have many behavior difficulties due being special education students, so having only one instance when it has not worked can be considered quite a success… but let’s see how it keeps going. I need to observe more and to refine more my methods to make more concrete conclusions. I recognize that the “growth plan objective” (value) it is not always fully reached because the students are unconsciously more focused in the “grade objective” (the lesson plan objective: the one that is graded summatively or formatively)… That is one of several of my current dilemas in the “growth plan” design: how to integrate the “growth approach” to the assessment. Right now, I am not assessing it formally, I am doing it just with observations, because I am not sure how it should be assessed. Should I make it part of the grade? But how they will learn to aim to be the best person they can be outside of the classroom if they do it only for a grade and not for life?

I can resume the difference between a “lesson plan” and a “growth plan” very easily: the lesson plan is what I must teach (the content) and the growth plan is the how I must teach it (how to help them to grow as human beings and to become the best persons they can be with the content I teach). Right now the growth plan has a “growth objective” and four phases: integration, action, realization and projection. As I said, I am designing it yet. So far, the growth plan works wonders as discipline method, although that is not its main aim. It’s main aim is affirming the person. As teacher I truly believe in always affirm the person, but it requires creative space, structure and… sometimes it also requires to skip what the book says we should do, because how the book teaches certain stuff can be truly abstract sometimes. Whatever I teach, I must apply it to the personal formation’s growth of my students, it can’t be abstract. This is impossible if you are required to prepare the students only for a standardized test.

The best part of the “growth plan” is that the teacher doesn’t wait that a student misbehave to give him or her help: you always keep seeking how to offer him help to become the best person he or she can be, no matter what. When the misbehavior occurs, it is addressed too, but the approach is not only disciplinary: is a whole-person growth approach. What this means? First: all students receive support wherever they need it most (this eliminates the view that only those who misbehave need support). Second: as teacher I am not only teacher: I am also a mentor who seeks to help my students to grow as the best person they can be, according to their own view (that is important: a mentor never imposes his or her own view but help others to develop their own view and their own growth choices). The mentor factor is important. A psychologist deals with learning or emotional difficulties only. The person in charge of discipline deals with behavior difficulties only. A mentor helps to grow as the best person the student can be, integrating the whole person, including all the difficulties that the student may have, but not from a difficulty approach, but from a affirming-the-person approach. This is a “positive growth” focus.

I will keep sharing how the “growth plans” adventure keeps going. I am truly grateful of being in a school that gives me as teacher the creative space to develop this kind of approach to deal with discipline methodology and teaching methodology.

Let’s keep growing!















Integractive Sciences: A New Humanization

I strongly believe that one of the deepest problems of the education of our times is its lack of integractive sciences. But before writing about that, let’s clarify what I mean with “integractive sciences.”

Integractive sciences are the sciences of the person: the sciences that study the persons and how they become who they are and who they are called to be. The integractive sciences integrate three faculties: Education, Social Sciences and Humanities, including arts and theology.

Why I call the studies of these faculties “integractive sciences”? Because they can’t follow the method of the natural sciences, so used to “dissect” what it studies. The persons cannot be “dissected”: they must be studied as they integrate, act, realize and project themselves; they must be studied “integractively”. The word “integration” is the union of the concepts “integration”, “action”, “realization” and “projection”, the four phases of integraction as model of human formation.

May be is necessary to redefine a little bit what we call “scientific method”, giving the space to create an “integractive method” as “scientific method” for integractive sciences. The fact is that we cannot pretend to understand the person by “dissecting” his nature, as natural sciences tend to do. We can only understand and study the person with the union of humanities, social sciences and humanities, all together. This requires an “integractive” approach. We cannot keep these faculties separated, proposing that the person is something in one of them and then proposing another thing in the other faculty. They must be integrated because that is how the human person grows: integractively.

Does this means that other sciences and faculties, like natural sciences, health sciences, law, business… are not needed to understand how the person integrates, acts, realizes and projects? I do not mean that exactly. Integractive sciences and natural sciences complement each other. The application of natural sciences, health sciences and any other science is necessary to understand certain aspects of personal growth, but the essential sciences to understand how the person become who he is and who is called to be are the integractive sciences. For example: you can apply natural sciences to the study of the person, but you can’t understand the person through natural sciences by its own.

This had been one of the hugest mistake of our times: reducing the study of the person to the application of natural sciences, or aiming to study integractive sciences with the same method of natural sciences, “dissecting” the integraction of the human person, and so reducing the human identity to “social constructs”, for example. This must change. The human person must be understood “integractively” in order to embrace our identity as we grow more fully humanely.

Our schools are depleted with natural sciences, but the only integractive science that is usually taught is history. That’s a problem. We cannot be surprised that our students get bored in schools that do not help them to understand better who they are, how they grow as persons, and how they are called to be: better human beings everyday. We need to connect what they learn with a better personal growth and a better world. Only through teaching integractive sciences we can aim to build a society for peace, where everyone treats each other as human being and as brother, serving the common good and avoiding all kinds of dehumanization that are destroying today’s world. It is time to propose the creation of schools specialized in integractive sciences, where technology and natural sciences, among other disciplines, are applied to the study of the person.

Weeks ago, I read a quote from Nelson Mandela that I do not remember literally right now, but it proposed that if hate can be learned, love can be learned too. Let’s paraphrase that quote: If dehumanization can be learned, humanity and human rights can be learned too. We can learn how to grow until become the best person we can be. We can only create peace if we learn how to help everyone to grow as the best persons they can be. I call this “new humanization”: an integractive conception of how to become the best persons we can be as human beings. Noticed that I didn’t say “to become the best persons we can be as republicans”, or as democrats, or as homosexual, or as conservative…No: I said “as human beings.

We need a new humanization. We need to learn how to see each other first and foremost as human beings, as brother called to grow together. We are not our genders. We are not our political affiliation. We are not our sexual orientation. We are human beings, called to be loved and to grow unconditionally in fraternity, justice and peace.

There is a wonderful world in taino language, “goeiz”, that means “the spirit of a living person.” We must aim to embrace the spirit of a living person, the spirit of a person that is human and keeps growing as better human being everyday. This is also part of living the Christian faith: “The glory of God is the human person is fully alive” (St. Irenaeus).

We can only keep our students engaged with their education by teaching them how to apply what they are learning to their own human growth; by helping them to be, to do, to grow and to radiate as the best persons they can be. The opposite is dehumanizing them. We cannot keep dehumanizing our society through a dehumanizing education, an education that focus more on ideologies than in the human being and personal growth. We need to search together new ways and paths to create a more human world, a world where everyone can understand how they grow as persons, how to become the best persons they can be, and how to find the tools and resources needed to be able to do so. We need to teach that a human being can never be treated as an object, or as a mean, or reduced through dehumanization, through the ideological laceration of his human identity.

Together, we can make that possible. Together, we can make possible a more human world for everyone.

Let’s keep growing!

A Better World…

Today I am going to write about something that will deeply influence my teaching style as teacher and public server: human rights. First I am going to write about the experience of being completely conscious while my human rights are fragrantly violated, giving concrete examples of those violations. Then I will write about how I am enduring it and how I am able to stand a situation like this one. Finally, I will write about how it will influence my teaching style from now on.

Through these last weeks I has discovered many things that I was unaware of. I discovered many of them suddenly, others through contemplation in prayer. I can’t tell them all in a single text, but one of the discoveries I have made is that my human rights had been, and are being, fragrantly violated. I am being subject of cruel treatment. I am being subject of torture. I am being subject of ideological persecution. These are not easy affirmations to make, especially when they involve collaboration of your own “family”, but reality must be faced.

Let’s begin with the beginning. What is a human right? A human right is “a right that is believed to belong justifiably to every person.” In words of United Nations, “Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, regardless of race, sex, nationality, ethnicity, language, religion, or any other status. Human rights include the right to life and liberty, freedom from slavery and torture, freedom of opinion and expression, the right to work and education, and many more.  Everyone is entitled to these rights, without discrimination.” The Universal Declaration of Human Rights has 30 articles.

In my own words, human rights are rights that belong to all persons unconditionally. They are not negotiable. They are not respected only in those people who believe what you believe or only in those people who stand your own ideology. Governments and public servers are entitled to guarantee that these rights are respected always.

Which violations of human rights I have endured? I will write examples.

Article 3. Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person: I have been made believe that my live is in danger many times, through many different methods, and that is both against the security of person and against the right to life. These methods require coordination, resources and collaboration of many people, I am not talking about an isolated initiative. I am being exposed to certain set of sounds or images in wherever place I go, including “medical appointments” (I wouldn’t call them exactly “medical appointments” but torture, but I will talk about that later…), in order to try to control my freedom of movement and to make me believe that I have a psychiatric disorder. I have been exposed to sounds to interrupt my sleep many, many, many times, and that is against the right to life.

Article 9. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile: I still remember one of the times I was forced by the police to undergo psychiatric treatment. He did not allow me 30 minutes to finish what I was doing and gather all my things, telling me that “he did not had the time to wait, he needed to go and help more people.” Obviously, he was playing with my Twitter username, “helping to grow” (that has happened many, many, many times, specially among public servers and doctors who insist me when they are forcing me to undergo psychiatric treatment that “they only want to help me”).

I have been subject of arbitrary detention, using judicial orders that are based in manipulations of reality, by police at least three times. Police officers went inside my room, forced me to get out when I was actually being abused mentally and emotionally and I was not able to recognize it, and made me choose between jail or psychiatric treatment.

Article 10. Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him: When a tribunal insists in forcing you to seek psychiatric treatment (I have lost the count of how many times I have been hospitalized by force by the tribunal of Toa Alta, but they are around 5, and still counting…) when the real problem is the manipulation of reality and the abuse of your parents, evidently the tribunal is not impartial but part of the ideological persecution. This is especially true when your parents use the tribunal orders to try to medicate you by force, and when you are not able to defend yourself because the Government doesn’t provide you a free layer to defend yourself and you don’t have the money to hire one.

Article 12. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks: All that I am living began with the interference with my privacy. Those who are around me were accessing my thoughts and my writings through my computers and devices for years without I being able to notice. When I finally was able to notice it, I was made believe that I had a psychiatric disorder in order to not daring to denounce it publicly for fear of a forced hospitalization or to not being believed by the competent authorities. Last time I went to seek help, a few week ago to the police in Miami, I was told that I only needed to “take my meds”. I never received help of any Government authority in order to stop this interference with my privacy. My correspondence has been opened without my consent many, many, many times, and I have missed many letters too.

Article 17. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property: I have missed the count of how many things I have lost in my “own room”. My security card is not where I left it, my passport card is not where I left it, my Puerto Rican and USA flags disappeared… Through the years I have lost many, many, many things believing that the problem was me. Now I finally realize that the problem was not me in most of the cases.

Article 18. Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance: Besides article 5, this is the article that has been violated most deeply. Everything that has been done, all the torture, all the privacy interferences, all the manipulations of reality, even the false psychiatric diagnosis (there was an image of the Santiago’s Way, the place where I discovered my vocation, in the promotion of the place where my parents took me for treatment) has been done in order to undermine the truth of what I have contemplated in prayer and to manipulate what I contemplate in prayer or how I live my faith. This has been truly savage. I have never understood such obsessions in manipulating the prayers of someone else or in denying the faith practices of someone. The violations to this human right has been the core of all the human rights violations that I have endured and am enduring right now.

Article 19. Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers: When you are being threatened with a forced psychiatric hospitalization by many people, including doctors, if you say what you believe is the truth, evidently your freedom of expression is being violated. Also, the forced medications make me harder to write, so they also affect the freedom of expression.

Article 25. Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control: Right now I had not been given money for food, medicines or anything else in two weeks. Why? I was threatened to not being given money for food, being left without car to going to mass, being left without internet to communicate… if I did not follow a psychiatric treatment. The psychiatric treatment is being forced in order to cover the truth about the violations of human rights and the abuse that is happening, and in order to avoid me to express myself freely.

Article 27. (1) Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits. (2) Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author:  the ideological persecution has been of such magnitude that interferes with my right of freely participate in the cultural life that surrounds me. Manipulations of reality are constantly being created by many means. I will give an example of this. My parents leave the papers of my forced hospitalization and my medical plan card besides something with a Puerto Rican flag. Then, when I go to the medical office to the forced appointment, I find that a Puerto Rican flag is placed in the desk of the secretary that receives me to the office, that belongs to a government agency. Then you are being told in that office that you need to go to the office of Medicare in Toa Alta to seek a paper, and when you go there a person with a Puerto Rican flag is “casually” walking by when you arrive to office to seek the needed paper.

The only way to avoid that kind of manipulations of reality is avoiding cultural life until everything is publicly known and you can enjoy a home free of reality manipulations that manipulate your social and cultural life.

Also, everything has been done in order to avoid me to complete my painting, Iesu Amor, and the written works related to Jesus Charity.

Article 28. Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized: As I already wrote, the ideological persecution and the violations of human rights that I have endured has not been something of one person, or two, or three. Hundreds of persons are needed to do something like this. This has not happened only in Puerto Rico: it happened in Miami and even in the cruise ship I was forced to go. A corruption of this magnitude needs some sort of political support. The democratic order is being substituted by an ideological order, and that can’t be allowed to happen. Using fear to try to manipulate people and ideas is being a terrorist, and that can’t be allowed anywhere, especially in USA, the land of the free. It is my duty as citizen to denounce what I have endured in order to avoid anyone else to endure the same violations of human rights that I have endured for my faith.

You may realize that I skipped some articles of the Declaration of Human Rights. I skipped one in purpose: the article 5. The article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that no one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Now I realize that I have endured and am enduring torture. I will explain how.

First of all, what is torture? United Nations Convention Against Torture, in its article 1.1, defines “torture” as “any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him, or a third person, information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity.”

Manipulating reality in such way that you believe that you have a psychiatric disorder becomes torture when Government agencies complicitly help with the scheme. You just don’t create a psychiatric disorder manipulating the reality at home and in the social environments, although that already requires a lot of coordination and resources. Besides manipulating reality, you need a psychiatric medicine faculty that complies and participates in the manipulation of reality in order to diagnose the disorder and “certify” it officially. You need a tribunal that complies and participates in the manipulation of reality in order to force you to seek treatment for that disorder even when you know that everything has been made up and that you don’t need medications that cause you secondary effects that affect your written expression. You need a public agency that has doctors and personal complicit with the manipulation or reality… Why this is torture? Because it had been made with cooperation of public servers, a public university and public authorities. You are constantly treated as a mental patient and as a disabled in such way that, if you had not a clear vision of who you are and who you are called to be, you would lose your whole personality and your identity in the process. Yes, all this is a process of dehumanization, I am well aware of it.

Now, how I have endured everything? How I am enduring all this and still remain to be myself without fears? The answer is simple: God rescued me by making me able to contemplate Jesus Charity, the contemplation of His Love incarnated in Jesus that I painted in the painting Iesu Amor. I have truly discovered that Love is not an ideology: God is Love, and that truth has defined me in such way that no dehumanization process could harm me. I am a daughter of God, a beloved princess of Heaven, a human being in the process of becoming a work of Love. Through integraction I have deepened the nature of personal formation in ways that overcome my own intellectual capacity. When I developed integraction I was not aware of what was happening around me. It was God telling me: “this is the path you must follow in order to not dehumanize yourself, in order to become who you are called to be.” God has not left me alone. The presence of His Love has saved me from hate, cruelty and dehumanization. He is giving me the gift of forgiving everything and beginning a new life, leaving my sinful past behind.

I am so grateful of what I had been given the gift of share to the whole humanity (believe me, this will be publicly known, I contemplate it clearly…) that I would endure everything again just for the opportunity of telling the whole world: truly, God is Love, God saves, God loves you. I have no idea of why all this has been allowed by public agencies and authorities, but I am sure that everything is part of God’s will and that I am safe in His hands. Just for writing this blog post, I am exposed to being hospitalized by force again. I don’t care. I can’t avoid to share with the whole world the truth: God has saved me, God has forgiven me, and can forgive you too. He is waiting you eagerly with His tenderness to help you to grow and become the best person you can be. I am not denying the reality that surrounds me: my human rights are being violated and I am being tortured… but God’s Love is protecting me from all harm and all dehumanization. God is honoring my humanity in ways that I can only be grateful, because what I have contemplated and what I am contemplating can only be a grace. The reality of God’s Love embraces everything and heals everything, including violations of human rights and torture. The charity of Jesus makes all things anew and creates true peace. Evil never has the last word. God’s Love has it. Although I have written today about all the violation of human rights I have endured, it is also true (I contemplate it…) that I have encountered many angels in my way to whom I also owe my life, and to them I will be forever grateful.

How all this influences my teaching style? I have learned that besides teaching my students to radiate Love, teaching about human rights is necessary in order to help them to achieve the best personal formation possible. Human rights must be integrated in the curriculum in order to create better persons, better citizens and a better society… and eventually, a better world. Yes, a better world. We can’t conform with mediocrity and corruption. We need to aspire to a better world. That is what Jesus call us to do when He calls us to radiate His Love unconditionally and what we are called to do as public servers. We need to teach our students how to create a better nation, a better humanity, and I have learned that human rights are an essential part of that lesson.

Let’s keep growing…

Becoming a Work of Love

I wrote an essay today for the professional seminar of my teaching practicum. In this essay I am supposed to write about what I have learned through the teaching practicum, what are my strengths and weaknesses as a teacher, what are my expectations and projections as a teacher, and what I can give to my country and my people as a teacher. I usually share this kind of essays on Sundays, but because next Sunday I will not be able to share anything due being outside Puerto Rico (in Miami), I chose to share this essay today, the same day I wrote it. It may also be seen as a tribute for all the brave people who have given and are giving their lives to our country and to make our free growth possible, not only for those in the military, but also for all the citizens that strive a better growth and a better country for all.

Becoming a Work of Love 

What is the most important thing I have learned as a student teacher? That I am not only teaching students: I am teaching human beings. I am not only an ESL teacher: I am a public server whose being, action, realization and projection is a growth model for those who I teach. I have the capacity to create the change that my nation needs with my personal growth and my teacher’s lessons. As John. F. Kennedy said in his inaugural address: “My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what can you do for your country.” I have discovered as a student teacher what I can do for my country as a fellow American and also as a Christian: creating a culture of sacramental Love, communicating humanity and affirming unconditionally the best growth possible for every person through helping to be, helping to do, helping to grow and helping to radiate everyone as the best person that each one can become; as a sacrament of God’s Love, capable of radiating that Love with his or her personal formation’s growth. As I taught my lessons as student teacher I learned to contemplate each student not only as a student and as a person, but as a human being in process of becoming a “work of Love,” a living sign of God’s Love. Every person is actually sacred and has the potentiality of becoming a sacrament of Love, and through my lessons I was able to learn a concrete way to honor that sacralization and sacramentalization as I served my students with ESL lessons.

How prepared I feel to teach? To be sincere with myself, I think that I have many things to learn yet, but I also think that that is part of my own process of becoming the best person and teacher I can be. I hope to find good mentors along the way for keep growing as a teacher until becoming the best teacher I can be.

What are my strengths? I think that my deepest strength is my formation in the Faculty of Humanities. That helps me to teach departing from the human being, not from the “curriculum”.  Let’s say this in other way: for me, integrating my student’s personal formation is an essential part of the curriculum. It works wonders as a class management technique too, although it was not my intention to use it that way. When students see that you care for them, respect them as persons and want to help them to become the best persons they can be, they get more engaged and get more conscious of the importance of learning how to control themselves and behave better. This is part of embracing learning as a personal formation process, not as an academic process or a mere information transmission process. I have learned that class management is not a matter of following rules in the first place but a matter of integrating humanity in the first place and then following rules.

In what areas I need improvement? My grammar teaching skills definitively need improvement. I have a lot of learning ahead about grammar. The root of this deficiency is that I am not good at grammar in my first language, Spanish, neither. It is very hard to me to define the form and understand the function of all words (I am very used to abduct those that I don’t know, and the abduction is usually right). However, I achiever to understand some terms that I was not able to understand before as I studied them for teaching them (for example: as easy as it seems, I just understood what is the progressive verb tense and how to difference it from the simple verb tense as I discussed them with my third graders). Other area where I need improvement is pronunciation, but this can be easily improved by moving to United States and talking English on a daily basis. How do I compensate these weaknesses? Mainly, through consulting grammar books for understanding better whatever I need to understand in order to teach it, and also through hearing music and movies in English. That helps me to get the correct pronunciation of words (I had never been able to learn pronunciation through the phonetic transcriptions of the words…).

What are my expectatives and projections? My expectative is to be an ESL teacher somewhere in the United States after finishing my master’s degree in Differentiated Education. I am thinking in a place that has a good teaching mentorship program, good integration of technology, decent teaching resources, some professional development time and a strong Latino population. A decent salary and patronal contribution to the Social Security (teachers in the public system in Puerto Rico doesn’t have Social Security contribution, and for me is very important to contribute to the Social Security, I believe it should be a duty for everyone in working age) would be a plus. My projection is becoming a better teacher and a better human being, wherever I could be, and becoming a work of Love that radiates God’s Love through her personal formation’s growth.

What I can give to my country, United States? This is a very interesting question because in Puerto Rico what is usually asked is what United States can give to Puerto Rico. What I can give to United States? I can create through my lessons and teaching style a culture of sacramental Love: a culture where we all see us as living sacraments in the process of becoming a work of Love. For a Christian this necessarily means praying, living the Church’s sacraments and growing in ecclesial unity, but I can also see my students as living signs in the process of becoming a work of Love without teaching them about my faith but about our humanity and our personal formation: how we are all human beings, how is our personal formation (what we all have in common in our growth), how we are all called to grow in communion and human fraternity, how we are all called to be the best persons we can be, how we are called to help each other to become the best person we can be… This is what being American is about for me: helping others unconditionally to be the best persons they can be. This definition of being American is not based in any partisan view, but in an unconditional pro-growth vision, in an unconditional humanity vision.

What I can give to my people, Puerto Rico? Besides what I just said, that applies perfectly here too, I can give to Puerto Rico a definition of being Puerto Rican that doesn’t depends on partisan views but in personal formation: what makes us Puerto Ricans is how we help us to be, to do, to grow and to radiate each other, with enchantment and warmth, with a vision of unconditional hospitality and cultural integration that is truly Puerto Rican. I don’t believe in any definition of being Puerto Rican that depends on our political status struggle, in any partisan view, or in any linguistic view (for example: you can be Puerto Rican and not knowing Spanish, or you can be Puerto Rican and not knowing English). Our political status struggle is very real and a huge problem of human rights, but we need to learn how to see us beyond what divide us and then works towards overcoming our differences with respect, as human equals, as brothers and sisters of the same human family. This begins with an education that is strongly based on promoting the best personal formation possible for everyone, including both students and teachers, not based solely in the decisions of the political party in power or in economic choices. There should be a ten year goal plan for the Department of Education that aims a structure that is independent from the changes related with elections and political power.

Teaching English, for me, is a way to promote the best personal growth possible among my students, among my people and among my country. For me, this is the key lesson of our times: we are all human beings, we are all a human family, we are all deserving of the best growth possible. We can’t keep teaching with our growth to help only those who are convenient to a certain ideology of political party’s views. We need to teach that we are all unconditionally called to growth, that we are all in the process of becoming a work of Love, so we need to help us each other as human beings, loving each other with unconditional humanity. If you want to see this from a Christian view, we can say that we all are a miracle of God’s Love in the process of becoming a sacrament of His Love. This is what I dream to teach as a teacher and as a person: how to become the best persons we can be, how to be, do, grow and radiate until becoming a work of Love.

Because I believe that teachers are public servers, I will end this essay with the same line that some elected public servers usually end their oath of service:

So help me God…

The Happiest Teacher On Earth

Today I am going to share an essay that I wrote for one of my University classes: Teaching ESL Writing. The task was writing an essay about a picture, and I chose a very special picture for me: Iesu Amor (the painting I made for imaging God’s Love) being exhibited in the Art’s Festival of the World Youth Day in Brazil. This essay explains what makes me “the happiest teacher on Earth.”

Here is the essay:

The Happiest Teacher On Earth


This picture is the portrait of the exhibition of a painting that I created, titled “Iesu Amor” (“Jesus Love” or “Jesus Charity” in English).

How I had the idea of creating an icon that imagined the Love of God? Everything began in an exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. The Eucharist was exposed for viewing, clearly visible to my sight. I had the idea of creating an icon that “imagined” God as Love in order to “discover” my vocation, which was supposedly lost (or so I believed in that moment). I was a moment of crisis in my life. I had no idea of where I belonged, where and how I could serve with my talents, or if I could be able to live my faith as catholic.

I began reading the encyclical Deus Caritas Est, of Pope Benedict XVI, and contemplating it in prayer, in front of the Blessed Sacrament or in my own room, through adoring God’s presence with my whole personal growth. Little by little, each form of the painting began to be discerned through this contemplation. I can’t mention all the symbols that the painting contain, but I can mention the first ones that were clear in my heart once I began to create a “visual imagination” of God’s Love.

The first shape of the painting to be discerned and formed was Jesus himself: the way that human being is able to “imagine” God’s Love is through Jesus, the incarnation of that Love. This choice of this imagination is inspired in two very concrete sentences of the Deus Caritas Est: “We have come to believe in God’s love: in these words, the Christian can express the fundamental decision of his life. Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction.” So, the image of a God that is Love must be a Person: Jesus of Nazareth. This is the most basic form shaped in Iesu Amor.

The next shape to be discerned was how to imagine the nature of the “breath” (being) and “do” (action) of Jesus in unity. I discerned that with a figure of a resurrected Jesus that was in a wall behind the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament: I realized that I could imagine Jesus’ nature as light, both in the sense of light as being and light as verb, by painting him like a “living star of Heaven”, a resurrected Jesus that was a morning star, like the Book of Revelation’s star. That way, I chose to paint Jesus radiating light from the eyes, from the tunic (the own body) and from the lamp. Discerning this was harder than it seems. It was not simple for me finding a way to paint the nature of Jesus that I was contemplating through the reading of the Deus Caritas Est.

The next form to be discerned was the “giftedness”, the personal self-giving through communion. Because Jesus’ self-giftedness to the Church is complete, the painting must be a gift to the whole Church. I imagined this form in a very particular way: instead of painting this giftedness, I made the whole painting an “ecclesial gift”: I proposed it as a gift for Pope Francis. It never materialized that way, and as a matter of fact it was a way too simple painting to be considered a gift for the Pope, I knew it, but the important thing for God was the disposition. All this is inspired in the sentence of the Deus Caritas Est that says “Since God has first loved us, love is now no longer a mere “command”; it is the response to the gift of love with which God draws near to us.” The encyclical says that “In a world where the name of God is sometimes associated with vengeance or even a duty of hatred and violence, this message is both timely and significant”. To that I add: in a world where the name of God is often associated with profit and worldly success, personal giftedness, learning to give us as freely as Jesus gives himself to the Church, is a timely message.

Finally, is a part in the Deus Caritas Est that says: “Love of God and love of neighbor have become one: in the least of the brethren we find Jesus himself, and in Jesus we find God… Love of neighbor is a path that leads to the encounter with God and that closing the eyes to our neighbor also blinds us to God.” I shaped this idea in a very particular way: Jesus is walking towards the center, towards the person, towards the neighbor… He is not walking to the right nor to the left, but towards the front, were the person who is contemplating him is. Also, the eyes are wide open, looking to the person and radiating light.

Although I did finish the painting itself, and shared it in the Arts Festival of the World Youth Day of Brazil (were this picture was taken) this creative project became the project of my life: to shape God’s Love in my own personal formation. Therefore this photo means a lot to me: it imagines the creative goal of my life, sharing and radiating God’s Love, humanely and ecclesially. As an ESL teacher, this means that teaching for me is an act of love, that I contemplate every student as person in the process of becoming a work of God’s Love and that I am called to help them to be, to do, to grow and to radiate unconditionally, and to learn to love them through my lessons as God loves us. This is a responsibility, but also a gift that makes me the happiest teacher and person on Earth.

An Integractive Vision

Today I will write about a personal choice that influences my teaching style: the choice of contemplating reality through an integractive vision.

We all see and build reality through a concrete vision. No one can avoid that. It is very important to be conscious of how we see and construct reality, especially if you are a teacher, because teachers help their students to realize their own vision. What are my principles for building my vision of reality? How accurate is my reality perception? How integractively coherent is my reality? What is the point of view of my reality? These are all very important questions that usually are not assumed consciously. Let’s answer each one of those questions.

What are my principles for building my vision of reality? I have a very concrete foundation for building my vision of reality: integraction, or personal formation’s growth. That’s why I call my vision an “integractive vision”: the foundation of my vision of reality are the human growth processes, or how the person grows, humanely and ecclesially, until becoming who is meant to be. In everything I see I ask myself how this or that helps people’s personal growth, how it informs, conform, transform and reform the whole personal formation, how it helps the person to be the best person he or she can be. With “integraction” I do not mean my own personal formation’s growth, but personal formation’s growth according to truth.

How accurate is my reality perception? With “accurate” I mean “non-ideological”. I will explain what I mean with “non-ideological”.

Usually our reality’s vision is perceived as “liberal” (left direction) or “conservative” (right direction).  In integraction, the left and right directions (emanations) of the integractor are interpreted in a very different way: one direction is meant to be actuality and the other direction is meant to be potentiality. This is a very different notion of “right” and “left”: it is not an “ideological perception” but an “integractive perception.” The direction of the integractive perception depends on the actuality and potentiality of personal formation’s growth, not upon “conservative directions” or “liberal directions. This can be very hard to understand to people that are used to perceive everything as “conservative” or “liberal.” Having an integractive perception of reality means that it is perfectly possible to affirm both “conservative directions” and “liberal directions”, because it all depends on what helps the whole person to be, to do, to grow and to radiate until becoming the best person he or she could be. There are some “liberal directions” that inform, can conform, transform and reform all the personal formation’s growth, like defending the poor and standing for immigrants and refugees. At the same time, there are some “conservative directions” that also can inform, conform, transform and reform all the personal formation’s growth, like defending the life of the unborn, defending religious freedom and defending a strong economy. There are “liberal directions” that are against the integraction, actual or potential, of the whole personal formation of everyone, like promotion abortion, and there are “conservative directions” that also are against the integraction, actual or potential, of the whole personal formation of everyone, like promoting the use of guns. The integractive perception relies on whatever helps the person, potentially or actually, to be, to do, to grow and to radiate as the best person he or she can become, no matter if it may come from the “conservative direction” or from the “liberal direction”. From the integractive perspective, the conservative and liberal issue really doesn’t matter at all: both can be right sometimes, and both can be wrong sometimes. What’s right is right no matter which ideology proposes it; what’s wrong is wrong no matter which ideology proposes it. What matters in the integractive perception is the actuality and the potentiality of integraction, of the personal formation’s growth processes. Whatever breaks or hurts any of those processes is wrong, not matter if it comes from the conservative side or from the liberal side.

One particular detail on this conservative and liberal issue: it is usually understood that the “creative” side are liberals and the “traditional” side are conservatives. I am both highly creative and highly traditional (yes, you can be both at the same time), but I do not define myself as liberal or conservative, but as integractive. It always surprises me when people can’t conceive another perception beyond “liberal” and “conservative”. I really don’t understand why being creative and being traditional should be perceived as opposed to each other, as some insist to promote. Let me be clear: there is absolutely nothing wrong in being conservative or being liberal, I am no one to judge anyone. However, there is absolutely nothing wrong in not perceiving reality with a “liberal direction” or a “conservative direction” neither. The constant war between conservatives and liberals, even inside the Church, is a waste of time and cognitive energy for me. I pass of having an oppositional perception, I choose to have an affirmative perception. I prefer to invest my cognitive energies and my time in affirming the best personal formation’s growth possible, potential an actual, for everyone. As you may guess, due this I have been seen as an “opposition” by both conservatives and liberals. My intention is not opposing anyone, I really don’t need to oppose anyone. I only need to oppose to whatever hurts or breaks personal formation’s growth processes, whatever hurt or breaks human dignity. I merge “pro-choice” and “pro-life” in a single expression: “pro-growth.” I am “pro-choice” in the sense that I affirm that everyone is entitled, just for being human being, to the choice of grow, including the unborn. I am “pro-life” in the sense that I affirm that everyone is entitled to a life of growth. For me, both “pro-choice” and “pro-life” can mean “pro-growth.”

What is the difference between an ideology and an integraction? Ideology is based in a system of personal values. Integraction is based in a system of personal formation. The personal formation includes values, but it doesn’t force a certain set of values, as ideologies does. An ideological perception models the personal formation processes according to values. An integractive perception models the values according to the personal formation processes. This is what I mean with “integractive perception”, in its both directions, actuality and potentiality. For concluding this I am departing from both ecclesial and human integration: spiritual/organic-intellectual-social discernment (contemplation/observation-ponderation-interaction). Answering how “accurate” the reality perception requires to integrate all of those kinds of discernment. How integractively coherent is my reality? This refers to how integration, action, realization and projection are in harmony between them, forming a whole unity, and also refers to the universality of the growth’s affirmation. For example: if I affirm the best growth possible for everyone, the same applies to the unborn and to those who identify themselves as LGBT, and the same applies in my action, in my realization in my projection, it is not only an “intellectual idea”, a “social construct” or an “organic image”. If you are integractively coherent, the affirmation of the best personal formation possible for everyone must be equally consistent in all the personal formation growth processes: in the integration, in the action, in the realization and in the projection. If you are integractively coherent, you can’t act affirming the best personal formation of everyone but not project yourself affirming the same. For example: you can’t act promoting the best growth possible for everyone and project yourself with an abortion or not respecting those who identify themselves a LGBT people. Something is wrong in the integractive coherence if that happens.

What is the point of view of my reality? The best growth possible of everyone, not only mine. Is not merely and “I” point of view: it is the point of view of the “I” and the “we” in communion. No matter how “alone” someone could think he or she is, I write “alone” that way because I believe that if we grow we are necessarily growing in communion, with God and with the other, as brothers and sisters of the same human family. Human being is that way, only grows in communion. That’s the point of view: communion, “personal giftedness” (the self-giving to others as a gift), both humanely (human fraternity, helping to be, to do, to grow and to radiate as the best person we can be, becoming living signs of humanity) and ecclesially (sacramental fraternity, helping to be, to do, to grow and to radiate as incarnated sacraments, becoming living signs of God’s Love).

There is a very important issue about reality that must be considered consciously too: no human being can control reality, only God can. No matter how much information about a person’s life we may have, even if we manage to access very sensible information about his or her most intimate spiritual conscience, only God can control his or her reality. Many ideological influences may seem to try to control reality through several methods (for example: through control of conscience, or through control of information), but at the very end, only God can control it, and He always amazes everyone with His Love’s surprises. God’s Love, being loved by God, is human being’s most evident reality: everything else is radiated from that Love. There is no brighter clarity in reality than contemplating how we are loved by God and there is no deeper mystery in reality than confessing that God is Love, so our humanity is created by Love, for Love and with Love.

All this means that progress, for me, is not an ideological progress, the progress of propagation of some values. Progress is the unconditional promotion of the best personal growth possible for everyone, no matter in which developmental stage the person is and no matter the sexual diversity, the political diversity, the functional diversity, the gender diversity… Progress is learning to recognize ourselves as growing persons with equal dignity, with all the consequences that this implies. We are very far away of accomplishing the best growth possible for everyone. We are very far away of achieving a better understanding, recognition and promotion of all the personal formation’s processes in every person. We still rely the worth of the person in ideological values, instead of valuing ideologues according to the worth of the person. Humanity needs true progress and true tradition: humanity need the best personal growth possible for everyone, not only to those who seem convenient according to a certain ideology. We need to learn how to embrace our whole personal formation and help each other to become the best person we can become just because we recognize each other as human family, not because someone stands my own ideological values, so it is convenient to me to helping him or her to grow. Not recognizing every human being as a person unconditionally worthy of growth, denying the personal formation’s growth of some human beings, is the biggest injustice of our times.

How all these details about my integractive vision influence my teaching style? Well, first of all, for me teaching is a radiation of Love. Actually, the whole personal formation’s growth is a radiation of Love that creates communion, family and community. No matter what, the student must know that he or she is unconditionally loved in every growth stage, including when he or she commits a mistake. Although I never had the need to talk about God’s Love in any of my English classes (no religious theme has been discussed in any of my English classes), I try and pray for the grace of letting each student know through my English lessons how unconditionally loved he or she is, in the same way God let me know how unconditionally loved I am and I will always be, no matter how dire or hurtful the circumstances could be. That is my way of “evangelizing”: radiating God’s Love through my being, my action, my realization and my projection, even if I do not expressly pronounce the word “God” with phonemes.

A second influence of my integractive vision is I never try to control my student’s reality, and this means a lot of things. I let them be and let them grow respecting their dignity, their integrity, their whole personal formation’s processes. What I do try to keep in control and try to help my students to learn how to keep in control is behavior, what is very different than try to control someone’s reality through an ideological vision. For example: it is not the same trying to impose a specific value through using books that only propose a convenient value (that’s ideological) than trying to help the student to acquire a new habit that allows his or her whole personal formation to grow more coherently (that’s integractive).

Another way my integractive vision influences my teaching style is that I have learned to respect my student’s own vision and helping them to realize how to be more coherent with the vision they choose to build, whatever it is. This is more applicable to middle school students than to elementary school students, because elementary school students are usually still “learning to see”, so you need to present them all the views possible in order to make them are able to understand different point of view and create their own visions. That can be done in many ways during the class, especially through modeling examples that are pertinent to each student’s personal formation. How do I know that the examples I model are pertinent to the students’ personal formation? At the beginning of our first class together I gave them a homework: an interest inventory in which I asked many questions about them. I gave it as a homework so they can take as much time as they need to think the answers and write them according to the information they choose to share with me. For example: there are students that have medical conditions that they choose to not share with me, although I have known them from other legitimate sources. Whatever information that they choose not to share with me, I don’t take it count or assume as known in our conversations and classwork. This interest inventory is key to me to know what examples are more pertinent to each students’ personal formation, although talking with them and playing with them also works to know it too. I have them in a binder with sheet protectors and consult it as many times as I need, because I don’t have the memory to memorize all their answers, but I need to keep them present constantly.

Other way my integractive vision influences my teaching style is through trying to create communion (unconditional personal giftedness), to create family (unconditional personal acceptance) and to create community (unconditional personal empathy) in the classroom, so there is the “creative growing space” needed to learn how to become the best person they can be while learning English as second language. I do not explain them explicitly this (I do not want them to learn that they must do things the same way I do them, I usually seek the way to let them choose how to do things, although the instructions do state clearly what they should do), I simply do whatever is necessary to achieve the needed “creative personal growth” environmental conditions. I consider that the learning environment is part of the curriculum, so creating a space where learning and personal growth is possible as its best is something that I really try to care. For me it’s a proven fact that students learn more and better when they see that the teacher care their personal growth and respect them as persons in the first place. The school culture has a lot to do about this too. This is not something that a teacher can do by her own initiative alone, the school learning principles (I prefer to consider them “growing principles”) must allow this too. This has been the case in the Elementary School where I had been doing my teaching practicum.

I took me a long time and some life experience to learn that reality is not accurately assessed with an ideological vision but with an integractive vision, a vision founded in the personal formation’s processes, in how the person becomes who he is and who he is called to be, and in the unconditional dignity of every person. It also took me some time and experience to realize that reality can’t be manipulated at the own will, sooner or later it reveals itself. All this influences not only my teaching style but my whole understanding of personal formation. Contemplating reality through an integractive vision definitely helps me to grow not only as the best person I can become, but as the person God calls me to be.

Let’s keep growing!