Jack of All Trades, Master of None

By Toni Rose Piñero , Manila, Philippines

I refer to myself as an educator and I have a Professional Teaching license, but I have never really taught inside a classroom. I have been a teaching assistant, a research assistant, an education consultant, a tutor and a director of a tutorial center. But I have never had a class I could call my “own”. I’ve never ventured into classroom teaching because I would always ask myself, what would I teach? I did not major in English, Math, Science or History but I knew I wanted to be in the context of the academic setting. It doesn’t necessarily have to do with being inside the classroom or being in contact with students. I just have that keen interest in education and the learning process. I have participated in the training of our country’s School Superintendents for the transition to K-12. Although I was just one of those organizers helping to facilitate the training, I really embraced the experience and the learning that the speakers shared. I learned why we were shifting to the K-12 system, the number of countries who still remain in the K-10 curriculum, how our schools would adapt to the new curriculum, and many more things related to the shift. There are so many implications caused by this shift. For example by 2016, we will have very few high school graduates because most of our 4th year high school students (i.e. 10th graders) will transition to 11th grade instead of entering college (in the old K-10 curriculum,  students would enter university/college education straight after 10th grade).

I have graduated with a Bachelor Degree in Educational Psychology and now I am in the course of finishing my Master’s Degree in Learning & Teaching. Another broad degree which does not have any specific “subject matter” (but I aced our comprehensive exams! 3.91 out of 4.0). At the same time, I am an admissions and financial aid officer of my university (relatively new at the job, first anniversary in Feb 2015). And just recently, our professional regulation board announced that there is already a licensure for psychometricians. So considering my bachelor’s degree was in Educational Psychology, I was qualified to take the board exam. I told a friend who also had the same degree that I was planning to take the psychometrician board exam. She asked me, “What is it that you really want to do?” I told her “I want to take all the exams that I am qualified to take”.

It is indeed weird. Getting all those licensures and certifications that I really don’t put into use.

And then I started to reflect and realized that I am a “Jack of all trades, master of none“.

On one hand…  it doesn’t sound attractive. But if you take another look at it again, it actually reflects a quality for the 21st century.

Things are changing rapidly. That’s pretty obvious, I think. And I remember one important thing I learned in my master’s program: “We are preparing students for jobs that do not exist yet.

That also includes me. I am preparing myself for jobs that do not exist yet (or jobs I am not aware of).

When the MOOC became a “hype” in the west, my country was pretty busy preparing for the K-12 shift.

I envy international people I get to chat with when I ask what their graduate program is: “Master in Online Learning” or “Master of Learning Sciences and Technology” (yes Tanya, that’s you =P).

The reality is, I want to specialize in e-learning, online education, educational technology, virtual learning, distance education and anything similar to it. But for now, it is not yet my calling. My country’s immediate needs are classroom teachers. That is the educational context.

My degree program is Master of Learning & Teaching. As much as I want to put “Online” before the words “Learning & Teaching” or the word “Technology” in my degree, I can’t. But what’s great about my degree is that I am going to be a master in learning. And that is what I am constantly doing. I can specialize in anything I want.

According to Wikipedia’s definition of a Millennial, people born with me fall under this generation. It is true that instead of focusing on transferring content to students, we have to equip them (or us) with 21st century skills, because “We are preparing students for jobs that do not exist yet.”

“Jack of All Trades, Master of None.

…Certainly better than a master of one.”

About the Author:
Toni Rose Pinero

Toni Rose Piñero resides in Manila, Philippines. Formerly a center director for Tutoring Club - Pasong Tamo Ext. and research assistant for the Lasallian Institute for Development and Educational Research (LIDER ). 

She is currently an admissions and financial aid officer for De La Salle University - Manila, and an educational consultant for CPM Training Center. Toni is also active in the Philippine Educational Measurement and Evaluation Association (PEMEA) where she acts as the assistant secretariat of the professional organization. As a bachelor degree holder in Educational Psychology and a candidate for a master’s degree in Learning & Teaching, Toni identifies herself as a Self-Directed Learner Forever. She blogs her learning experiences at http://tonirosepinero.blogspot.com/ and tweets her ideas at @moocresearch.

6 thoughts on “Jack of All Trades, Master of None

  1. Hi Toni – thanks again for writing this post for us. So great that to hear that you were so inspired by Simon Ensor’s post (‘writing to order’) that you decided to write for edcontexts too!! There are many things I really like about this post: that it’s a deep reflection on your situation, that it’s from a personal (not just ‘educator’ or ‘teacher’ perspective) – we are never (or have been) just ‘one’ thing, and all take on multiple roles depending on context, I like that your post reflects this.

    Your voice comes out really strongly in it. You can really hear your internal conflict between what you would ‘like’ to do in education, and what your country ‘needs’. As I said when reviewing, I love the ending. Firstly because it such a neat and elegant way to end the post, but mostly because it represents a resolution to the internal conflict – (just like all good narratives!). There’s a real positive outlook on the (your) future embedded in this ending.

    It also raises some very relevant questions on being a specialist vs a generalist in these rapidly changing times. I think there is definitely a place for both – although, as a generalist – or perhaps more aptly – someone with a diverse range of experiences – you are better equipped to adapt to changing external circumstances. And this is not necessarily just a matter of what you’re formally qualified to do, or your specific job title – it’s the total RANGE and diversity of all learning experiences that you engage in (e.g. I’m thinking of the difference between someone who is highly qualified on paper and has followed a textbox career trajectory for a certain profession but who only engages in industry relevant /recognised prof devt VS someone with the same formal qualifications / prof experience but who ALSO engages in a diverse range of informal (and usually, ‘unrecognised’) prof / personal devt activities (e.g. moocs, PLNs, learning communities, twitter chats, blogs etc….)
    Who of these two would be more able to easily adapt to a rapidly changing landscape….?

  2. You undersell yourself, Toni. I’d say you are a multi-talented, multitasking versatile and accomplished person. Love hearing your story, looking forward to seeing what you do next 🙂

  3. 19th century skills, 20th century skills, 21st century skills, jobs, trades, exams….

    Masters, servants, er let’s play, Depeche mode? (Sorry. Obscure ancient 20th century reference)

    Online, offline, flatline, sea-lion, flatline…


    Toni you are uniquely qualified to lead your life.

    All the rest is academic.

    Enjoy it.

    Thank you.

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