Monday, March 5, 2012

On A Real Positive Note

In all honesty, when I signed up at in 2005 (yikes... 7 years ago?!), I thought blogging was dumb and didn't plan on actually doing it. I only signed up under "peer-pressure" and narcissism - several friends were blogging and they kept telling me to do it because I love to write and I write so well (they said it!). *Ahem*

Then, I started posting pieces mainly as a means to vent the frustration that built inevitably from my 24 weekly contact hours with college kids. I got caught on the very appealing informality and anonymity (I now know many of you Readers actually know who I am, but really, neil used to be completely anonymous!) of blogging and there was no turning back. However, it is also worth noting that one of the other important motivating factors is Bee Ree - there's nothing like an avid blogger roomee to keep me company in this odd virtual world.

I am aware that many of my earliest posts were rants reeking with negativity and sarcasm. Sure, I wrote this post, but I wasn't being positive. I was just being as I always am - sarcastic. And... it's just dawned to me, as recently as a couple of hours ago, that I'd never actually written a sincere post on the bright side of my profession. I imagine I must've given the world the impression that I haven't an ounce of brain, or any backbone, for staying, now past 10 years, in my teaching job, which according to Ahem, is quite possibly the most horrible occupation conceivable.

As much as I can, I want to be positive. I want to see the good in all that life dishes out to me, in everyone I encounter, in everything that goes wrong. I make comedy out of mishaps, I even laugh and invite others to laugh along, at personal "flaws" I cannot rid (like being unbelievably prone to falling down despite having a supposedly low center of gravity from being so short). Therefore, I can't believe I've been so totally negative, blog-wise, all these while in this regard. I blame it on my subconscious mind.

So, here I will write an actual positive post - all the things that keep me going to work willingly, say, every 8 out of 10 working days.

Before I start, let me say this - teaching, in itself, is very rewarding. I love, and I do mean, love the feeling I get when after going through a difficult lesson, I find my class being able to answer my questions. I find it especially rewarding when some students pose questions that indicate that they'd not only understood the subject matter, but had actually been thinking about it. Most, if not all, of my issues with students stem from their attitude, not IQ.

To illustrate, there was a girl who took my course three times before she passed. I'll always remember her for being one of the best-behaved students I've ever taught. She attended every class, paid attention, did her all her work diligently and honestly and approached me often for additional guidance. After the first failure, she went a step further and attempted the problems at the end of every chapter from the textbook. To say I was impressed would be understating it. Yes, she was weak, she was perhaps in the wrong major, but she worked very hard and for that I was more than willing to spare for her whatever little time I had. I would imagine lecturing would be a dream job if the average students all have the attitude of this girl.

Still, I've had my share of good, fun students. I remember those who'd helped liven things up by occasionally cracking jokes, those who'd been happy to participate in my experimental learning methods, and those who'd made my work a breeze by adhering to deadlines and observing the rules. I particularly remember a class which had developed such a strong friendship amongst themselves they had a nickname for every person. Once, they wrote, beside each name in my attendance list, the person's nickname. Seeing the shock on my face as I got the list back, they laughed and told me they'd done it so I would remember them. I still kept that list somewhere, and I do remember them. And I remember a boy who, after being taught three times (different subjects) by me, felt comfortable enough with me to tell me how he's grown through the years, and how he's more mature then compared to when he first started college, and how he felt he was foolish to have not worked harder for his previous subjects with me.

When I moved from a college to a university, I had a pleasant surprise, for at the time, the students were mostly fantastic. A majority of them were sufficiently independent and well-behaved. I remember the time I had my class design and program games for their assignment - it was open-ended, theme-based rather than question-based. I wanted them to explore all that the programming language could offer and get creative. Most of the class came up with projects that blew me away... they had such brilliant ideas, such ingenious manners to work around limitations and obstacles, and shown so much diligence, interest and fervour in their work they delivered more than I'd expected, and from the impression I got, managed to have some fun while doing it too. It was a time when work didn't seem like actual work to me.

It isn't that I want to compare each batch with the previous, but one just can't help notice the declining independence, sense of responsibility and problem-solving abilities. I should wrap this up before I involuntarily slip into the negative... once more, I blame my subconscious mind.

So, there - despite all that I do not enjoy dealing with, I still enjoy teaching because I enjoy imparting knowledge. I am proud when my students learn what they have to learn, and learn to love learning. I am proud that some of them are alert and knowledgeable enough to point out mistakes that I make and am definitely proud of those with enough sense of humour to laugh (very loudly) with me when I wrote C++ code in a Java lecture. This is the real positive note of this aspect of my career.

Reader, if you were once in my class; if you enjoyed my lectures and felt they made a difference in your education; if are wondering if your teacher is proud of you... yes, she is. =)


laurak@forestwalkart said...

wow! 7 years!
time sure flies...when you're

seriously...i didn't even KNOW you were a teacher! anyway...congrats!! teaching can be a pretty tough job...and it's nice to hear that you love it!! if you love your job...then the people around you...will feel it...and get more out of what you're teaching!

anyway...the blog's amazing how we...transform. i think it's here...for us to be ourselves.
rant. rave. shout. whisper. laugh. whatever you feel like saying at any given time!!

have a great week!!

neil said...

Thanks, Laura... it is great when we love our jobs!

Oh, and I've always kept a journal, but blogging satisfies the part of me that's an attention-seeker! :D

You have a GREAT week too!