Thursday, June 25, 2009

You used to be a student, so understand your students

I have said many times that i used to be a high school teacher. During those times, I'm not yet into blogging (it is said that the first known blog was way back 1998. Man, I'm even afraid of using the computer at that time.). It's 2006 when I started blogging.

It is expected that I will post some teaching experiences and some insights on teaching, education, my field of specialization nowadays...just like what I will do right now.

Here it goes:

I don't know about you, but for the short period of time, I experienced teaching in the elementary and high school. Nowadays, I gave college teaching a shot. After all, I got adequate credentials to teach the undergrads. Besides, it is only in teaching college that I can teach on a part time basis.

I can't help but at time laugh inside when I see college students made grammatical errors, being in their junior year. I am surpised at times when they don't follow instructions, despite repeating it once or twice.

Stereotypically, those who are teaching the undergrads will verbally insult them one way or another in situations like these. I admit that I am also tempted to do so. In fact, I even stated one incident to a co-faculty that I almost bumped my head at the wall. It is at the time that I instructed them to submit their assignment on a specific color of paper. Some submitted a white, computerized paper.

Yes, I told that situation to a co-faculty. However, I stopped there. I suddenly remember how stupid I was back in college. I also recalled some stupid mistakes I made. One of them even cost my church membership. One of them cost me the youth leadership post.

Putting that in mind, my disappointment is gone. I just laugh (not in a mean manner) on students' mistakes because most things unexpected can be taken as a punchline instead of a disappointment.

There are undergraduate professors who tend to mock stupidity by sarcasm, either by telling it to them or telling it to another faculty member in a mean fashion. On one angle, I can't blame them. As college students, you're expected to be more mature even if it is only "academic maturity".

Fellow professors, because of these expectations, we tend to imitate how the Westerners treat their college students - quite cold if not cold, especially in graduate school. Attend my class or not, I don't care. I'll just write an "F" if you fail my requirements. This also prevails on THE STATE UNIVERSITY here in the Philippines. Don't get me wrong on those last statements. That approach on college students works on western countries and even on THAT STATE U. All I'm saying is before you do those intellectual bullying, remember that you've been a college student before. I guess that you've done things stupid, EVEN IF YOUR IQ IS MENSAN.

Yes, maybe you're not stupid back in your undergraduate years, most especially in your graduate years. Maybe you're a street smart and genius combined. Have you ever heard of "individual differences"? Did you know that intellectual development is different from one person to another? Have you heard the words "late bloomer"?

Yes, we must not condone stupidity, BUT there are other ways in which stupidity of particular college students be avoided. Remind them. Keep them informed. Not doing so will not only make us unconcerned, but also selfish, intellectual bullies, and proud. I never said you pamper them. All I'm saying is remind them. "Remember I'm human and humans forget" as an Old Hymn goes.

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