A Professor’s First Week

I had my Powerpoint files. I had my reference books. I had my Yahoogroups. I had Blogger Power. But nothing prepared me for the bleak, uber bare room that had only an OHP to its name. It reminded me of my Behavioral Studies days in UP, where the memory work can kill and professors would drone on and on and on until you’ve identified all your classmates’ mental disorders. I would always sit at the front because I wanted to concentrate and listen closely. I was not a person who took down notes as I relied heavily on stored memory. I thought that sitting in front would help me absorb everything…Riiiiight. Ironically, despite the position I place my butt in, my mind would go, “Psychosomatic disorder covers…how the heck do I get past those guards at Adlehyde Castle??? Man, I can’t sit still. Wait…what’s my schedule for tomorrow? Ah, yes, Rizal History. Prof doesn’t check attendance. I can cut that class to finish my quest…”

The fact that the stark difference between training corporate executives and teaching college students are as absolute as night and day didn’t make things easy. I expended lesser energy when instructing managers because they’ve been trained — by years of corporate experience — to focus. When dealing with younger people, you have to go back to your undisciplined days and remember what it was like to be carefree and dreamy.

…But I enjoyed myself.

True, I wasn’t much satisfied with the way I taught. I feel like a Sang’gre who had lost her brillante and was left with her basic powers. It also doesn’t help that I absolutely cringe at the sight of the first five weeks’ topics. These were theories and frameworks that I had discarded because of the career path I undertook. I actually can’t wait for the second half of the term because the topics covered there are my “areas of expertise.”

The bright side, however, weighs a lot more than the minor annoyances. I am constantly kept up on my toes. I lie awake every night, wondering what approaches I can take in order for my students to absorb the knowledge I can share. I want to keep them involved. Make them feel that they have an ownership in this subject.

That non-stop thinking…It’s a wonderful feeling.

“You’re enjoying yourself, aren’t you?” Bernie Lopez, a much much older professor, asked me during lunch. (He’s pretty nice, though a bit conservative.) He and I are teaching the same subject, but we have totally different methods. He likes it simple: white board and marker. Doesn’t believe that teachers should rely on Powerpoint presentations or acetates.

Thing is, I have the attention span of a toddler. If I use the basic stuff that the boring room provided, I would snore at my own lectures. I like colorful stuff and I feel like I would need those since my students are Multimedia Artists. I need to have acetates and presentations projected on the white board while I doodle on them. I don’t want them to memorize scientific, psychological, or uber-geeky engineering terms they’ll never use. I want them to be able to remember what I teach even if they’re not carrying their books. I want them to see what I teach when they go out and look at billboards, posters, DVD racks, magazines, Timezone. In any case, I showed him why I need the presentations: my stuff are filled with symbols. I need something to doodle on.

He’s right. I am enjoying myself. In fact, the last time I remember loving my work so much was when I was in Level Up! The only difference is that LU has never made me smile in that stupid, amazed, absent-minded way. I still don’t think I’m doing my job as well as I should, so I haven’t stopped racking my brains for more creative ideas to make everyone involved. No other job had ever given me THIS MUCH to learn and so many people to share it with.

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