Thursday, March 22, 2007

10.9 WEEKS

Today (Thursday, March 22) is the 10.9th week (Friday is my 11th session or my 11th week) of my teaching/consultation job at my MBA Alma mater, DLSU. And so far my job is been a tiring one with a few surprises and upsets here and there. Thus far, I’ve been through an unflattering teacher’s evaluation, which according to my colleagues who happened to peeked at some of our student’s ratings as to be mediocre. I’ve also encountered what we Filipinos called “makulit na estudyante” (hardheaded students) at the early part of the course. We also happened to earn the dean’s ire for not “requesting” for a job interview way before we started the “job”, which we honestly didn’t know that we had to. And I personally got into a “tense” conversation (it took me almost 2 hours till 30 minutes past midnight) with one of my student’s mother who was particularly distressed that how a great institution like La Salle is turning out graduates who aren’t what she expected to be and she apparently pin the blame on me and venting her frustration on me. She faulted me for not teaching her son on the “proper outlook” on society and on fellow human beings, two things that is simply way, way out of my job description (My job is to help the candidates finish their paper for Oral Comprehensive Examination and prepare them for OCE). Aside from that, I occasionally committed bloopers, faux pas…. Also, my voice is relatively weak when I’m “discussing” in front of the class. I occasionally forgot my line and most of the time, I came in half prepared (as in I didn’t make a powerpoint presentation for my discussions but rely on the good ‘ol whiteboard and marker). Lastly, my students think that I’m a big “terror” and some are actually quite afraid of me! And come to think of it, I haven’t given anybody any grades yet as of now. On the bright side, the candidates (I don’t actually call them my students but refer them as guys and treat them as if they were my buddies, which a number of them actually are) and me and my colleagues get along quite well. The discussions are mostly informal and some of my pals could actually make a wisecrack or two during the discussions. My colleagues, Carol and Juhdes are especially helpful and supportive and helped me a lot with class management. We make a habit of discussing our class plans for the following week after each class. And most importantly, we get along quite well. I’m actually quite proud that I chose the right people for the job! As for the candidates, well, lately, I could sense that they are beginning to “understand” what I’m driving at. The strategic mindset that is essential in making a good STRAMA paper is somewhat forming though I don’t have any concrete evidence yet but I could “feel” it. The question they’re asking, the eureka moments when they understood my discussions and my mentor’s (Professor Cruz) lectures, and their general seriousness in finishing their paper, all points towards a “blooming” mind. I must have done something right albeit it must be a small part of it (a large part of it is due to Professor Cruz’s lecture). However, the real test of what I’m doing is in the OCE proper. Specifically, how many of them would pass their OCE? And that hinges on a greater part on their paper (a significant part relies also on their actual performance during OCE) and how we helped them “improve” it but hopefully with their “greater understanding”, the quality might just be better. I’m keeping my fingers cross. On the frustrating side, a few of the candidates (“mga pasaway”) are actually requesting for a submission date beyond the deadline, which happens to be on the last day of class. And that request was made as early as 3 weeks ago! Although I wished they could submit it on time, then again, not everything goes my way according to plan. I just hoped that they came up with a quality paper and actually finished it and not give up on it. Anyway, tomorrow is my 11th week and I still have 3 more weeks (4 if you include Holy Week) to go before everything is “nominally” over (nominally because we will be checking their papers after the end date). Thankfully! And Boy! Am I tired! Sometimes I do wonder how my mentor handles classes like this. Talking for 3 hours straight while standing! (I nearly lost my voice on some occasions) Handling students, which he termed as “potentially disruptive”. Teaching is no joke and the good thing is I signed on for just one term (14 weeks = 1 trimester term)!