It is my second trimester teaching part-time in DLSU, the university where I graduated college from! I am teaching a non-academic subject called iPersef (or Integrated Personal Effectiveness) to graduating college students. Basically, it covers topics related to values, leadership and career development.
I teach on Saturdays so some Friday nights have been tiring lately but I am enjoying the process. As much as I am trying to teach things that may help them in their transition from college to the “real world” (the quotation marks imply that the term “real world” can be a false dichotomy because college is just as real as what’s after college!) and impart knowledge about what’s out there, I myself am learning… A LOT! I have also been learning more about the nature of professorship and the academe (mostly from a distance).
I am still learning how to steward my God-given time towards my part-time teaching job alongside my regular corporate job and on-going dissertation for my Masters. Yes, it can be a struggle sometimes but I am not complaining because all these are God’s answer to prayers!
Last term, the majority (if not all) of my students were under the College of Liberal Arts (CLA). This term, it’s the opposite! Only 2% of the classes I handled was from the CLA. The courses of my students varied from Engineering, Business, Education and Sciences. They’re less conversant to one another but more analytical towards the discussions. It’s not a pro or con thing; it’s just that I am learning that every class is different thus there is no such thing as one way of teaching things. I have to adapt to the needs of the students and of course be sensitive to their observable learning preferences.
Last term, I had a class of 25 students. This term, I had two classes of 70 students! I am so glad to have shared insights with my students during the lectures and activities. I am also thankful for the opportunities of knowing them beyond the four walls of our classroom.
My major take-away for the past two terms?
Teaching a course isn’t always about teaching a course.
Yes, presenting a course syllabus is as important as hitting the objectives of the class and even student expectations. Yes, much teaching and learning happens in the classroom. Yes, as a teacher, I may also rightfully put emphasis on what should happen in the classroom. But for students, the classroom isn’t always the focal point of their whole college experience. I learnt that the more significant moments for my students were the ones when we had informal conversations about life in general (like how they are doing as students, how they are feeling at the moment, what they learnt from experiencing relational conflicts, how they are with their parents and siblings, their ambitions, what keeps them going, what makes them thankful, etc.). I wish I could share with you those heart-to-heart conversations and funny experiences with them but as it is personal, especially for my students, I would rather cherish it and be thankful to God for it.
Whenever I asked them to journal their thoughts on certain things (whether directly related to the course objectives or not), I found myself on the receiving end of stories that had nothing to do with school. Whenever trust is built between the teacher and the student, I observed that everybody, including myself, tend to be more open thus perform better in class. As a result, it occured to me that in any job that God provides, relationships are more important than tasks; and character development is more important than position status.
And so Jesus remains to be my model even in this part-time job. He taught with power and purpose yet He taught out of compassion towards people.
- “When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, He had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So He began teaching them many things.” – Mark 6:34
It still feels like I am in a Sprint Start of this whole teaching journey. I am still trying to grasp how I should facilitate the classes more effectively. I am still learning how to widen my understanding towards “difficult” students. And I am also still trying to work on many of my teaching skills. But I am grateful to have already been given a Starting Block.