The Grey Chronicles

2009.January.17

Teaching can be a Thankless Job


I was a lecturer in one of the local engineering college here for about five years. It was an eye-opening experience. Being an electrical engineer myself, I brought with me my own experiences as an electrical engineering student years ago.

Not to brag though, I hurdled a five-year course within four years. I skipped the second year for a two-year stint at a military academy, but the latter did not work out for me [that’s another future post] I re-enrolled for third year courses and just took additional subjects for the succeeding years. It was a sacrifice to finish the course as soon as I can; but I enjoyed my latter three years in engineering proper.

As a third year engineering student, I was also busy with campus journalism becoming the associate editor of the student publication in the College of Engineering on my fourth year and as the editor-in-chief of the university student publication while a fifth-year student. While doing my electrical design and feasibility study on my last year, I also served as the Vice Chairman of the University Student Council; a regular mathematics tutor for other students; and as correspondent to some local newspapers;

Thus, when I became a lecturer for Electrical Power Plant Design; whenever my students would complain that they got so many things to worry about that they cannot do ALL the assignments and do their plant design, aside from being a busy with all the extra-curicular activities; I only had my own experience to compare to.

I guess I thought if I was able to do these things back when I was a student; there was no way to stop my students then from striving to do the same. Maybe I pushed some of them to their limits that some of them came to my house with threats, bribes in monetary form or a pig, a goat or a chicken; and even one student with a gun just to coerce me to give them passing final marks. There was even one time when incoming fifth year students made a petition not to let me handle fifth year electrical engineering subjects while they were still on their fourth year.

I have been called so many unthinkable names then, such as: the "Terror-ist"—because some thought I "terrorized" students in all my lectures; the "Pusher"—because I pushed my students to become what they want to become! "Engr. Difficult"— because I usually give the most difficult final exams, quizzes and assignments; "Mr. Flunker—after I flunked most except five in a class of 42 students; or "The Coffee-Cup Thrower" after I threw at them a cup of coffee after some of them came to my house at midnight to negotiate their final grades!

There was one time when a student government president remarked that I was teaching them old-fashioned theories; unfair in giving grades or just being difficult. I countered this with an eleven-page manifesto enumerating new technologies which I imparted such as SCADA, Six Sigma, Thermography, the use of Internet Technology, or Microprocessors, among other things. I also explained that pushing them to reach their highest potential is the best lesson a teacher can teach his students.

Maybe, it’s just me! I love teaching, but is this the thanks I receive for hoping that I am somehow contributing, even for just an iota, for the betterment of my own electrical engineering profession vicarously through these engineering students? Yet, it is truly a good feeling meeting one day a former student thanking me for doing what I did else he would not have the courage to go all out for it and become an full-pledged electrical engineer.


Disclaimer : The posts on this site are my own and doesn’t necessarily represent any organization’s positions, strategies or opinions.

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1 Comment »

  1. LOL! So, you were one of those teachers who make students cringe with terror just by hearing your name. I suddenly remembered my college days. Yes, teaching is a thankless job — but a very noble one indeed.

    Comment by emarene — 2009.January.18 @ 16:34 | Reply


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