Monday, September 7, 2015

Teaching in College and Elementary Students

     It has been a semester since I started college teaching in my alma mater. And I actually find it funny that my teaching jobs are all in the schools where I graduated from. This moonlighting stint of mine started when I posted a labor day rant about my “insufficient income” and how I desired to have another job (because 75 percent of my income is all eaten up by a loan, hay…family problems). 

     Apparently and perhaps I would say fortunately, the dean, who was my former teacher, saw my post and suggested me that I would apply as a part-time instructor in the university. I was happy then because it was answered prayer in my part. Of course, I have gone through all the SOPs of applying and I was glad that I was given two courses to teach.

    I was quite inspired teaching college students because I thought that I could share a lot to them. In fact, I wrote this blog for college students and soon-to-be teachers in the hopes of inspiring them and at the same time help them top the LET. And also perhaps the main reason why I was hired is to “inspire” education students in my college who I once was. This time however, I would be sharing my thoughts not only online but to real students face-to-face. 

    On the first weeks of my teaching, all things went well perhaps because this was just a getting-to-know stage. I think that my students are all smart and enthusiastic. As time goes by, I gradually find teaching college students challenging. And I couldn’t help comparing students in elementary (where I primarily teach) and in college.

    As a teacher, we have that idea of “with-it-ness”, or the skill of knowing what is going on inside the classroom. And because of these, I usually can see or feel every little nuances that my students exhibit. In elementary, if ever I see a student not listening, I could just raise my voice and tell them to listen, in which students most of time immediately respond. However, what I have noticed with college students is that they have the tendency to talk back behind their heads. If you call on a name of an inattentive student, some may respond, while some would smirk or grimace.  And to not lose your composure, you just have to do what Elsa did…let it go.

     Second, in teaching elementary, you are not afraid of making yourself funny because it is wonderful to have a teacher with a jolly personality. It brightens up the classroom and makes young students more motivated and interested in class. However, being a jolly teacher in college seems to be tantamount to being lax. And it seems that strict teachers gain more respect while teachers who smile a lot are just taken for granted. The worst, some students would judge you differently and unrespectable. Once I have shared something hilarious just to make them smile and to my surprise I accidentally saw one student in my peripheral vision roll her finger in the ear implying that I was crazy.  I was quite offended about this gesture. I was sincere and trustful sharing these things to them and to be implied crazy because of these seems to mean that I am just taken as a joke. If I am afraid to be taken as a joke, I should have not shared these things to them. But as a teacher, I tend to share a lot of my experiences with my students, both to break the ice and to make them learn from my experiences. In elementary, doing this breaks the barrier between the students and the teacher, because as a class, they both together share humanity’s universal gesture of joy, that is laughing. In college however, some may share your laugh while some will find you a crack.

    I got the chance to talk with my former college teachers and it was nice to have a conversation with them as colleagues and not as my teachers. One of the things we talked about is sincerity among students. In elementary, when students like you, they really mean it, no pretentions, no deceit. When they don’t like you or say something bad about you, it is out of honesty and natural tactlessness of children, but they don’t mean to offend you. In college, some students may smile and be good in front of you, even flatter you, but would talk something or conspire behind your back.  Elementary students may be naughty, run around the room, disobey some of the classroom rules, but they would rarely talk behind your back And if ever they do, one of them would blow the whistle to the teacher. And I know why elementary students wouldn’t do such thing as much as older college students. And this is because talking behind teacher’s back is a form of betrayal, that they would never talk and backstab a person who teaches them and who encourages them to be the best of what they can, and whom they are indebted with the gift of knowledge.
    One of my former college teachers shared to me that she sometimes questions herself if she still finds joy in teaching, and it’s as if that she is just teaching to live and not the other way around. And I understand her. She was an elementary teacher before she became a college teacher. I empathize with her now more than before.  And based on my experiences so far, I grew a lot of respect to her and to the rest of my college teachers. How can they survive teaching students whom subject them to judgments and opinions? And it’s not paranoia, it is just that as an elementary teacher, we experience sincerity and raw honesty almost everyday with children, and we have grown to distinguish between these from flattery and deceit (or in colloquial term, being plastic).

    Am I discouraged? Most of the time to be quite honest, but as I have said, teaching college students is challenging but I didn’t say gruesome.  Yes, I have said some students may show not-so-good treatment with their teachers but NEVER did I say ALL of them. Some of them have genuinely shown respect and appreciation but there are just whom I cannot pleased. And I am not liable if I am not good enough for them and it is not my responsibility to please them. I always share that part of the teaching profession being noble is the idea that not all students will appreciate you, some may talk behind your back and will forget you. But the idea of teaching them, helping them achieve who would they become (whether they value and appreciate it or not) is already rewarding for me. If out of thirty or more students there is but a single student whom I have inspired, I am already happy and fulfilled.   

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting blog. A lot of blogs I see these days don't really provide anything that attract others, but I'm most definitely interested in this one. Just thought that I would post and let you know.