So for the past one month, I have been playing the part of an adjunct professor. I am teaching two subjects – three classes. One of the classes is an introduction to politics. It is about the political transformations of countries mostly industrialized ones, democracy, authoritarian rulers, totalitarian rulers and such. I have been teaching this to about 30 odd people for the past 4 weeks and I have come to realize a couple of things. One how hard it is to make something as dry as lower house and upper house interesting and how heart breaking it is to see students sleep it off at times. Being here, I am also gaining an admiration for the teachers who gave a damn every time, who persisted in spite of my wry remarks and the notoriety that we last benchers brought to the class. I mean I used to be a group of 10 playing anthakshri in chemistry class. Oh I swear God has a very dry sense of humour. I admire the professors who actually bothered to go through that torture and care passionately about teaching us something. I am also realizing how many people, full fledged professors just showed up in class and rattled off something unintelligible for an hour and left us to figure out what we actually needed to study.
I am gaining an appreciation for the teachers who thought what they taught would make a difference and a feeling close to disgust for the ones who thought it was not worth their precious while. The sad part is I can count only a handful who have left an indelible impression on me. I am not sure why I was left underwhelmed by so many teachers who taught me. Avila, the school I went to for 7 of my 12 years was actually best among the lot. Every teacher there, except maybe a couple of them seemed to love the subject. Undergraduate sucked big time. We learnt much more by teaching each other then from the professors. What is it about the system that makes way for only a handful of teachers to make a difference. I know, the students ar enot to be blamed, for the simple reason that seeing the ones here, students there seem to have much more awareness of their field, surroundings and the world in general. There is so much passion that goes untapped
I see a big difference between here and there in the amount of information that students are privy to and how aware they are of about the things that are going around them. There is however also a difference the system that makes you want to come up with creative ways of teaching. The students challenge me and make me want to teach, if not in one way then another. The department and the other professors give me information on how to go about doing something or how to make the class more interactive and yet manage to teach something. There are times when I want to throw chalks on every person sitting there like a dunce and there are times when I want to not stop teaching because I see some interest. I mean I teach this subject for a group whose major is not politics. This intro class is a requirement for them. So getting them to be interested in a subject they need, only to fulfill some requirement is difficult, even more difficult is making them understand why it is important to know about politics in other countries and how it affects them. I think I am a good teacher (My blog ppl…let me massage my own ego at least here), my only downfall is probably expecting them to have the same passion that I have about the subject and the same curiosities that I had to learn the subject. I have to realize that not everyone is going to fall in love with what I did, just because I explain it so beautifully or vividly..I mean I am expecting a person who studies accounts to fall head over heals for the Meiji restoration and the Bundestag.
That I guess is one disadvantage that comes from being in academia too long. It takes time to realize that not everyone around me is going to share the same interests I do, or share the same passions I do. I am sadly stepping into real like folks and it sucks big time. I feel like Rachel in the Pilot episode of that show (Hmm.. what was its name :D) where Monica says “Welcome to the real world, it sucks, you are going to love it”