June 10, 2009

I love teaching

I led a session on Warwick Young Researchers Day today. It was the last session of the day and I could see most students having the “it’s about time to pack and go” faces, what’s worse, there was a break for drink and snack before that. I had to persuade them to return to their seats so that I could start my session.

‘Panic’ was the word I would use to describe myself at the moment: I was not well-informed about the overall structure of the programme—I only noticed that I ought to include a 15-minute activity / interaction at the end of my lecture. Anyhow, while the students were having their break, I added a slide, titled “Activity: How to write your Abstract” and recycled the slide I had about writing abstract. To avoid being noticed as recycled slide, I wrote ‘Magical number 7 (plus minus 2)’ in the slide to make it look fresh.

I used my mobile phone as a stop watch—in fact, as something to catch the attention of the audience. I managed to convince the audience that my presentation won’t be long and I need to catch up with time. They silently agreed and this allowed me to start the session.

The presentation began with self-introduction. It was successful after making fun of my overly formal attire and what I normally dressed when I was a 3D animator. Then I used Prof Wray’s “don’t get it right, get it written” to justify the importance of report writing. When I saw audiences nodding their heads and being engaged, I knew they entred “the zone”. At the end of the presentation, I managed to avoid having them doing the activity, which I have yet to figure out how I could run—the materials needed (flip charts and marker pens) were not actually available. Phew~ mission accomplished!

Today’s experience brought me back to memory of being a lecturer. After delivering my last lectures at both Universiti Kuala Lumpur and Taylor’s University College in November 2007, I stopped delivering lecture. I don’t know whether I am good in teaching or not, perhaps, I should say I don’t care much about my teaching, I care very much about my students’ learning, hence learner-centred. The joy of seeing learners transformed from being unknown to known and feeling satisfied after the events of instruction is the core driving force for me to be a teacher, instructor or lecturer.

I love teaching, I never doubt about this. Not because I could earn a lot of money out of my job (which I never do); not because I could claim to have disciples (some of my ex-students do claim to be mine); not because I could demonstrate how intelligent I am as compared to others. I love teaching because I believe that knowledge is meant to be shared. It is the joy of seeing people who experience the change before and after gaining knowledge that makes me loving teaching. Maybe I am trying to rationalizing my decision to be a teacher trainer, but I sincerely hope my future students, who are going to be teachers in primary, secondary and tertiary educational institutions in Malaysia will love teaching and knowledge sharing as well. I am quite positive about this because taking the courage and risk of being a poor dad (see ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad’ by Robert Kiyosaki and Sharon Lechter) to be a trainee teacher itself shows one’s dedication towards teaching profession.

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