Monday, October 09, 2006

End of term!

For someone involved in the teaching business, this is the worse time of the year and it happens twice or even thrice (if you get to teach summer session) in a single year. The end-of-term has arrived! Here I have to deal with marking a heap of student essays, creative projects and all that! Marking exams is just an icing on the cake as the cliche goes.

And this leads to some asking why I insist on giving essays and projects and not just stick with objective-type exams. It is a matter of trying to see what's inside a student's mind.

Objective type exams can really only assess what the student has learned (or memorised) and if properly constructed may give a glimpse of how a student thinks. But this isn't enough, a teacher will have to find out how much a student has changed in a semester.

The essays and projects also teach me how to become a much better writer. Not a few students are excellent.

A teacher is only in the business of opening minds. Filling in minds is something that only a student does.

And to top this stress filled time, I just heard that a junior instructor in the university had a breakdown after getting bad assessments from superiors. Well one thing is sure, the whole teaching business is like show biz since day in and day out, one has to perform. Not even actors and actresses are expected to perform with this level of frequency. So how can you keep your sanity?

Well one thing is never in doubt. Don't take teaching too seriously. It is everything about life and like life, it need not be taken seriously at all times. Then it becomes fun.

And so when the creative projects are presented, all have a laugh.

And I'll never get any teaching award ever. Having students come to me years later telling how their view of nature and the world has changed and thus their lives too (since I was once their prof) is enough.

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