1.27.2007

teaching and teaching blues

it started with a call.

a schoolmate in college called me up early june last year and asked if i was interested in handling a comm120 (law and mass media) course at kalayaan college. the idea never crossed my mind until he brought it up. surprisingly, i got excited about it. i've been doing some private tutorials for several years but handling a college class is totally different. i didn't know i wanted to teach all along.

my first sem went well. i taught 13 students. this sem, i'm teaching comm140 (communication theory) to supposedly 4 but in reality 3 students.

while teaching is a fulfilling job, there are just some things that get to you sometimes.

last sem, i almost flunked a student for plagiarizing guess what? a reaction paper on a movie. the moment i read his paper, i just knew there was something wrong. i got convinced it was cut and paste after i finished reading it. it was no reaction paper at all. it was...bitin.

so i searched his article online, encoding each sentence on the search toolbar. the results led me to wikipedia, where i found parts of his article posted there, word-for-word. he did some rearranging, and some editing, but there's no denying it was the same article he submitted.

i confronted him the next meeting, allowing him to air his side. he offered no explanations, admitting the charge outright. i told him i was giving him a 5 but that he could still attend my class so he could learn more.

perhaps i said it in a fit of anger, but i did try to be as calm as possible the whole time i was talking to him. what upset me was not that he thought little of me by supposing that he could get away with it; rather, it was the thought that he's a journalism student for crying out loud, and that paper was to earn him extra points only. it wasn't even a requirement. and of all websites, wikipedia pa!

in the end, i never had the heart to flunk him. he came to class til the end of the semester and passed the finals. i gave him a 3 instead, but i did tell him the next time we met that i was giving him a chance; he better not do it again.

now just this morning, another student almost pissed me off. i had already finished giving the midterms exam to 2 of my students and i was on my way to the bank when i spotted student no. 3. i asked him if he was taking the exam. he said yes so i told him to wait for me in the room for 15 minutes.

when i came back, he was nowhere to be found. lo and behold, it was me who waited for 30 minutes before my prodigal student came, apologizing for being late. i allowed him to take the exam nevertheless but only until the end of the period scheduled for the exam.

i don't know if i'm too lenient on my students but being a student myself, how can i afford to be more imposing when i know how it is to be at the receiving end? then again, how will they ever learn unless they learn it the hard way?

tough balancing act i suppose. but a tough act definitely worth balancing.


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simulblog with pics at: driven 2

1 comment:

lawrence said...

Prof na prof! And no need to worry about getting pissed off in those particular cases. Maluwag ka pa nga sa lagay na iyan. Sige ka, baka abusuhin nila... :)