Making way for the new

I just resigned from my part-time teaching job. It was a hard decision. It was a decision I was contemplating on (or putting off) the whole summer. I asked family and friends for their views about it, but no one actually gave me a clear opinion. Most of them thought it will be very hard for me to move on to new things. Others feel that I am just doing this for selfish reasons. So, I will share how I came up with my decision, because someone out there might also be in the same crossroad.

Mathematics of time

It takes 8 hours of lecture and approximately 12 hours of preparation every week to teach a 4-unit subject to 2 sections. During exams, I usually allot 16 hours for preparing an exam and 35 hours for checking 50 notebooks. Preparing and checking one quiz, on the other hand, takes 5 hours total. Lastly, computing for grades takes around 8 hours. Since we are required to have 3 quizzes and 3 exams per semester, the total number of hours spent for one semester is 576 hours, or 24 (no-sleeping) days, or 72 working days. That is almost one month dedicated to teaching. That is almost twice the number of vacation leaves that I am given in the firm.

Mathematics of money

Believe it or not, I only earned Php29,000.00 for one semester of teaching. I earn more than that in one month in my firm job. In fact, my salary increase this year can very well cover, if not exceed, the amount of income that I will lose if I quit teaching. Considering the amount of time that I spent, I was, in effect, being paid Php50.00 per hour for teaching. I cannot even compare that to my hourly rate in the firm without crying injustice.

Quality of intangible rewards

The rewards of teaching really come when the teacher has finally seen her students graduate, pass the qualifying exams, succeed in their careers, and probably follow her academic path. I know that from experience. But I also know that there are ungrateful ones. There are those who could not see the value in making them realize that they are capable of doing more. And with the kind of teacher that I had been, I will most likely encounter the latter.

Quality of experience

This was the deciding factor for me. Teaching is learning more about the subject. Teaching is learning from my students. Teaching is discipline. And if you teach something over and over, teaching is also a path to mastery. But I also understand that experience is largely dependent on the culture of the university. Is the university supportive of your efforts and methodologies? Are your students receptive to new ideas? Are they motivated to learn in the same way as you are? Are you in the company of the best minds that fosters fruitful exchange of views?

I guess I would have to find new ways of learning more about my field. I will probably start doing researches and writing articles. Those have been in my to-do list for quite some time. I am now free to do more pro bono work, the kind of work that I find meaningful and emotionally rewarding. I might also return to running to bring focus and discipline to my life. Of course, I have my travels, which will give me a more open and diverse learning environment.

So, this is me, clearing out the old to make way for the new (as Steve Jobs put it).


Author: Elaine

Curious. Strange. Awesome

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