First lesson is on integrity. At the last quarter of last year, I earned a teaching post at the college where I graduated. I thought coming up with lessons (coming up because I never followed the syllabus. Hehe.) was the hardest part. That is, until grade computing came.
Let me start by saying that students do not have the vaguest idea how hard it is to fail a student. It becomes doubly hard when they start begging their teacher to pass them when the grades were already computed. At first glance, it may look like the teacher is actually enjoying that power he/she has on the student's future. But really at the back of his/her head, s/he's thinking, "I am destroying a future here." And then it all becomes heartbreaking.
I failed a number of students in my class. Some of them because they plagiarized a paper and some because they thought they're too good for my class they'd rather be outside the room while I am teaching. Both of which I take very seriously, and probably, personally, too. I do not remember how many times I have warned my classes: NO PLAGIARISM. I drummed it up in their heads that if they plagiarize, I will fail them without even blinking an eye, and I did. I wasn't joking. I don't just look at my inbox and grade their papers. I painstakingly go over each of their papers, read through them, and check for plagiarism. It was very tedious, but there is no other way to do it but like that.
FDAs are hard to give out, too. I was shocked to find out that most of the people I gave this to are scholars: varsity players who get free tuition because they play. Knowing that I am the reason why they are losing their scholarships make me feel really bad. So bad, actually, that I try to avoid the emails asking for a chance to pass.
Where did integrity play into these? I did not pass them. No change of grades happened. I held on to what I believe was right. I warned people I will fail them if they don't perform in my class well. As for the FDAs, I am sorry that they lost their scholarship but if teachers just keep on passing their students because we pity them or that they will lose their scholarships, we are not really helping them become better people. We are telling them that it's alright to be lazy. The thing is they will never get anywhere in the real world with the lazy disposition we are cultivating in them. Aside from that, they never learn their lesson. I believe in teaching people lessons because that is really the only way that people learn. The thing is failing is a reality and people never succeed when they are not doing anything. Besides, they are scholars. Even if they are on an athlete scholarship, they should still study hard.
I sound like a cold-hearted bitch (believe me, I know), but I know when to give in and when I should stand my ground. They messed up; they failed. It's simple. If they really wanted to pass, then they should've studied the way a student is supposed to study. I guess I wasn't the right teacher to mess around with. Besides, some people actually worked hard to pass. It won't be fair to everyone if I give one student a grade because he begged to finish an extra project or something.
Another lesson I learned over the past week is co-existing. I just moved in a new apartment with my officemate Kams. We're two very different personalities (even if we're both "gaga." Haha.). I must admit that I am anti-social (which is so weird because I am really friendly) and really too much of a loner, and I don't know how many times I've already said that. I love being alone in the house -- just me and my thoughts. I've lived alone for more than two years already, so moving into an apartment with someone is kind of a mini-panic attack on my end. All of a sudden I am guarded. There are things that I just can't do anymore, and I have to ask someone else's opinion when it comes to a number of things like "Do you sleep with the lights on?" or something as small as moving pieces of furniture.
But what I like about co-existing is that I was able to take it out of the apartment, too. Somehow, I understand that there are other people around me, and that sometimes, I need to bend to what they like, too. It's giving and taking, really. Besides, we are never really alone. There are always other people whose opinions are also worth hearing out, whose needs have to be met, whose requests have to be heard out.
I am happy to be learning these things. Somehow, I find myself to be a better Bianca everyday.