Day 23 – When the teacher experiences her own taste of learning

Just a few minutes before lunch time, I decided to write my Day 23 post. Yep, I’m committing another mortal sin in the workplace. I’m stealing office hours in lieu of blogging. To my defense, I feel quite tired and melancholy after what happened yesterday. I haven’t found my pace to start work so here I am, trying to condition myself to write because later tasks entail much writing.

I’ve been missing sleep again over the past days. I’ve been finishing my freelance works and to my surprise, it was almost a hell of writing for eternity. The job is quite new to me so I’m still in the process of adjusting and coping with everything. Hopefully, this shall soon be over.

Before I had my last class yesterday, my immediate supervisor in teaching surprised me with a visit. He told me that some of my students complained of my teaching, particularly the topics I lectured. The students are claiming that I’m just repeating the lectures they had from their previous subjects. I felt disappointed and admittedly sad because apparently, I thought I was teaching in the right track. We were given course syllabus to follow to which expected topics to be discussed are enumerated. As I was religiously following what I’m expected to teach, I found myself being criticized for seemingly not performing my job…. To some extent, I find some faults in the course syllabus. However, my mistake is that I never bothered to complain. Why? First is because I believe I was never in the position to question someone who is more knowledgeable than me. Second, I see no damaging effect in repeating some previously discussed topics. At least in education, I believe that too much knowledge and information are not at all harmful. More information, more knowledge, more learning… this is the simple principle I believe.

I’m always firm in believing that a complaint is a gift, especially in the service industry.  Complaint is feedback in a negative form. In any organization, customer feedback is essential in improvement and development. For large companies, it is hard to monitor whether they are delivering services and satisfying customers. Hence, customer feedback serves well. It meant hearing the voice of the customer and paving the way for immediate actions and improvement.  This situation makes me remember a signage I encountered in one gasoline station that we passed by,

 “If you love our service, please tell everyone.”

“If you hate our service, please tell us.”

In the case of my students, I felt the need to feel gratified because they raised their concerns to my direct supervisor. Otherwise, they might rant about me somewhere else I will never knew. Hence, I will end up always assuming that I’m doing well. Perhaps, the main reason why a certain level of disappointment is thriving in me is because in reality, I’m not used to students complaining about me, I can’t bear the fact that everything was my fault because I comply to what I’m expected to teach and lastly, I can’t understand why they have to vent out their complaints to another person while they have all the means to tell me.

Perhaps, they are too young to know this. But if there’s one thing I’d like them to learn, it’s always better to directly address your complaint to the person involved. If you passed your complaint to another person, a simple complaint can elevate to an issue. Place yourself in a situation when you discovered that your own friends told your classmates that they dislike something about your attitude. Wouldn’t you feel offended?  Your friends supposedly had all the means to communicate with you and yet they chose to speak out to other people.   

I feel disappointed. However, I’d like to emphasize that my disappointment will never elevate to anger. In the first place, I told my supervisor that I don’t want to know who they are. For me, things would always be better if we remain anonymous to each other, given that they decided to anonymously complain to another person as well.  

This is perhaps one of the hazards I have to embrace when I accepted the challenge to teach. Sigh… Hopefully, things will be better on the next days…

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One comment

  1. Don’t feel so bad Diane. You did what is expected from you, didn’t the syllabus said so? In a way, the students’ complains were not to reform you, but perhaps the school’s syllabus itself. I hope your immediate supervisor recognises that. Besides, your point about repeating lectures are very well intended. Good intentions do not deserve ill treatment.

    Anyway, in the end, when your students graduate, no one can deny that some credits must go to you too. So cheers and keep doing what is right. 🙂

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