An Instructional Experience

I just finished my first term as a professor at Singapore Management University. I taught an undergraduate course called Computer as an Analysis Tool, which is on business modelling and data-driven decision support. I had about 130 学生, in three sections of three classroom hours each per week. I have to say the whole thing was a very enriching experience. 当然, the reasons behind this statement will be expounded on, theorized and hypothesized – this is Unreal Blog, 毕竟.

首先,但首先,,en,虽然我不久前想写我的教学经验,,en,我以为我会等到第一次得到学生的反馈,,en,学生是利益相关者,,en,除非他们认为他们从我的努力中获得了一些好处,否则我的理论和假设没有多大意义,,en,我很高兴看到我的评价很好,,en,我的学生给了我最高的,,en,优秀,,en,对所有指标进行评分,,en,给我,,en,很好,,en,和另一个,,en,好。,,en,压倒性的,,en,我的学生百分比评价我好或更好,,en,这个评级甚至延伸到我最薄弱的地步,,en,我的演讲和演讲技巧,,en,都非常满意,,en,这是个好消息,,en,坏消息是那种正面评价,,en,我仍然处于最底层,,en,我大学的所有教师,,en. Although I wanted to write about my teaching experience a while ago, I thought I would wait till I got the student feedback first. 毕竟, students are the stakeholders, and my theories and hypotheses don’t mean much unless they felt that they derived some benefits out of my efforts. I was happy to see that I was rated well. 关于 20% of my students gave me the highest “Excellent” rating across all the metrics. 关于 30% gave me “Very Good” and another 30% gave me “Good.” 换句话说, an overwhelming 80% percent of my students rated me good or better. 令人惊讶, this rating extended even to my weakest points – my presentation and speaking skills. 这, 当然, was all extremely gratifying.

That was the good news. The bad news is that with that kind of positive rating, I was still in the bottom 15 至 20% of all the instructors at my university! 我认为这说明了我们教授的质量,,en,而不是缺乏我,,en,我想这样想,,en,因为我的任何大学伙伴都会理解,,en,IITian在自己身上发现自己是精神上危险的,,en,百分位数范围在任何队列中,,en,除非队列恰好是IIT类,,en,所以这个异常将不得不纠正,,en,并予以纠正,,en,在未来几年,,en,转向理论,,en,为什么要教一个充实的呼唤,,en,高贵的,,en,我认为这是因为专业人士和利益相关者之间的直接关系,,en,学生们就在你面前,,en,他们对你的看法以及他们如何回应你作为教师的表现,立即显而易见并感受到,,en,医生和患者之间也存在类似的即时性,,en, rather than the lack thereof in me. 至少, I would like to think so. 但, as any of my college buddies would understand, it is psychiatrically dangerous for an IITian to find himself in the 20 percentile range in any cohort, unless the cohort happens to be an IIT class. So this anomaly will have to be rectified, and rectified it shall be, in the years to come.

Moving on to the theory – why is teaching an enriching calling, noble even? I think it is because of the immediacy between the profession and its stakeholders. The students are right there in front of you. What they think of you and how they respond to your performance as a teacher is immediately obvious and felt. A similar kind of immediacy exists between doctors and patients too, 我猜. 也许律师和他们的客户之间也是如此,,en,但在教学中,,en,你有一种感觉,你正在影响和塑造更大更永久的东西,,en,你正在影响和定位你的学生的弧度,,en,生活,,en,未来的一代,,en,希望你的影响力是积极的,建设性的,,en,你的微小影响的投射在道路上是巨大的,,en,这可能是我们仍然记得我们的好老师的原因,,en,三十或四十年,,en,这也是教学与公司职业不同的原因,,en,整体利润动机和货币刺激可能看起来有点不值得,,en,更短暂和太外在,,en,即使是研究,,en,尽管在知识生成方面令人非常满意,,en,是不值得的,因为你的增加是微不足道的,,en. But in teaching, you have a sense that you are influencing and shaping something bigger and much more permanent. You are influencing and orienting the arc of your students’ lives, 推而广之, that of a future generation, and hopefully your influence is a positive and constructive one. 在任何情况下, the projection of your tiny influences is huge down the road. This may be the reason why we still remember our good teachers, thirty or forty years on. This also is the reason why teaching is different from a corporate career, where the overall profit motive and monetary incentives may seem a bit less worthy, more transient and too extrinsic. Even research, while immensely gratifying in terms of knowledge generation, is a bit less worthy because your additions are minuscule. 你试图通过你的努力塑造和定向的弧线弯曲,但不愿意,,en,除非你是爱因斯坦或费曼,,en,在不同的笔记,,en,我认为教学适合我与我的个性有关的完全独立的理由,,en,它是这样的,,en,我们人是社会生物,,en,我们把我们的同胞放在不同的类别里,,en,在离我们不同的情感距离,,en,我们有配偶,,en,直系亲属,,en,朋友,,en,大家庭,,en,你的宗教信仰的人,,en,种族,,en,来自你的国家等等,,en,对此我们有不同程度的关注和联系,,en,为了我,,en,所有这些类别都处于情感距离非常狭窄的范围内,,en,我不认为这是一个很好的质量,我当然不会推荐给任何人,,en,我认为这使得个人联系和附件几乎不可能,,en — unless you are an Einstein or a Feynman.

On a different note, I think teaching suits me for an entirely separate reason related to my personality. It goes like this. We people are social beings, and we put our fellow beings in various categories, at varying emotional distances from us. We have spouses, immediate family members, friends, extended family, people of your religion, race, from your country and so on, for whom we have varying levels of concern and connection. For me, all these categories fall in a very narrow band of emotional distance. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think this is a great quality at all and I am certainly not recommending it to anybody. 事实上, I think it makes personal connections and attachments almost impossible, diminishing (or even negating) the human condition that we are supposed to find ourselves in. Do not try this at home, for it’s lonesome road.

但, as luck would have it, my universal emotional distance happens to be almost exactly right for a teacher-student relationship. I am genuinely concerned about my students and their wellbeing. This concern of mine shone through in my interactions with them, and was reflected in their comments and feedback. I really want every single one of them to understand, learn, do well and succeed. But this concern is confined to the narrow context of the classroom. It is a concern devoid of a sense of responsibility. A perfect combination, 在我看来.