Into my Future (with Chemistry)

For the past four years now, whenever I pass through the big gates of my high school Alma Mater, my old teachers have already gotten used to seeing me visiting my Senior year adviser who teaches General Chemistry 2 (though we call it ‘Advanced’ Chemistry there) to Fourth Year students, and not only that, they’re also used to seeing me in front of one or more of my adviser’s classes – teaching.

It has really been a habit of mine to visit during my free days – teaching on the spot to students who (to my surprise) find my old adviser’s teaching a bit fast paced. Usually, I would only sit down at the back and watch him carry on with his lecture, but at the middle of the lecture, he lets me stand in his place and continue with the lecture. Most of the time, he makes me discuss nomenclature lessons on Organic Chemistry (my self-proclaimed favorite branch), and allows me to assist the students on calculations.

Teaching Internship, for four years? Hell yeah! But I have to admit that it has been very fun and motivating for me to do. Fun, since I get to share my gift of being a good mentor – having met so many good teachers and professors over the time that I idolize because of their awesome ways of imparting the lesson to their students. Motivating, since it pushes me to study better so I can teach the concepts better.

Yes, I have always wanted to be a teacher in Chemistry. However, my mother discourages me from teaching (high schoolers in particular. Ironic, since my mother, an Engineer, was also a highschool math teacher when I was young), since it doesn’t really give that much of a good pay. She refers it as a ‘work out of passion’. And I am starting to believe her. A lot of teachers nowadays are after the pay, than giving good education. So, as for now, I am still considering doing something else and putting my teaching dreams aside, like working in the laboratory, and doing part – time teaching in college.

Who knows, maybe I’ll get to that dream of mine, some day.

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On Motivation

Last Monday, my classmate Zoey and I got a chance to take a few minutes off our own problems, and sentiment with some freshmen who (unfortunately) failed their General Chemistry 1 subject. They were waiting outside the Instrumentation Room, where some of their ‘regular’ classmates were having a post-laboratory discussion on their General Chemistry 2 Laboratory Class. My classmate and I happened to finish early for our Physics class, and went straight to the Chemistry Lab since we have a 2:00 – 5:00pm class there.

There were 5 girls waiting outside the Instru Room, and they were huddled near each other when we passed by. The girls waved their hands, and we smiled back, and chatted with them.

One of the girls were asking us questions about keeping up with the demands of our course. She came nearer and asked me, while looking at her lengthwise piece of paper: “Kuya, papayag ba si Sir na pipirma siya sa Dropping Form ko?” (Kuya, will Sir agree to sign my Dropping Form?) Upon seeing her dropping form, I saw that she was about to drop the laboratory subject that her classmates were having inside the Instru Room. I, couldn’t help but be baffled over the form. Was she really dropping this subject? But GC2 (General Chemistry 2) is an off- semestral subject, and she wouldn’t be allowed to take the subject with anybody else but her fellow Chemistry majors?

Having known the situation of these girls, kinda made me a little bit worried about our future graduates, especially if most of them flunked the basic subjects. Some of my blockmates would tell me “Buti nga pinapatagal pa sila dito sa Department, at hindi sila pinagshi-shift? Isipin mo po, GC1 na lang, naibagsak nila. Paano ba kaya kung higher Chemistry na?” (They are fortunate that they still belong to the (Chemistry) Department, and they were not asked to shift out to other courses. Think of it, they flunked GC1. What more, if they were to take higher Chemistry subjects?)

My classmates seem to be very confident at times, but they do have a point. And the Department does take note about our class: Majority of our 20+ population taking up both Quantitative Analysis and Organic Chemistry 2 simultaneously, have good grades (not to mention taking up a 5-unit Calculus with Differential Equations subject). But the freshmen population of 21, was cut down to a small number of 9 regular students is not a good sign.

Not wanting them to cut down in number further, and to at least help them in a “moral support”-ish kind of way, I tried to do a motivation talk with these girls (and controlling Zoey not to scare off the freshmen with our very tiring schedules), and making them think over decisions that they might only regret in the near future.

But a thought came into my mind, as the girls left the laboratory and I hung out inside the Instru Room – was I the ‘right’ person to do that kind of speech? Me, who’s struggling to catch up with my academic standing, yet earning decent grades? Someone’s who’s eager to finish chemistry (now), but had second thoughts early on? I couldn’t help but wonder.

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