Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Burden of Responsibility and Sincerity

About two weeks ago, I was asked by one of the local U to teach in one of the post-graduate programme currently offered by them. I have been teaching on part-time basis in this U since 1999 but stop doing that two years back due to various reasons, but mostly work related.

I know that the U is having difficulty in getting a suitable lecturer for the course they are offering and honestly speaking, I am also feeling really obliged to help them resolve this issue. I was actually the pioneer of this topic at post-graduate level in that U and essentially the syllabus came from my understanding of the subject matter. Nonetheless, I have made several efforts to get suitable replacement for myself within my company and among my friends, but unfortunately most of them whom I approached are not able to teach due to their own problems.

If I were to take up this offer, I would have to make several sacrifices. Most importantly time as the course which I am supposed to teach will take place on Sunday 2-5 pm. This is quite a challenge to me and also for my family as Sunday afternoon is normally reserved for the kids, especially for my eldest daughter who is not staying with us at home. Apart from that, I don't particularly fancy on the idea to write an approval letter to the management and ask for the permission to teach on Sunday now that this company has very strict rules on working outside the company's interest, so to speak.

For many, doing part-time job like teaching, is an oppurtunity to make extra income. Yes, the U does pay good rate at RM200/hr and 3 hours/week. But for me, teaching is more than that. It is a responsibility that must be taken seriuosly and committedly. With the current scope of responsibility I have in the office, I may not be able to focus 100% on my teaching duty and may risk neglecting the students who are highly dependent on me on the subject matter. Teaching post graduate students also requires a lot of time from a lecturer as the course content itself is much more detail and has got to be substantiated with assigments and projects, thus I beleive I may not have the time and the energy as before due to my work commitment at the office. I also beleive that the U has erred in assuming that I will snap thier offer. Rightly, they should discuss with me first before even announcing to the students that the course will be offered this semester.

I also told the U that currently I am following the Mini-MBA course organised by the company for me and therefore dissipate further my ability to teach part-time as I am also a student at the same time.

And most importantly, I always take my current job seriuosly and don't want to risk it for something which is personal to me although this will mean that I would not be able to contribute to the U and possibly to the country. However, deep in my heart, given the oppurtunity later, I may go back to teach part time as I do beleive that teaching is the best way for us to learn and also to make many new friends for life. Until today from time to time, I stumble upon people who greet me nicely out of the blue only for me to find out later that I used to be their teacher !

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