Posted by: nastypen | July 8, 2007

Weekend Refugee

I don’t blog as often as I used to. The new career is keeping me busier than usual. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the workload and I truly am focusing my energies there. I don’t even get to do my rackets lately. My comic strips are on repeat mode.

It’s a cold Sunday morning….good enough to sleep and fight off waves of responsibilities.  But I do have so much stuff to do.  I have to ready for my upcoming lectures. I have to learn goddamn excel for the grades of my students. I have to ready the stash of readings for my lectures on architecture to which I am going to use a chapter of a graphic novel to articulate the importance of edifices in our modern culture.

God, I am so busy/stressed lately that I have zits on my face! I haven’t had zits this big since the late 90s! My body is still adjusting.

Last Friday, as a new member of the UP Manila Faculty, I had to join the university seminar for its latest acquisition of its “most important resources”…that would be the teachers, that’s what they said. We were given the guidelines on the prospect of tenure, on how to become an assistant professor leaving the lower-rung label of “instructor” and so on and so forth.

The most interesting part was the tail end. They invited three university students to share to us what they are looking for in a UP professor. Most people assume that a UP Professor must have strong academic leanings, knowledgeable on the subject, published in several journals, has had ample contributions to the field. No, these are not what the students wanted.

They said as UP professors, it is expected that we have those (strong academic leanings et al.); why would we have been hired as professors if the applicants did not exhibit such qualities? What the students wanted and expected veered more to the intangible EQ kind of interaction.

Professors must be “kind, funny, approachable and spiritual.” Spiritual?! In a highly liberal and secular environment such as UP, the students latch on to spirituality? Interesting. Well, I am not religious, that’s for sure. Smart people know the difference between religious and spiritual. The students do not appreciate that the teachers who are the traditional terrors. The students are not keen on being moulded into little versions of the professors. One of them mentioned that he got a low grade in a subject because he did not think or rationalize like the (and agree with) professor.

The very last speaker is a professor at the College of Medicine. He won this Metrobank Award as an Outstanding teacher. He was there to motivate us. He is a great performer, that’s for sure. It is like I am in the presence of one of those American tele-evangelist shaking at the prospect of the Holy spirit entering them. He once shared that he came in dressed up as Darth Vader sauntering in to class to the soundtrack to Star Wars.

Uhhh…..ok…..I’ll keep that in mind. Maybe I can go to my class naked and say I am Jabba the Hutt?

Anyway, the most impressionable thing in that lecture was the welcoming remarks. “Welcome to a life of poverty.” Yup, I did not enter this profession to roll with the currencies. If I wanted that, I’d have gone to Advertising.

One of the elder professors in the panel mentioned, “In this profession, you are always young. You interact with the students all of the time and you get to be up to date with the changes and their culture. You will never grow old here.”

Fountain of youth?! Hahahahaha. I beg to somewhat disagree. I feel my age. The students are born right after the EDSA revolution in 1986. They see Cyndi Lauper the same way as I see the BeeGees, relics of a past decade! Gahd!

But, I do admit that all of my classes, so far, I break out laughing with the students, with their funny observations and comments about art and their lives. I smile when the students share their thoughts about art’s role in culture and in their own lives.

I am EXTREMELY lucky that I get to laugh and smile in my job. A lot. And we know laughing is the greatest face-lift procedure known to man….so, it is true about staying young in this profession.

Hope I can last here for a long time though.

Anyway….

My mother is here! She’s on vacation for a month. She asked me how is the pay so far. I just started to laugh till I farted. She just stroked my fat cheeks and said “At least, you will lose weight.”

She brought along goodies, like new pairs of wonderful socks. I just love socks! And just one teeny-tiny box of chocolate. She really wants me to return to my old body. Good luck to me.

I also received a cd from my little sister containing underwater shots of our latest trip to Boracay. I viewed the photos to relax before I strat working the entire Sunday away. I catch myself smiling like a drooling moron at the pics because of the cherished wonderful memories.

The pics came mostly on the day we went skin diving. I fed the little tropical fish with crackers. When I dove into the water, the fish just started swarming around me. Perhaps, they thought “Hey, it’s a fat guy, he has food!!!!”

Exhibit A:

But this is what happened when I did my underwater ballet and exposed my butt crack:

“Flee, bitches, flee!!!!” More pictures here. You can see that I am the walrus in the tropical island of Boracay.

Ok, I have to be in teacher mode now.

Can’t stop the flood, bitches.

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Responses

  1. I wish all the luck Bro Bear. Teaching is one the most noble profession known to man.

    Wish I could visit you in one of your classes. I’ll wear a school uniform if you insist (U.P. shirt, jeans, slippers with sling bag made from the cordilleras).

  2. I’m glad you’ve found the joys of teaching. I’m confident that you’ll be able to last long in that profession and that you would be able to get that much awaited tenure that they keep talking about. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if you end up being one of the best teachers of the year there. You’ve got the passion, the heart and I dare say, you do have the spirituality for it as well. Cheers! I’m glad you’ve started blogging again!

  3. hello! 🙂 i wish your students goodluck ahahhaa don’t forget to get plenty of rest dahil sayang ang beauty. ^^ i hate MS Excel too.

  4. I used to teach Accounting in USC Main, and to entice my students with the course, I taught them Numerology! 8)

    Bear with the Excel. It’s blah compared to Adobe, but it does make your work a whole lot less of a bitch to deal with compared to doing grades manually.

    And good luck! May you finish the sem sauntering off to the UP Sunset with “To Sir, With Love” playing in the background.


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