Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Wondering

Don't get me wrong, I'm happy enough to teach at Ateneo de Davao. Sometimes, though, it gets me wondering.

You see, I'm teaching because I want to give back. Ten years in corporate IT, several more years of fiddoodling with Linux and open source, I've certainly got something to share. And please don't tell me that I'm doing it for the salary because, heh, if I showed you my payslip, you'd probably snigger and snark. Let's not even talk about the silly bureaucracy inherent in any large organization.

I'm wondering, though, if an Ateneo falls within the community that I ought to be giving back through. Religious roots aside, Ateneo ranks way up there in terms of tuition and matriculation fees. The students can certainly afford. Will the knowledge that I'm imparting get passed on in turn? Or will it just be used to fuel selfish careers? I don't know, and perhaps I'll never know -- it's that old saw again about the sowing and the reaping.

On the flip side, Ateneo has excellent -- if underused -- facilities, and that fulfills the working environment that I need. I've been trading notes with friends from other schools and the labs I work with are miles ahead of what they have. I would feel constricted otherwise.

So now the dilemma: if I work with the less privileged, I would also be drastically scaling back the lessons I can teach, even far more than what I'm already doing now with my students at Ateneo. In terms of need, I might be reaching a more deserving audience, but they won't receive the best of what I'd be able to give.

And on the flip side: I wonder if teaching at an upper-class school matches the spirit of my original intent. Am I doing the good that I'm supposed to be doing? Or have I become a tool for just another capitalistic endeavor?

Ah, questions, questions.

7 comments:

  1. imho, in regards to giving back to your community, there's nothing wrong with teaching in Ateneo. after all there's more to teaching than just imparting technical knowledge. regardless on what subject you teach, you'd also in a way mold their values and ethics. and what better way to give back to the community than to mold the mind of those who would be in a better position to make change. two cents from one of your former students. :)

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  2. Yeah. I have to agree with Marvin.

    In the book "Heroic Leadership", the author pointed out that the fateful decision of the Jesuits to teach only the elite didn't deviate from the original mission of the order. That's because the Jesuits were still educating the minds of people who are in the best position to make a change in society.

    Same goes here.

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  3. Teach in UP Cebu! haha. Our electives are uninteresting. :)

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  4. Aww, thanks, Marvin. Good to hear from you.

    Paolo: true enough, but I'd echo Marvin's thoughts that values and ethics are also important. On the other hand, have you considered how many political crooks also come from Ateneo (though I hope not many from AdDU?) :-)

    Dardar: heh. I'll post my exercises online, if you want. But yeah, that's something I might consider.

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  5. DOOOOOM! UP Cebu???? Grr. :( Go to Diliman, man. Hahaha.. Okay. I'm Dilimancentric, I know. Diliman? UP Diliman? Please? :(

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  6. If I go to Manila, it'll be for work, not to teach.

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  7. Hey Dom.

    No matter where you teach, you are making a difference, one student at a time. It really boils down to what your priorities are.

    I agree with the above comments.

    Another suggestion. Maybe you can do an outreach program using Ateneo's facilities and your students as well? It doesn't have to be an everyday thing.

    Maybe a learning lab with students from less fortunate schools wherein your students will get the chance to interact with them. Or make them do a partner project so you will see something concrete? :)

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