Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Great Learning

That title's actually taken from a work by Confucius; but as with all ancient Chinese texts, it's impossible to say if he actually wrote that or not. Anyway, the point of this post is to commemorate some of the amazing teachers and professors I've had or met.

Throughout most of my education, English was one of my least favorite subjects (right down there next to history and gym). But in high school, I had some amazing teachers. Freshman year I had a teacher who taught me to write concisely, a worth skill. In my junior year I "perfected" the essay form from my English AP teacher. She also had a law degree, so she knew how to write, how to analyze, and how to argue and prove a point.

At my university here, there have been a handful of amazing professors. The first guest lectured for Dante's Divine Comedy in my English class freshman year. He had this amazing aura about him. He was dynamic, engaging, and had a theatrical drama about him. You walk into class because of him. He always brought a smile to your face. He was someone to be admired and respected; he was legendary. It turns out he's gay. He came out sometime in my sophomore year I think to the campus. He's also quite elderly with a wife and grown kids who all still love him dearly and vice versa. Really, it's a non-issue. His sexual orientation is more of an aside, nothing of importance compared to his amazing self.

Last semester I interviewed this professor from the school of public health. It turns out she's the only female tenured professor in her department, an amazing accomplishment. She has such a motherly tone about her, it's almost difficult to imagine all the hardships that she went through to attain her position. I never had her for a professor, but I wish I did. Along this same line of thought, one of my professors right now attained tenured professorship quite young (she can't possibly be older than mid-30s or so). These professors are to be respected. And for many women on campus, these professors are also inspirational.

And this gets me wondering - what kind of person do I want to be (eventually)? Someone to be admired, someone to be respected, someone who inspires. All these would be great. I hope to achieve some of this on some small level in the mini-course I'm teaching, but somehow I doubt it. At best, I'll have achieved the status as a good instructor (which isn't so bad).

One day, I hope to become someone who is respected and inspirational, who exudes that aura of intelligence but is still personable. For right now, I should concentrate on finishing this semester and getting into med school. Sigh.


Matt in Argyle said...

It is always nice to be able to look back at your old teachers and remember the good ones. Too often people only remember the bad.

More importantly however, HISTORY is one of your LEAST fav. subjects. That saddens me.....

Aek said...

Perhaps I should qualify what I meant by history being my least favorite subject. American history is my least favorite subject (does that make me a bad American? lol). I rather liked European History AP in comparison. World history is quite interesting, particularly East Asian history.

Hopefully you're not as saddened now. ::hug::