Monday, March 19, 2012

when i’m bored i have to write

Writing gives me a feeling of getting things straight, in order, unlike the messy and random status updates and links in Facebook and such.

So far, life goes on without any major events. The teaching life in the tuition centre opposite my old school – funnily I take my old school bus to work lol. Students are generally friendly and quite helpful – some were a handful though, but still they have the passion to improve and eventually excel. My first brush with tutoring Physics A-Levels is also done, it seems I still have the penchant and the interest for the physics that I’ve learnt in the last 1.5 years.

Few things that got me started though, are the rejection from my applications to a few top universities in the world. It seems that I am not the top top top of the world good enough to get admission and a scholarship lol. However, chances are really slim anyway, and with so many brains in the world.

I have also received several offers from universities around the world so it’s not that my life is over. But what that most significantly affected me is a word from a friend that says ‘College is what you make of it’. I know it’s old and its cliche, but somehow it’s still quite true. Will I enjoy this 4 years of my life if I squeeze my way through a top university with cutthroat competition and competition, or I coast my way through a more laid-back university and pursue my interests with like minded friends that doesn’t worry sharing knowledge with?

Well, come April I’ll have to make a decision, and it’s never easy but still I have options. Ranting over here, getting my thoughts straight, and with a rational mind maketh the decision that will dictate my life from now onwards.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Learning

As an online student…. in MITx’s 6.002x

From what that was my first experience in online learning – the MITx initiative by no less than the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, course 6.002x – Circuits and Electronics!

By good grace of the lecturer Anant Agarwal and his assistant Lorenzo, you get to see how electronic engineers define the world based on their EECS ‘playground’ assumptions, del phi b over del t equals zero and such. But still, the concept I’ve learnt so far is akin to a revision of basics – Kirchhoff’s laws of the voltage loop and the current node law.  I was kinda getting lost when he mentioned about the Maxwell equations though, those are sadly not in the A-Level Physics syllabus – lucky we had the EECS playground! Haha! 

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You can even see what happens if you take a pickle to use as a resistor! XD

Yes learning is fun but this online course is a full fledged, serious course too – complete with problem sets and labs to complete, and even midterm and final exams! But the most important of all, it’s free! Anyone can join if you think you have a decent education background to be able to cope with the coursework.

As a teacher… in a tuition centre

This is learning on a very different scale. In the end, I decided not to wait for the ideal job of teaching Add Maths, Physics and Chemistry SPM and settled down in a tuition centre, expecting to do administrative jobs. No sooner after I came and I was assigned several classes, mainly to teach English! Me, English.

Well, so that’s my game plan now – while waiting for students to come in and ask ‘Do you offer Physics, Add Maths tuition?', I take over the responsibility of teaching PMR English to the students in my former school just opposite the centre.

Teaching, in a way, taught me several things too – that a teacher must really really have encompassing knowledge of the subject (mainly because of over-inquisitive students and/or exceedingly hard exercises lol) Other than that, a teacher, even a tuition teacher, should also try to excite the student’s interest in the subject he/she teaches, apart from going through the usual stuff. In line with my own philosophy of learning, we should not just study to pass exams, but as humans we want to know more, inquire and ask questions on the environment around us, be it scientific, economic, or even aesthetic.

And there’s a load of kids in the centre – in good times, they’re like angels; cute, innocent and fun to talk with. But when they see red over something-we-adults-will-never-know, then all hell breaks loose. Kids these days I noticed are also often spoiled by their parents, giving rise to an ‘I-Am-King’ mentality and we teachers are servants bowing to their every command.

But still, I am glad to be a tuition teacher, one that I hope in my efforts can raise their marks (as per parent’s expectations to keep my job) and also raise their interest in the world around them :)