Thursday, August 21, 2008

Why I started teaching.

I am a confirmed caffiene junkie.
Every morning as I get down from the train, I take hypnotic steps towards the coffee shop on the bridge. All the coffee-shop owners around the University know me by my first name and some of them have also started talking to me in Hindi now. When I pay them, they say 'Shukriya' in a cute Australian accent. I never add my weekly coffee expenses to know how much money I spend on coffee a month, only because the answer would leave me unnecessarily guilty.I like ignoring that number although I have a faint idea of the neighborhood it falls into.
Anyway, it so happened that they decided to cancel the casual jobs in the laboratory due to budget concerns and I lost my second job. I was brought down to being an authentic poor student living on a scholarship and gradually reality began unfolding herself in the form of depleting savings in my bank account.
So every time I stopped for a cup of mocha or cappucino I used to feel horribly guilty.
There is a sane inner voice inside that used to say," Stop drinking coffee. You don't need a second job if you do". I never listened to it though. Every morning,I used to decide that I would walk past the coffee shop without buying coffee but somehow my shoes took a left turn on their own and my hand pulled out my little coin purse from my bag and the residual guilt was taken care of by the bright "How are you going?" of the coffee guy.
I actually began looking for a second job so that I could have my coffee in peace. My friends asked me to apply in the same coffee shop as I fit the bill of a really chirpy coffee girl. I took it really seriously and mentioned it to the coffee shop owner the next day but he very gracefully turned me down saying," Oh I would love to! All you have to do is get a coffee-making certificate by attending a full time course worth $900". So all my imaginary free coffees were flushed down the river.
I desperately wanted to do something outside the campus. I imagined myself as a waitress,a subway girl, librarian,part-time writer ( get paid to write!!) and sometimes in my greedy reveries even a casual bus driver ( Thank God for not granting it). However most of these exotic fantasies turned out to be happy miscarriages and I was thrown on to the usual PhD student path. I printed my resume out and applied for a tutoring position. After a long painful wait ( that was assauged by regular doses of extravagant coffee) I was appointed a tutor and assigned statistics.
Initially enthralled by the absence of guilt first thing in the morning, I jumped on to all the statistics books I could lay my hands on in the library. However soon I realized that to cope with teaching and research at the same time, I needed some extra caffeine everyday and I had happily assumed that my students would never ask any difficult questions.
Now I am almost always stuck in the university till late at night and people find me walking into walls trying to multi task by walking and reading for my next class at the same time!
I am glad that coffee lead me to take this up. :)
Had I listened to the sane voice inside I would have never found out the joy of teaching.
As a student, I would never go through everything like I do now and sit down with my calculator to go over the silliest of all formulae and sometimes I amuse myself with the metaphors I come up with to explain boring concepts like 'standard deviation'.
I went through a really nervous night before my first class ( and it was worse than going for an exam). I spent hours in front of the bathroom mirror reahersing my opening lines and I bored almost everyone in the lab by doing trial runs of my first lecture on them.
As a result my Mondays and Fridays have come frightfully close to each other and weekends are full of lab-work. Now I do not feel guilty about buying coffee but I am really worried about a whole bunch of other things! What can I do? This is life. All of this just for a cup of coffee!! ;)


RJ said...

Necessity is the mother of invention ain't it ?? Good on ya Teacher San...oops...Teacher Saee !!

Endevourme said...

/-I like ignoring that number although I have a faint idea of the neighborhood it falls into

you kno, i read that line and thought 'this is statistics language', later on in the post it dawned on me that you have really got into it!
lol language changes so much depending on wht we do :D

Saee said...

Thanks a lot!! :)
@ Prasad..
Hmm yeah..I know I have been talking greek for a few days now. :)

शिरीष said...

Sai what a coincidence is this! You are also teaching & am also teaching now! This is really wonderful experience. One gets a sense of fullfilment and you also get paid for it!

I have also decided to spend now on CDs and books with this bonus money. By the way I am going to send you songs from Savali Aag Bai Aareccha (Of course in MP3 format)

Your coffee now must be more tasty!

Saee said...

Hi baba..
Yeah! Indeed it is a really good experience. :)
And guilt free coffee definitely tastes better. :D

Eeshwari Bollapragada said...

Nice post! I would say, happy teachers day! :)

*Shall* said...

I believe we have a lot of catchin up to do ;)
The drive for a guilt-free coffee can do wonders. I hope ur enjoying the teaching expereince :)

Saee said...

@ Shaleen
Well I was but my student dropped out of uni. So I was melancholy for a while. :)
But now I am melancholy for other reasons like pre-poned deadlines!! I always thought deadlines are meant to be post-poned. :(