Life in academia
My lovely 80-year-old mother, Dr. Emma Baban Keith, has been an educator most of her working life, from being an elementary-to secondary-to college instructor then becoming part of school management until she retired.
That’s not counting, of course, her being teacher and guide, until now, to three children and two grandchildren on how to lead Christian lives. She’s trying anyway especially with this near-sighted Ibaloy writer.
Meanwhile, my late father, Atty. Gabriel Pawid Keith, who would have turned 90 years old on March 30, also taught for a few semesters at the graduate school of Baguio Central University where I also happen to have earned my Masters in Public Administration and PhD degrees.
The slacker that I am, it took me about five years to finish my MPA and around seven years to earn my PhD. As they say, slowly but surely.
However, even if both my parents have been members of the most noble profession – that’s teaching, if you didn’t know, I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would be a part of this since I honestly believed I didn’t have the patience, competence, wisdom, or whatever is needed to be an effective teacher. Besides, I saw my mother still hard at work grading papers into the wee hours of the night when I was much, much younger. And I won’t even go into teacher salaries back then. I do hope they’re better now.
It was no less than Dr. Felipe Comila, president of Benguet State University,a center of excellence, who called me out of the blue offering me to be an adjunct (part-time) professor in its College of Public Administration and Governance (CPAG).
As expected, I was hesitant to accept his offer, generous as it was, because of the reasons I just mentioned plus the fact that I have never taught a class in my life. Lectures, yes, but never for an entire semester.
In the end, Dr. Comila was able to convince me to try even for just one semester with a three-unit teaching load every Saturday from 7 to 10 a.m. My subject was on administrative communication.
Well, almost two months and I’m actually loving every moment of academic life. I honestly feel that my students, all of whom are professionals from the government and private sectors (including a foreigner), are learning something from me (that’s what they tell me anyway) and I am learning even more from them. I never thought teaching could be so much fun and fulfilling. Of course, being only human, I must admit that it’s also great to be called a “Dr.”, even only on Saturdays. One day lang naman so I hope I don’t get bashed for it especially in a crab-infested society we live in.
Thank you Dr. Comila for giving me this wonderful opportunity. May your tribe increase. At least I could put my Ph.D. to good use. Here’s hoping that I would be a part of BSU’s teaching staff for years to come. Even on a part-time basis only and maybe full-time in the future. Who knows? Sana everyday is Saturday.
May our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ continue to bless and keep us all safe.