When the Teacher Is a Millennial

When the Teacher Is a Millenial. Written by JM Nualla for SubSelfie.com.

It all started as a rant back in college. I was a Broadcast Communication student and my classmates and I were sharing our frustrations over the quality of education we were getting from some of our professors.

We were very passionate about our dreams but some of our teachers were delinquents and non-practitioners of their subjects. Instead of doing lectures, they would ask us to present reports, buy substandard textbooks, or worse, pay an amount for a so-called “donation” so as to get a passing grade.

I felt powerless and disappointed, yet I made up my mind that I will go back to PUP and teach — with the proper qualifications and experience from the field. I didn’t want to be a bureaucratic, corrupt and self-serving academic with no interest in updating his skills to suit the changing media landscape.

Fast forward to the present and I am finally living my dream of working as a journalist. I am blessed to be one of the few who struggled and persevered to receive my opportunity. With unemployment still a societal disease, I am really thankful that I can do what I love.

For a while, I have forgotten about my thoughts back in college. Why would I worry about mentally tiresome lesson plans, unruly students, and the dirty faculty politics that come along with teaching? I was already happy with my day-to-day job as a journalist.

As I went on with my career, the question started to change. What happens next when I finally reach my dreams? There are probably a million books written about how to achieve one’s goals and aspirations, but maybe a few on what to do after.

I am part of a generation that has been repeatedly accused of being self-absorbed individuals. And I guess in some ways, that is true. Many millennials, including me, are guilty (either in whole or in part) of having the me-me-me syndrome — so obsessed with ourselves, our achievements, our views and our feelings, all posted in social media for people to see.

It was then when I realized I needed to do more. I needed to start thinking about others.

And so I put my heart into service through a ministry. I involved myself in charities and even took gigs to conduct lectures and seminars as a media practitioner. These are my own ways of giving back what God has blessed me in my career.

This January, a close friend messaged me, asking if I wanted to teach. I was hesitant at first, thinking how it would affect my work schedule and personal time. But then all of my college memories came back. I wanted to teach. I wanted students to get the value of their education. I wanted to be like my beloved teachers who are not just qualified and experienced in the field, but who are equipped academically and have the heart for their students. So I took the chance.

One day I went to the dean’s office for an “interview.” It turned out to be an orientation. The following day, I was immediately on my first scriptwriting class doing my own orientation to students. I believe when God does wonders in your life, He usually does so in the most unexpected yet perfect ways.

My first days as an instructor.
My first days as an instructor.
My entrance ticket to the academe.
My first venture into the academe.

Two months into my teaching gig, and it has been a wonderful experience. I may be stressed in checking papers, preparing lectures and presentations, but I get a different fulfillment.

Part of the reason why I wanted to be in media is that I wanted to contribute in making a positive change in society. Well, this teaching job has the same magic, but in a more interactive way and with more tangible results.

The midterms has just ended for my two scriptwriting classes. I asked them to do a live radio drama presentation for their examination. Some were exceptional; others needed improvement. When I asked them afterwards why I wanted them to perform instead of just submitting their scripts, some jokingly thought that I just wanted to make it hard for them. But I told them a personal story.

It is the story of my mom who used to work as a maid, and my dad who was a helper. I wouldn’t be where I am now if not for them. I told them it was the same thing for their midterm exams. I wanted them to experience how hard it was for the radio drama pioneers to develop the concept: improvising sound effects, syncing music, and writing dialogues. These are easier to do today, all thanks to the efforts of the people who came before us.

I am teaching in the sixth most expensive college in the Philippines, and I am aware that many of my students are from affluent families, sheltered in big houses, with all their needs served on a silver platter. But they are good kids. When I got sick for a week, a few of them gave heartwarming messages. I know they are great individuals, but I need them to learn not just from my experience, but from those who have experienced hard work like my parents.

Foundation Week at iAcademy.
Foundation Week at iACADEMY.
Inside the four walls.
Inside the four walls.
The Library of iAcademy.
The library of iACADEMY.

I am not boasting my achievements, but think of my example as a possible scenario for your future. When you reach your dreams, it should not end as is. And it should not end with you alone. Your dream can grow into something more meaningful than your self-worth. It can grow into what you can do for others.

When you are at the twilight of your days, you don’t get fulfillment from what you’ve accomplished for yourself. One of the regrets of people who die is that they have not inspired more people. This is the trap of selfish self-fulfillment.

Sometimes it’s better not to think solely of your own personal gain; think of how you can impact the lives of others. In return, you will be better too. In the end, your dream is not yours alone anymore.

Researching for my lectures.
Researching for my lectures.

About the Author

Subselfie - JM

JM Nualla is the Managing Editor of SubSelfie.com. He is presently a News Producer of New Day and The Source on CNN Philippines. He also serves as an Assistant Professor in iACADEMY, teaching scripwriting, film language, new media and mentoring thesis projects. Previously, he was a Segment Producer for the GMA News Special Assignments Team and Senior Producer/Online Content Manager for Claire Delfin Media. Broadcast Communication 2009, PUP Manila. MA Journalism 2014, Ateneo de Manila.

Read more of his articles here.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. This was very well said (written), JM! [slow clap] “When you reach your dreams, it should not end as is. And it should not end with you alone. Your dream can grow into something more meaningful than your self-worth. It can grow into what you can do for others.”

    On behalf of all the college students reading this, THANK YOU for keeping your promise to yourself to return to the academe to teach as a “competent and selfless” teacher.

    Our nation desperately needs more teachers like you.

    God bless you more, bro!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. JM Nualla says:

      Thank you brother! Hope to get some pointers from a more experienced teacher like you! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

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