March 8, 2011

Just a number?

Last Friday I attended another session of my teaching course where we were talking about how students see themselves being part of their school. We were shown a video which was a combination of the video entries that students made themselves. One girl first wrote a bar code on her forehead as if every student is just a number for school, especially for big educational establishments. It got me thinking, is it how the students of Hogeschool van Amsterdam/the University of Applied Sciences in Amsterdam feel?Do they feel like just a number?

Certainly, there are physical limits to giving personal attention to every student of every subject whenever they need attention, but nevertheless, good education is about creating the time and giving a certain amount of attention to students who walk into the doors of our school. One can argue how much attention does one need and whether the expectations from all the sides: students and staff (whether administration or lecturers) about each other’s availability is reasonable? 

Is it reasonable to expect a student to give his/her full attention to your subject every day, every week? Is it reasonable to expect your teacher to answer your email in 2 hours after you hit send button? If students feel like they are just a number to the school that they go to, don’t they also see staff as a number? Or do students see staff as service providers? Some do, may be most do, but some don’t.

I remember my first business professor John C.S., who was, and I am sure still is, so charismatic and knowledgeable and funny that I enjoyed every class. He was the one who made me realize that I made the right choice to study international business and till today I never regretted that choice. He stood out to me and was someone I looked up to. I had a lot more professors since then, whose names I would not even be able to recall now, but some I will remember for a while or even forever, like John C.S. (who is still teaching and I am sure is still fantastic).

So yes, we all might be just a number to some people, but to some we will stand out, be remembered, respected and admired.

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