September 9, 2005

Psychic Income Reposted

Following is a repost of Sir Paolo Manalo's entry about Chancellor Sergio Cao's speech during his (Cao's) investiture rites. Reminds me of some of the reasons why I can never leave teaching:

In Chancellor Sergio Cao's speech during his investiture rites this afternoon he mentioned a wealth that the UP faculty members enjoy that isn't money. It can't be money. The pay is so low (and public school teachers are taxed so high, it's robbery!) that in the past few years many faculty members have left UP in search of better opportunities in private universities and corporations and in universities and companies outside the country. For those of us who remain, we have psychic income.

This is the intellectual wealth and energy that we have that we pass on to our students that can't be paid for by real money. It exists on the level of the ideal: faculty members are supposed to improve themselves intellectually through academic excellence in their respective graduate and postgraduate programs, contributing to the growing body of knowledge in their fields through research and creative output, and most importantly imparting this knowledge to the classes they handle each semester. Sometimes, like Cao, they need to help out by taking on administrative positions for the improvement and management of the university.

Cao said that that this wealth is in the types of students that the faculty helps to graduate through proper guidance, inspiration and education. There are exceptional teachers who can do all three: they are proper guides, inspiring and experts in the courses that they teach. They are what we junior faculty aspire to be. Psychic income is what we hope to earn more of each semester. One of the ways we know we have it is when our students acknowledge it, sometimes immediately--inside the classroom when they give you that look that means they understand. Most of the time it comes later, when the student comes to visit you the following semester to say that finally, the ideas you've shared are more meaningful when applied to the course that they are currently enrolled in. Or much later, when they have graduated from the university and the lessons you've shared have their practical application in the "real world" that you will never be part of.

We teachers can also acknowledge this psychic income when we can be proud of our former students and their achievements, not because we had a direct hand in their successes, but that indirectly, we were part of an academic system that supported or challenged their development in their chosen careers, or their development as Filipino people.

Psychic income is knowledge we can share freely with our students, even if the conditions to gain that knowledge amounts to great sacrifice--mostly financial--on our part as teachers and that it is greatly appreciated by them. It is also knowledge that our students share with us--through their reactions and argumentation that our academic system encourages--and this knowledge sincerely changes us and contributes to our development as teachers.

1 comment:

paolomanalo said...

Hi Paeng,

Thanks for the re-post. I've managed to get a copy of the speech (from an UPdate Diliman issue, and have incorporated that portion on psychic income in my post.

Here are his exact words:

"Maraming dahilan kung bakit nananatili tayo dito sa UP Diliman; ang ilan sa mga ito ay tinatawag na "psychic income." Halimbawa, matatalino ang ating mga estudyante, marunong manaliksilk, marunong maghanap at gumawa ng paraan kung kailangan; mga estudyanteng sanay sa pagpuna hindi lamang para maturingang "kritikal" kung hindi may pag-iisip na "analitikal," nagtatanong, sumusuri. sila ang dahilan kung bakit nananatiling bata ang mga gurong matagal nang namamalagi sa UP."