Time has come for me to leave the University of Mauritius. I have already given my notice and I’ll be leaving at the end of August after having worked as a lecturer in the Computer Science department for more than three years.
The main reason I’m leaving is that I am currently trying to obtain a visa for a foreign country but I’ll only have a definite answer in a few weeks… If I do obtain the visa, then we’ll have to move by the end of the year at latest.
Of course, there is an element of risk. If I do not obtain the visa, which is perfectly possible, I’ll have to get a new job in Mauritius. To be frank, I’ve not started searching yet.
Some people have been telling me that I should have kept my job as lecturer and then leave impromptu. I can’t do this because I don’t want to abandon my students in the middle of an academic year.
On being a lecturer
Being a lecturer is fantastic.
I love sharing what (little) I know to receptive students. I love having to always learn new things to keep the students awake. I love browsing and stumbling upon something that I immediately want to blog on and share with my students the next day. And I love having students who know what a university is and understand that they need to work hard to pass.
Another positive is that I also have a bunch of colleagues who share (more or less) my philosophy on teaching and having fun and we have managed to work on some cool projects during the past three years.
Of course, there are also some things I don’t like at the university like the lack of resources, the enormous workload imposed on us as compared to other universities and the pathetic Internet connection available.
But the one thing that bothers me most is the lack of passion and/or creativity and/or intelligence shown by some people. I guess outsiders may find this situation funny but I can tell you it’s really tough… Sometimes, you feel like having spent the whole day in a parallel universe where things look familiar but where few things happen as logic would dictate.
I come from a family of teachers. I would say that 75% of my family has done or is still doing some teaching either at secondary or tertiary level. Since I was a kid, my house was always filled with books and people willing (when they were not mad at me!) to explain things to me. My parents bought a set of encyclopedia when I was a kid and my favorite pass-time was to pick one of the books and spend an hour reading some articles more or less chosen at random. As a matter of fact, this is what I do now when I have some spare time except that I do it using my mobile phone and Wikipedia. (PS to my students: this is how you become knowledgeable.)
I was extremely good in school as I intuitively knew how to study and cruised. I obtained a scholarship to France where I studied for five years. And there too, I had no big problems being top until Christina and I realized that there were more important things in life as (only) being first in class…
I always felt that I was born to teach. I love to communicate. And share. Hence this blog I think (by the way, I wonder how people can manage in 2008 without blogging?!?)
When I returned to Mauritius in 1998, I started working as a lecturer at the Mauritius Chamber of Commerce & Industry for about six years and then joined the University of Mauritius where I have been working for the past three and a half years.
People who know me personally know I don’t like false modesty at all. So I am going to be honest and say that, for the past ten years, I have been an awesome, chill, cool, fun, exciting and daring teacher! Of course, I didn’t come up with those adjectives myself. Rather, they are what many of my students have told me over the past ten years. To be honest, some students have also told me that I am too elitist and too severe in marking (and not at all tolerant vis-à-vis stupid people.)
But I have to make something clear: I did not become awesome, chill, cool, fun, exciting and daring just like that. I spent days and days and nights and nights learning and practicing Computer Science as well as I could and find ways to restitute my knowledge in such a way that students could make sense of it all without falling asleep. Sometimes I felt so drained, at 2:00 in the morning after having uploaded a lecture I had just prepared, that I couldn’t sleep. But even so, at 8:30 the next morning, I was in my class doing my best to be a Jerry Lewis (lite) / Albert Einstein (lite) hybrid. And my students loved it. Me too.
All in all, I have loved being a lecturer at the University of Mauritius.
Big thanks to all my friends there. And lots of thanks to my students with whom I have spent so many hours of intense intellectualism and pleasure :-)