Tuesday, 27 September 2011

do or teach?

There is this saying that those who cannot do teach and, although teachers hate it because it is mostly used by people with the intent of pointing out that teachers are overestimated and ultimately useless, I do believe the saying is somewhat true. Not because teachers are not valuable, but because the task of teaching stuff is so different from the task of doing stuff, it should be no surprise that those who cannot do, teach. Teaching does not mean doing and we would all be wise to remember that doing does not mean teaching. Like most of the streets in real life, it goes both way. Those who cannot teach, do.
The truth resists simplicity in this aspect as well, but the principle can be successfully applied to most teachers and, by extension, to most people. We generally expect great teachers to perform very well in the field they are teaching and people who perform very well in their respective field to be able to teach it successfully. This rarely turns out to be true. Doers do so that they themselves can excel and teachers teach so that others can excel.
What do you think? Would you like to do or to teach? Do you believe they can both be done?


P.S. Whenever I think about teaching and teachers I remember this:

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

along the canal

A photo walk along the canal turned out to be the ingredient of a perfect autumn afternoon.

Sith happens (text on a t-shirt, right under the picture of Darth Vader)

Against the current
One of the funniest graffiti artworks along the canal

Enjoy the sunset... the colours is this one look the way they do because of a new skylight filter I bought at the flee marked the other day.

Which one do you like the most?


Wednesday, 7 September 2011

A few shots of the city

I haven't been as prolific as I would have wanted, but I did experiment with a new technique the other day (new to me, of course). Here are a few shots that turned out from my photo walk a few days ago (and  were edited yesterday):

Among other good news... my tripod arrived. A night shoot is bound to come out anytime now.

Stay tuned!

Until next time....


Tuesday, 6 September 2011

1st year MAL student? This is what you need to know....

Before I get anywhere near any technical info or to gossiping any of my teachers and/or friends and colleagues, I want to be perfectly clear: this post is intended for those who are starting their first year as MAL (or LMA) students at the North University of Baia Mare. The rest of you... you can navigate away now. If you want to read this anyway... who am I to stop you?

Right. So you got accepted at the University and are all pumped up and worried about how you'll manage, how you'll make it to all your classes, how important are the mid-terms and finals and how to deal with your teachers and peers. That's great. You should be. But I am sure your experience already tells you that many things that got you all pumped were not really that exciting once you got them figured out. The same goes for college life. It is great, but it's not what you expect. Here are a few things I've learned along the way and I thought someone out there might find them useful.

  1. People are never what they appear and rarely what they are said to be. This remains true if you are a university student, a high school student or a kindergarten student. It just takes time to know people. And another thing. Don't let ANYONE (including me) permanently shape your opinion about ANYONE. You're a college student now. It's time to start drawing your own conclusions. And if you disagree with people... let them know... or not. It's your choice, really.
  2. It's all about the teacher. Now you may already know this, but I'm still going to say it. One of the most valuable things I learned during my years of schooling is that how much I study for a certain subject depends mostly on the way it is taught to me. I had teachers ruin for me subjects I once found infinitely interesting (Math, for example. And Mrs. Heuberger, if you ever read this... I'm talking about you. Yep... you ruined math for me, as I am certain you ruined it for a whole bunch of other kids. There. I said it). And I also had teachers that showed me that things are infinitely more complex than I perceived them and that made me curious and hungry for more. Of course this is all subjective, but you get my point. Now let's talk about the English teachers at the North University. I don't know much about the French teachers and the German teachers, if you do get to work with them, are pure awesomeness. Well... they have their peculiarities but, as long as you remember never to contradict Mrs. Turcanu, you'll be just fine.
  • Ligia Tomoiaga. She's probably the nicest one in the whole department. And it's not always a good thing. People sometimes take advantage. I asked her to supervise my dissertation paper and the only thing I regret about that is that I did not start to write it early enough so that she could give me advice while the paper was growing. Also. She will miss some of your classes. It's not because she does't care about her students (it took me a long time to figure this out), but because she tends to do too many things at once and sometimes she just gets stuck somewhere else. Try to finish your tasks in time and try to reach as many of her lectures as you can. Even if you're not prepared... you'll find out stuff. And that's what university life is about... finding out stuff (well, not only that, but you get my point).
  • Horea Nascu. All I'm going to say about him is that he's a scatter-brain. A big and harmless one. I never felt he was my teacher. I've always associated him with that goofy work psychologist in 'Stranger than Fiction'... you know... the one that says that trees are trees. Mr. Nascu will require  you to do pointless tedious tasks and to read a whole bunch of books, the list of which you might actually receive one or two days before the exam (titled 'You should have already read...'). However, it's not a tragedy if you haven't read the all the books. The important thing is having an above average attendance, knowing your English and doing your best at the exam. I'm not even sure he thoroughly grades all his papers, but that's just a hunch.
  • Minodora Barbul. She's one of the younger English teachers at the North University, which means she's energetic and eager to get involved in extracurricular activities and to spend time helping students improve their language skills. She deals with the legal and business side of English and the best thing about her is that she cares enough about her students to actually help them. This is something that I cannot say about every teacher, but it is most definitely true about her.
  • Ioan Beniamin Pop. Now this guy is a bit of a legend (among LMA and LRE students). Not because he's a great teacher. Far from it. It's because he's so stubborn he should actually wear a 'Do not contradict sign'. I'm going to go on a bit about this guy, but the thing you should always remember is that, in his view, Mr. Pop is always right and if anything goes wrong, it's not his fault. It's you who misunderstood, who are lazy and who are trying to shy away from responsibility. I mean.. I know that many students are doing this, but I don't think it should be taken a constant of life. I have this theory as a young teacher: 'If you expect the worst from your students, that's exactly what you'll get'. I'm sure Mr. Pop is a very nice guy in every way, but I don't think teaching is for him.
    If you ever fail an exam as an MAL student during your three years of college, chances are it will be something Mr. Pop teaches. He enforces his rules. Although some of his methods seem to be in no way designed to help anyone learn anything, not abiding the rules will most definitely lead to loss of points and trust me on this one... You need every point you can collect. Don't rely on the fact that you know English or on the fact that you've already done the exercises in Galateanu. He only records your participation in his class and the way you learn (or try to learn) by his rules. One of the hardest lessons I have learned during college is this: Whatever his students or peers do or say, Mr. Pop carries on as if he hadn't heard them. Save yourself the trouble and do not try to change him or help him improve his methods. He's not trying to do any of those things. Just do whatever you can in order to pass and be happy when you finish college and don't have to deal with him anymore.
    There are teachers that show you what to be and those who show you what not to be. At the end of the day, they all shape us and a huge part of who we are is the way it is because of our teachers. I'm grateful to all my teachers, even if I don't like them all.

This post could go on indefinitely, but it will have to stop here. I have been procrastinating posting it for too long, anyway. If you have any comments, please leave them and if you know anyone that might find this useful... send them the link.

Until next time..