April 10, 2013 in TEDxAUBG 2013
A European by education, location, vocation, travel and readings.
Carrying a belief that education is the silver bullet though I stumbled into this profession by chance rather than choice. I approach it therefore more from the perspective of the student than the professor. As a student, I could not forgive two things from a professor: incompetence and boredom. I see a class as a performance, mixing virtuosity (for which you have university degrees to show) and improvisation (which is subject to adjustment to the audience). A combination of classical music, jazz and rock and roll. It needs rhythm, punch lines and some degree of the unexpected (though hopefully not crashing guitars) to introduce students to what otherwise could remain, despite best intentions, an abstract subject. Teaching is more than academic ping-pong (I say, they write), but rather a conversation though not necessarily a democratic one (if as a professor you lose control over the classroom there is no point for you to be there in the first place). I’d rather push students than regret not pushing them enough. It is a risk I am willing to take. The point is not to make the students’ life miserable, but to give them the satisfaction by the end to say: I did this! My promise, as you enter my classes, is to offer an intellectual training you can rely upon whether for further academic studies, in the job market or simply for being an interesting partner of conversation over coffee.