The second trimester of MMU has ended about 3 weeks ago (hallelujah!). I returned to Malaysia right before the second (short) trimester started and have been assigned teaching workload and started teaching the week right after reporting back for duty.
For those who don't know what the trimester system is, it is a very ingenious system invented by some very resourceful people. Instead of just two semesters and a long holiday in an academic year, one would be able to optimise the academic year by squeezing an additional short 2-month semester in addition to the usual two 4-month semesters. I mean, unlike British kids who need a 3-month-long summer break, who needs long long holidays in Malaysia anyway? 3 weeks should be more than sufficient for anybody to rest. In fact, 3 weeks may even be too short for some people! In addition, the university can gain more money by offering more courses. How wonderful! Okay, some people may think that it's not fair to compare a short trimester with a long trimester since there's less time to study in the former, so why not study less subjects and double the study hours instead? Why didn't anybody else think of that in the first place? I should even win a Nobel prize for this! (For those who still haven't realised it, the whole paragraph is supposed to reek of sarcasm, ok?)
As a former student in Multimedia University who has experienced the second trimester first hand, I've always found myself loving the second trimester. During my four years of study, every short trimester was enjoyable. Perhaps that's because there are fewer subjects to worry about, thus allowing me to concentrate more on the few subjects studied. The total number of hours of classes per week is the same as in a long trimester, so it doesn't make a difference. The only thing I was put off by is having mid-term tests in the 3rd or 4th week of the trimester, when I'm still in a holiday mood >.<
However, after experiencing the second trimester from an instructor's point of view, I now see the short trimester in a completely different light. If you were to ask me about what I think about second trimester now, my answer would be: IT SUCKS!! In fact, the genius who invented this system should be tortured, castrated, crucified, beheaded, and thrown into the fires of hell! I mean, I have been teaching for 12 hours per week for the past 2 months!! In fact, there was one particular day when I was teaching for 8 hours straight (due to replacements no thanks to a public holiday)! I almost lost my voice that day. Compare that to my normal 4 hours per week (long trimester of course). In addition, I'm even teaching a subject which I'm not completely familiar with; a very difficult and technical subject at that (what is it doing in a second trimester is beyond me). Thus, I was studying the subject day and night, even during weekends, whether in or away from Cyberjaya. And I have even sacrificed my time by not watching my precious anime for two whole months! And I'm someone who watches anime almost every night, even when I was busy doing my projects or when there's an exam the next day. Not watching anime for two months is akin to asking my younger sister not to sing for 2 months or YP not to think about Mathematics for 2 months >.< And now you know why I had a record of only 3 posts in November and 4 posts in December (where most of it are written towards the end of the trimester, with one being my record shortest post) >.<
My rant aside, I've been assigned to teach Computer Graphics for the last 2 months. Although I have studied this subject before as an undergraduate, it wasn't well taught during my time - so I was studying it the Malaysian way (study just for exams!!). I couldn't even get a damn bloody OpenGL sphere to appear on screen! I'm quite glad to have the opportunity to finally be able to understand 3D modelling better. I was actually quite thrilled to see my merry-go-round spinning round and round (^_^). I think that I also have understood some of the Mathematics behind Computer Graphics better this time around, thanks to my boss (you know who you are ^__^). Teaching a subject you're not too familiar with is quite challenging in itself, although you do get to brush up on your bullshitting skills at the same time (I've done quite a fair share of bullshitting for the past 2 months... and I'm always complaining about how our lecturers bullshit all the time ... I'm such a hypocrite >.<) Seeing the output of students' project is also quite rewarding (some of them produced really outstanding work), although marking them is another matter altogether (and marking assignments during Christmas eve and New Year's eve makes it worse >.<) Although I'm happy to have taught the subject, will I teach this subject again? Well, to quote the great ones above, " SHF" (^www^)
Now that the second semester has passed (repeat after me: Alleluia! Alleluia!), I've been spending the trimester break (student's break, we poor underpaid academics are still busy working...) preparing - and still preparing - for next semester. I've been assigned to teach Compiler Design, and it will actually be my first time lecturing (>.<). Fortunately, I've previously studied this subject. I'm also interested in it, and have been reading up on the subject whilst I was tutoring some other closely related subject about more than a year ago. I have never realised that the work of lecturer can be so hectic and demanding: although having only 5 hours worth of classes per week may sound like an easy job, there are still lectures to prepare, old powerpoint slides to review, tutorial questions (and solutions) to prepare, lab instructions to prepare, test and exam questions to set, coordination with another campus, assignments to set, books to read up, not to mention other donkey jobs which we may be assigned to do. And I'm supposed to do research at the same time too. (>.<) I so miss my old life as a tutor (I remembered I was playing games during a trimester break in 2006!!) Of course I could just choose to go with the don't-care attitude like most other lecturers here, but I will never compromise my quality of teaching for anything (well maybe not anything ^,^)
And oh my, I haven't finished reading the chapter I'm supposed to lecture early Monday morning, and here I am busy typing this (>.<) I'm so going to have to bullshit to my students... again... (>.<)
26 January 08
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