I think a lot about the students. I wake up and I think of them, of what to say to them. Teaching has become an integral part of my mental living. It is, like writing, a process of re-digesting and re-examining my perspectives. Only, unlike my notes to self, this time my streams of consciousness get translated to verbal communication to AN AUDIENCE.
I am trying to do the right thing. I do wonder if they see the same thing on the receiving end. If they get my message. If they appreciate it. If they find it useful. But at the same time, as L has opened my eyes with a random remark one day, I may care too much about the receiving end. I guess it's not in my control to obsess over.
As in arts, in filmmaking, my job is done when the work is done. How you interpret it for yourself is your part.
That is liberating.
"The postman came by the house today." That line just popped into my head. Random. Probably a line from an American film. Maybe Forrest Gum.
Had a phone call with Linh Phan yesterday. She was chirpy. She laughed. She bellowed laughs. I love her when she's in that state. We were never that close as friends. Our emotional wavelengths don't meet much (same with Huyen). But Linh has been there as a friend in my early twenties till now. We have seen each other over a long timeline. That is something I cherish.
Linh said she was thinking of making a film about her family. I applauded that. I am still applauding it now. It makes so much sense. I told Linh a thought, that I'd not manage to put into words before. I didn't know the thought before I told it to her. "So I was pitching my film project here and there to all these different people. And I was, metaphorically, standing there in front of them, kind of trying to make a good impression, trying to convince them my story, my film is good. And then I was like: why am I doing this? I am not making films for them. I'd rather make films for my family, about my family. And that started to make so much sense."
Don't try to please unimportant people. How long does it take one to learn?
That is what my students should start to learn now. My students are not close to my heart. I barely know them. But I am intellectually protective of them. It may be a part of my making-peace process.
As I was doing the dishes this morning, I thought of Tam again. She wrote in her reflections: I wish the lecturer showed me some camera angles and how to set them, instead of sending me to ask for help from friends or doing research on the Internet. I was rinsing the plates and forming my speech.
It is not the technical skills we should teach in schools. I find it is far more significant that young people learn how to think, how to understand, embrace, and be good friends to themselves, how to evaluate a situation, a problem, and weigh your options - and make decisions for yourself. The courses they are taking are the occasions, the immediate reasons, the training, but not everything to prepare for post-uni life. The training now, at best, should equip them with cognitive capabilities, emotional intelligence, self-empathy, and problem-solving ability so they can deal with other things that come later in life, in whichever areas of work and living they'll find themselves in.
And underneath it all, at the core of their being human, the most significant training that should be taking place is the construction of values and integrity.