Tuesday, April 22, 2008

We'll have final exam soon!

... We will miss you... but we won't miss finals...Hummmm!

Monday, April 21, 2008

The last class at Indiana University

I don't remember exactly how I felt during the first day of class at Indiana University. It was nine years ago, and it was an undergraduate class. I had almost 180 students in class. What I still remember are students' faces. They looked uncertain, curious, disappointed, uninterested, tired, etc. I have been really curious about students' first impression on me. While no single student would be amazed by my good looking face, they might wonder about this professor who has an Asian face and speaks strong Korean accent. Some students might be tempted to drop the class. Other students might think that their instructor might be one of the Bruce Lee's cousins who may give them some tips for nice side kicks.

I really cannot guess what students thought of me in my first class at IU. I never asked about it. However, I can easily talk about my last class at IU, since it happened a few days ago. It was one of the graduate classes entitled "Introduction to Research Methods" and students came from applied health sciences, kinesiology, and recreation. I had a few PhD students, too. As this was one of the distance learning classes, we also filmed the lectures and sent DVD to distance learning students.

At the end of 2 hours and 30 minutes lecture (we used to take 10 min break), I was expecting that students would leave the room like a bullet. On that last day, students did not leave and they smiled at me. I felt really awkward. As I did not have dinner before the class, I was thinking of eating a delicious Korean meal at home. In my mind, I was exclaming: "please let me go!!!"

As Katie, one of doctoral students in athletic training, brought pizza into the studio (the classroom), students were clapping their hands (probably due to their excitement for pizza or freedom from me...). All of sudden, students expressed their appreciations and passed me a thank-you card (I was able to see all the names and signatures of the students!). Before I ate pizza, I paused for giving thanks to the LORD for food. As I opened my eyes, I began to hear a song entitled "To sir with love." Everybody was quiet and encouraged me to hear the song. When I heard the following lyric, I cried. I could not control it.
"... And as I leave I know that I am leaving my best friend. A friend who taught me right from wrong and weak from strong, that's a lot to learn. What what can I give you in return? If you wanted the moon I would try to make a star. But I would rather you let me give my heart To sir with love..."

Why did I cry? I don't know. I was thankful to the LORD who has blessed me to become a teacher and let me serve students. Well, I am thinking now that I cried because the pizza was so delicious. Students said "Dr. Lee, we are eating the best pizza in town." Yes, that's why I cried.

A couple days later, one student sent e-mail to all students with attachment files: all the pictures we took. In his e-mail, he wrote: "It was a very good event and I hope it will be in everyone's memory for long time..." Another student replied: "... The party was a great way to honor our professor who has touched all of our lives with his knowledge, passion for teaching, his positive encouragement and the way he lives his faith by example..." I cried again. Why? I did not have that delicious pizza in front of me, and that's why!

With this posting, I am bragging. Don't get me wrong, though. I am not bragging about myself. I am bragging about my LORD who has blessed me as a teacher, gave me joy of teaching, and entrusted me this wonderful group of students to serve. I love you, LORD!

Friday, April 18, 2008

My first posting

This is my very first posting to my blog. As I type words, my typing fingers begin to feel a mild level of tension. Nervous? Yes, but it is not a bad nervousness. May I call it "eu-nerverousness"?

I am thinking that this blog should offer me an opportunity for daily or weekly or even monthly reflections of my life and share my stories with others. I have been talking about my life with others, but I have not written any of my thought pieces in papers or Microsoft Word program. Perhaps, this blog may offer me some trails of my thoughts as I am about to make important transitions in my life.

I recently resigned my dream job as an Associate Professor at Indiana University. I earned tenure a few years ago. To tell you the truth, it wasn't an easy thing to earn tenure at Indiana University. You really have to work very hard! However, I also realized the fact that it wasn't very hard to give it up, either.

When you find a new passion, you don't really want to keep old one. They cannot co-exist (at least in my case). I had to put my old passion in the trash in order to follow a new passion. So the transitioins I just mentioned above mean radical changes in my life.

I am compelled to examine myself in this new journey and write some thoughts in this process. One experienced blogger Brian Moffatt offered me some good principles associated with blogging:

"... As a writer, I love sitting down to blog. When I start a post I have no idea where I'm headed. I love that freedom. I do write otherwise. With outlines and plans. Strategies. But blog writing is like going off for a walk with no predetermined finish time or route, sometimes the walk is through the fields, sometimes along the streets... I rarely reread my posts. Hence the tremendous number of typos and grammatical errors. But for me, that's okay. I'm not the most anal person in the world. But it's very much what I look for elsewhere. The flaw. The scar. The fingerprint. The idiosyncratic. The weirded-out turn of phrase. Something close to the hearth where the meat burns in an instant and leaves your face all warm for a bit. I love reading something I've written and thinking 'geez who wrote that?'..."

While I am still in Bloomington, Indiana, and need to give final exams for the students in two graduate courses next week, my stories will begin from here. I am excited! Really!