Inspiration & Motivation Self Learning Soft skills

How to Think Out of the Box – Self Learning Experience

While watching this most amazing motivational video (link given hereunder) by Sandeep Maheshwari, I am writing the most demotivating blog of my life.

I had a severely hard time this semester (Spring 2018) and my heart got broken because I had high expectations this semester from the group of same students whom I taught Project Management last semester (Fall 2017).

We had a very good time then and quite a few students came to me to share their learning experience with me and I thought we will have a good time together this semester, as I teach with passion experimenting new ideas every semester.

Since our last interaction was very friendly, so I thought we will have a fun learning experience this time around. To some extent, I would accept that I did learn quite a few interesting things this semester as well, as quite a few students managed to think ‘out of the box’ and came up with interesting new ideas.

I always used to ask my students in the very first lecture every semester, to come up with a question for which I don’t have the answer. The intent is not to portray my superiority over them or for being proud of my knowledge, rather it is to check the limits of my own understanding of the concepts.

I still regret not having such students who could challenge me for my ‘limits’. But I have always met such students who instead of accepting their own shortcomings for not being able to get good grades, blame me for being strict in giving numbers.

My dilemma is that the subject I am teaching is Ethics, which is purely theoretical in nature and there is no other way of grading the understanding of students’ concept of the subject matter, except how they answered the question ‘in English’. Making students realize this fact is a daunting task for me and as such I have always been subjected to their wrath once their result is announced.

Unfortunately we don’t have a system where they can be shown their final exam script to see for themselves how leniently I have marked their answers, but still because of their own deficiency of expressing their answers in English language, I am being blamed by them for checking their English and not the answer (the medium of education at the University level is English).

This time around, I have been threatened with ‘dire consequences’ by one of my students for whom I arranged ‘Internship’ and who used to sit with me for hours discussing his future aspirations. Unfortunately, the subject of Ethics compels me not to be biased ‘for or against’ any student. Live example is that of one such student, who was very vocal against me in a combined class of three IDs, got highest marks in his midterm exam, yet in a society as ours good deeds are seldom appreciated.

I have even been advised by quite a few students, who could not get good grades in their exam, to stop teaching Ethics. This is the plight of our highly unethical society that instead of looking into our own shortcomings, either we get ourselves engaged in the blame game or start imposing ‘our concept’ of the subject (without having an inkling of the subject itself) on ‘others’.

[I am among top 50 most viewed readers on Business Ethics on Quora (https://www.quora.com/topic/Business-Ethics/writers; I was at the 3rd position previously, the list keeps changing and as such if my number goes down, I beg your pardon)].

After having taught the subject of Ethics for over 10 years and facing undue criticism, I am demotivated to an extent that I have started now thinking of giving up my mission of motivating students ‘to think out of the box’ and stick to go by the book while teaching any subject.

My conscience is maligning me for this thinking though, as by doing this, I myself will be stopping my own learning, yet I have been pushed to the limits of thinking this way. Yet my doors will always be open for those who are really interested in seeking advice for their promising future.

I have written this blog with a broken heart without any grudge against anyone and closing it with a pray that ‘May Almighty Allah grant you all a long, happy, and prosperous life.

Sajjad Hussain