This week marks the start of the third academic year which I have worked as a part-time academic staff in my alma mater, Tunku Abdul Rahman College (TAR College). It’s a real wonder that how a person like me, with science background, end up teaching creative arts subjects…
Well, I have dwelled in photography for as far back as I can remember, back to my days in primary school, and then having had an SLR camera to play with (albeit a hand-me-down from my dad) when I was fifteen. In fact, even during my college days, I was already pursuing photography on a part-time freelance basis. I suppose I never really left the photography world to start with.
Subsequently, after having worked in the creative industry over the past several years, and being very happy that my alma mater, TARC finally established a dedicated school for the creative courses. Prior to this, they only had schools to cater for the academic courses. However, I was disappointed (for the lack of a better word) to find out that the quality of the subject being taught was not exactly up to par with the demands of the industry. This prompted me to approach TARC and offered my vast experience in the world of photography. I was accepted as an assistant to a full-time lecturer and subject leader for photography. And that was how it all began…
Two academic years later, I was not only assisting in the subject of photography, an area which I dare say I have more exposure than any full-time, permanent lecturers there, I was offered to head another subject – Commercial Design. With my experience in the commercial photography, and having dealt with real-world experience, I took up the challenge.
Those two subjects were something that I can relate to. But the start of my third academic year with TARC brings a uniquely new challenge. I was offered to assist in a totally new subject, something which I have never dealt with before in the past. I’ll be assisting the lecturer (subject leader) as a practical instructor for Conceptual Design.
In fact, I just had a meeting with the subject leader (Mr. Ng Chee Fong) this morning. We managed to lay out the subject plan for the whole semester, and first of the three assignments for the students to work on.
So why is this such a challenge to me?… Well, all through my vast working experience in the creative industry, I’ve dealt mainly with the actual application side of the industry. Never have I dealt with, nor studied something as fundamental as Conceptual Design.
But as a contributor to the society, nothing is impossible. I only have to start “studying” the subject all over again. After all, as an effective educator, we learn from the students as much as, if not more than, what the students learn from us. Education, after all, is a life long endeavour.
~~~ EDIT ~~~
As of 2nd May 2013, Tunku Abdul Rahman College has been upgraded to a full-fledged university status. It is now known as Tunku Abdul Rahman University College.