Teaching Evaluations

I find teaching to be an admirable and fulfilling profession. And it makes it that much more rewarding when I read comments like these:
  • I have never had a professor who was as responsive to students via email then Jason. He was always willing to help and always open and honest. I wish there were more opportunities throughout the course though because one bad assignment could really dig you into a hole. 
  • You were an awesome, engaging professor who I felt that i could learn a lot from. You remained neutral throughout conversations but always challenged us to think more. Awesome job :) 
  • Jason is a great person and I would love to have him as my teacher again. I enjoyed Jason's ethusiasum of the material, I just wish he would have stated an opinion more than on one topic. 
  • Jason was mostly concerned with engaging us and getting us to think critically and grow as students and individuals rather than doing work for a grade, and I think that is very noteworthy for a professor. He created an environment that allowed students to feel comfortable participating, and he was definitely my favorite professor this semester, and I would recommend him as a professor to anyone looking to take an Ethics class. 
  • Jason was always excited to teach us, and brought a lot of interesting and thought–provoking issues to each class. I feel more confident in my argumentative skills after taking his class, and I feel better defending my ethical opinions and decisions now. Definitely keep the hypotheticals at the beginning of each class, it kept me interested and wanting to be present each class. I would maybe take just a little more time each class to review the vocab and topics from the previous class, though. I often forgot the theory names and what they argued after we talked about them. 
  • It was a really fun class and I learned a lot about ethics. 
  • Professor Chen was a great professor. He did an excellent job of mediating class discussions. Also, he remained unbiased in all of our discussions which I greatly appreciated, and I am sure other students did as well. 
  • Jason is a good teacher of philosophy and I have nothing negative to say about him. It might have been nicer if he made more of an effort to learn/use our names in class, but otherwise I think he has a promising future teaching philosophy and I'm glad to have had him this semester. His knowledge of pop culture is alarmingly absent. 
  • professor chen was one of my favorite professors i've had at slu. i learned so much about how to think critically and think about the world from him.

Blues Song

Yesterday was the first time that I wrote lyrics to a blues song. I thought it was fitting that it was New Year's Eve and that the song is about death.

Everyday I get older
One step closer
To that eternal slumber

What about the things I’ve said
The things I regret
And the things I never dreamt

My hairline recedes every morning
Wrinkles when I smile

What will be the last thing I see?
Will it be an empty room?
I don’t want to go alone

Will I be remembered?
Will all my work be done?
Or will there be more?

I know I gotta go one day
Because everyone’s got to go
But I want to stay, want to stay

33rd Birthday

If I had to characterize my last year in a few words, it would be "struggle and perspective." From about August to April, I was either applying for jobs or worrying about jobs, and I've already written about how that led me to feel a whole host of negative emotions. The summer months provided me some respite, but now that the job market is starting again, I'm already feeling the anxiety. I imagine that there will be struggle again, though less severe this time around.

My last year has also been characterized by perspective, mainly because of my brief, but direct, exposure to suffering. Since my encounters with the two men in wheelchairs, I've shadowed various doctors at the hospital, including an internist, psychiatrist, palliative doctor, and pediatrician.

On Wednesday (my birthday), I saw two dying patients: an old lady with a brain tumor, and a middle-aged man who had failing lungs. The old lady was somewhat alert; I could tell from her facial expression that she was suffering. It actually reminded me of the expression that my grandma made when she became hospitalized. The middle-aged man was alert and talked about how he wanted to keep living so that he could spend time with his family. He asked about an organ transplant that he needed, but the doctor told him that he wasn't a candidate because of the state of his lungs. He begged the doctor to promise him that he wouldn't let him die. The doctor said he couldn't promise him that but that he would do whatever he could. There was a bible on the desk.

Yesterday I went to the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) and saw a lot of sick babies. There was one specific baby who, for some reason, suffered massive brain damage. The doctors said that he will never walk, stand, or sit, and that his condition will probably kill him. It's a tragedy that so many babies won't have the chance to experience the good things in life. They won't develop their potential, fall in love, see a sunset, laugh with friends, appreciate music, eat ice cream, dance, travel the world, cuddle with animals, exchange smiles with a stranger, and hear the waves of the ocean. Due to nothing more than an unlucky draw of the natural lottery, they have been condemned to spend their days in a room of a hospital, and to exist mainly in the memories of their families.

Encountering suffering gives you perspective. That one project that you think you have to complete, that one appointment that you think you have to make, you probably don't.