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Monday, May 18, 2009

Pursuing education, everyone?

Around a decade ago, there was a quite interesting topic to discuss in the English book I used to teach in my workplace: a middle-aged woman pursuing her education in college. Her background was: she was married and a full housewife.

One memorable remark from a student came from a male student, a single one, and he was around thirty years old at that time. He was an employee. He said, “What is the point of this woman to pursue her study if after that she just would stay home and continue being a housewife? I am of opinion that she just wastes her time, energy, as well as her husband’s money. The case would be different—and more understandable—if she were an employee.”

The main topic was about education, especially about different kinds of learners: someone is either a visual learner, an audio learner, or a kinesthetic learner; or the combination of those three kinds of learners. Since I was not a feminist yet, LOL, I never led the discussion to gender problem.

Apparently that male student of mine didn’t comprehend Abraham Maslow’s idea about pursuing self-actualization need. If he already knew about that, perhaps he never thought that to fulfill this high-order need for women could be in a form of pursuing education to college—a somewhat masculine thing. Maybe he thought that women only wanted to do the so-called feminine things, such as cooking, sewing, and gardening.
You can guess that he would not let his wife pursue high education if she happened to be ‘only’ a housewife.


In the college where I teach, I oftentimes find female students who are more than thirty years old. All of them are employees. People can easily draw a conclusion that they all pursue their education with one sole goal: to enhance their position in their workplace. Higher position mostly means higher salary.

I know some of them are quite good. Some others really have to work hard to follow the material. A few really enjoy the study. Most others find it difficult. Even some of them think it unimportant to attend the classes. They appear only once or twice in one semester. This of course makes me unhappy; moreover if they are not good.

A few weeks ago, one female student of mine pleaded, “Ms. Nana, you know my English is very limited. And I am not young anymore. That’s why it is very difficult for me to grasp the knowledge you share. But you know I am never absent in your classes. If I cannot do the test well, will you give me some adding point from my diligence?”
I really did not have a heart to say, “That is none of my business.” LOL. Even, this academic year, for the first time I let the students open the book during mid-test, because of this ‘special student’. Her classmates are supposed to thank her.

Still, I am unhappy. And I am still expecting one day I will have students—both male and female—who pursue their study in their ‘not young’ age because of their craving in knowledge, just like Knute Axelbrod, one imaginary character in Sinclair Lewis’ short story.

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Idub said...

It depends on the middle-aged women.

Apa yang sebenarnya dia kejar. Kalo hanya untuk gelar saya setuju dengan pria 30 tahun tadi (saya yakin ada yang begini...)

Kalo yang dia kejar adalah pengetahuan, saya tentu saja setuju dengan ibu rumah tangga itu (saya juga yakin ada yan begini...)


A Feminist Blog said...

Dear Idub a.k.a Budi :)
Thank you for the comment.
Memang it depends on those women. But, ga papa juga dong kalo sebagai dosen, aku berharap para mahasiswa itu belajar karena kecintaan mereka pada ilmu pengetahuan? :)