Sherry Gonida interviewed Maria Elisa A. Borja for Teacher’s Appreciation Week.
Sherry Gonida (SG): Why did you choose to be a teacher/professor?
Maria Borja (MB): I chose to be a teacher because it was my calling/vocation. I can’t imagine myself being anything else. Even when I’m not teaching a class, I feel that I’ll always teach in some other way or another.
SG: What do you love most about teaching?
MB: What I love most about teaching is that I can help inspire students to be their best selves.
SG: What is the best memory you’ve had in a classroom?
MB: My best memories of teaching have to do with working with small groups, especially holding retreats for my students.
SG: What do you do when you aren’t teaching?
MB: It’s hard to imagine that teachers have a life outside of teaching, but we do. We’re just ordinary people. In my younger days, I have gone rappelling and scuba diving, as well as enjoyed partying almost nightly with friends. Now, my life revolves around my sons and as a family, we eat out and watch movies. It’s a slower life but also a meaningful one. Aside from that, I hang out with friends and attend a prayer group.
SG: What valuable lesson did you learn from a teacher? Who inspired you to teach?
MB: I can’t think of one particular lesson but I have been inspired by many teachers, especially here at the Ateneo. They taught me how a teacher can inspire their students. Stuff that I wouldn’t normally find interesting comes to life when the teacher’s enthusiasm rubs off on me. From Fr. Roche to Fr. Balchand, Fr. Leonard to Dr. Rofel Brion, there are many other teachers who have inspired me. The way they taught is what I try to use in class, and by WAY, I mean the same enthusiasm and excitement.
SG: What is one thing that you want all your students to learn?
MB: I want my students to just get excited about learning itself. I want them to be inspired by what I have said so that they would want to know more.