Katherine Tsang interviewed Ma’am Nathania Chua for Teachers’ Appreciation Week.
Katherine Tsang (KT): Why did you choose to be a professor? What inspired you to teach?
Nathania Chua (NC): I never really considered teaching right until the end of my senior year and graduation, the ultimate crossroad for a lost and confused twenty-something such as myself. I actually had a solid offer from a company, but I just couldn’t bring myself to sign the contract and join the corporate life. Tipong, nanginginig kamay ko just holding the contract kasi kahit gaano ka-ganda ng offer, labag lang talaga siya sa kalooban ko. It took a whole lot of discernment and figuring out my “why” but I realized that while I wasn’t the best undergrad student, I was always excited to learn and expand my perspective with interesting ideas. So many of my profs back in college were rock stars in their own field, and I admired their generosity and humility in sharing themselves with students who could one day be even more amazing than they already were. Just the thought of that potential excited me. I wanted to be part of that. I still ask myself everyday that “why” when it comes to teaching, but I guess in asking, you can’t help but live out that question.
KT: What do you love most about teaching?
NC: I really love how teaching is a two-way thing, with students learning from their teachers and vice versa. It’s a constant sharing of self that you can’t help but grow as your students do so as well. Teaching is an exercise of generosity in giving, but also in receiving. It’s honestly such a joy when you see your students learn and apply a lesson outside the classroom and also develop an “I can do it” attitude that will take them further in life. Little do you know, as their teacher, you’re also challenging yourself to do the same.
KT: What is the best memory you’ve had in the classroom?
NC: I’ve already had so many memorable moments in the short time that I’ve been teaching so far, but this sem I had an “Edi Wow” stamp made so I could mark perfect quizzes with it. I got really surprised with how receptive my students were to it! Every time I return checked quizzes, I see all sorts of reactions—from students screaming “YASSS!” to students with faces na mukha talagang nalugi kasi nagkulang sila ng isang point para perfect, all because of that stamp. I can’t help but laugh because it’s always so amusing for me to see how they react upon receiving their quizzes, “Edi Wow“—stamped or not.
KT: What do you do when you aren’t teaching?
NC: I’m pretty much on Twitter 24/7. I try to go out and have a life, work out (I’m currently loving TRX and Insanity by Shaun T), watch concerts and do other cool-sounding activities, but I’ll probably just end up tweeting about it.
KT: Were there any notable teachers or professors in the past that have significantly impacted you? In what way?
NC: I always looked up to so many of my profs not just because of how brilliantly they talked about the lesson in class, but because they were simply amazing human beings, hands down. Aside from having great mentors in JGSOM, I took classes under legends like Fr. Dacanay, Sir Bobby Guevarra, Sir Eduardo Calasanz, and so many more, who all taught me rigor in my academics and learning beyond the classroom, but perhaps more importantly, to live a life being my most loving self in service of others. I was always scheduling consultations with my teachers not to clarify the lesson but to ask them, “Ma’am/Sir, ano na gagawin ko sa buhay ko?” I remember one particular afternoon with Sir “Eddieboy,” I was just going on for about an hour with all my problems and worries and he just said, “Hay nako Nat, just let go! ‘Di mo hawak ang lahat.” Those words have stuck with me since.
KT: At the end of the day, what is the one thing you want all your students to learn?
NC: Since I teach a business statistics class, we do a lot of number crunching and quantitative thinking. While data helps us make sound decisions, ultimately, it isn’t everything in life. Like how that Coldplay song goes, numbers and figures can’t quite speak as loudly as our hearts. Have the guts to push the boundaries of what you know and can learn further, but don’t forget to be kind, both to you and others.