College has that mish-mash faculty members of various personalities. There are those lively professors who treated us as friends, buddies, or children. There are those who acted real strict! There are those who are indistinctly the same, very alike with each other – not bold, not boring even. You can tell it, the moment they enter the room. Stereotypical.
But there are those who brushed the sleepliness away from the class and delivered the class discussion to the point of challenging our minds, the way we think, the way we explain further; and practically testing our eloquence without straying away from the questions, because no one knows when his name will be called throughout the discussion. These are the characteristics of my favorite professor. He brings us to experience how Socrates may be teaching his scholars. He’ll be the one you’ll reserve swear words and curse behind his back. True. That’s Dr. Augusto Mendoza for me.
He is a short, well, he’s kinda taller than me. He had gray hair. Wise-looking eyes. He always carry this one black bucket bag, sometimes his heavy briefcase, containing his most precious class record. He always have a textbook on hand. You may feel awkward at the beginning – after a long time not seeing him, but, when conversation waxed on upon conversation of various ideas and subjects, you’ll feel comfortable and good again. There’s nothing grand in his attire everyday. He usually wears his stripe polo shirt. Remarkable. And our laughing stock was his pair of Winnie The Pooh socks.
He was my professor in Philosophy. Boy, he was good! He turns the recitation as exciting as can be. No kidding, his compelling questions make me think hard, and compete with my classmates in reciting. He is both funny and authorial in his words and conducts. He left us hanging and then again, he will ask a follow-up question. After I wrapped my answer with last words, he would say, “Aha!?” On a tone he uses that makes sense between surprised and unimpressed. But your eagerness to impress him challenges you to the next recitation. Tell me, you wouldn’t want to bore your professor, right? ;) He is witty, beyond me. Or anyone of BSE, at least, that’s what I think.
One time, on his class scheduled after lunch, he prepared a 10-item quiz 5 or 10 minutes after he walked to our room. My result wasn’t good. I got a 4. Wow. Then professor Mendoza says to the class: “Tingnan niyo ang epekto ng pag-inom ng isang bote ng gatas! Hindi nakapasa! Ha ha!” “Kasi.. kasi, nakita ko si Gennon sa canteen, yun ang iniinom niya.” I was ashamed. I was feeling good. (A few kids caught his attention at that time of the semester.) In the end, Philosophy class isn’t really boring, is it?
He was my teacher in an Educ. course, too. He made us memorize lessons, then one meeting, he will ask us individually, tell him the definition of this and that, what do you mean by this or that, how can you apply this in future, what did you learn… etc. etc. I even recorded one of his lecture on teacher’s item number. He is downright funny. He made us understood his lesson, and made sure we got the point of everything he discussed.
Students my age wanted him not to teach us again. Professor Mendoza was sneaky, a smart aleck kind of elder professor. He tugs at your laughing heart but he gets to your nerves cursing how in the world he got the position in the first place. And these kids, seemed to be heard by our objective Vice President for Academic Affairs who always sit down on her office, or the dean herself, who is proactive and student-centered.
Towards the end of that last term I was his student, I wondered if he’ll be teaching us once again, or will he be at school when I graduate, or we graduate. A pack of boisterous, curious, frivolous and happy Education students. Considering the teacher-evaluation going on before we plunge on summer vacation, I doubt he’ll have a passing grade; but, all the best.
I never saw my favorite professor since. Maybe he’s off being a master teacher at some high school I don’t know. Or patiently waiting for his share of pension. I have no idea. People come, people go. I didn’t ask for his contact number, too. But I hoped, I had really hoped he’d be one of those professors in graduation gowns congratulating us in our near-future commencement exercises.