A Great Teacher (2nd Day Class With Joseph Tong, Ph.D)

After the first day that was impressed me by the great syllabus, the second day was about Mr Joseph Tong character. Im not the student type who write all the time about what my teacher is saying. I rather listen, watch his mimic, gesture, and capture unique details such as the words he’d chosen, the story he is telling and how he react to his student responses. I don’t really care about the syllabus anymore, I have plan for it later, by myself. But that time, Mr Joseph Tong presence is the most important thing in the world. I even take a note in my syllabus, how long he need to explain a topic. Is any topic he is likely to explain more than other topics? Its compelling to learn from his choices. Slowly, I started to read his preferences, his style, his personality and finally, his character in a big picture, well I don’t have enough times to went deeply though.
These three words came across in my mind about Mr Joseph Tong: Inspiration, Charisma and Passion to teach. I know I don’t have enough space due of this essay’s limitation to write all my impression, but I do want to pour out my feeling about the second day.
One of the key point of a great teacher is “can he inspiring his student?”. Some of the students already knew the topic that the teacher chose, so this kind of students need something else to learn from their students. It could be real life stories, original quote, problems that lead to a decision making, or others. Hence, a great teacher must be prepare more than just the topics. He must be talk lively in the box, sometimes went out from the box, read the student’s boredom, finding an escape door to another green pastures, and fresh water. Sometime its about timing, sometime about keyword, joke, game, any many more. And Mr.Joseph Tong, had it all. He came in our class at 76 years old, unfortunately I met him not at his best. But watching his talk at 76 years old with all that qualities, was impressed me a lot. Simple example, He never came late, always ontime, with nice smile. He love to share his experiences, he love to laugh, gave questions, answer unpredictably, working smarly to make the class keep enthusiast, and working hardly against his phycial limitation. Thus spake, Mr Joseph Tong had inspiring me.
Olivia Fox has written a very good book titled “The Charisma Myth”. Mr Joseph Tong has this “charisma”. According to Oliva’s book, Mr Joseph has ‘focus charisma’ type. He is a live present tense with his presence. He has power thru his words and very confidence about himself. He talk freely, which is so entertaining in my opinion. He admit his plus and also his minus point. Hes at a state that we can ask anything and he will response with brave heart.
His passion about teaching can be seen easily. One time, suddenly he’s stop talk and when I watched he’d closed his eyes, I knew he’s tired. The students started to let him rest a while. While still sit at his chair, he’s took his nap. That’s really a moment to remember. Indeed inspiring, and share us about his passion to teach. After about ten minutes he ‘woke up’ and start speaks again. A touching moment to see a great teacher with passionate heart like him, try hard to manage his physical condition.


Dr. Ronny Sucahyo

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