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Dr Milen Jissov: Being a teacher

Marginalia
Dr Milen Jissov, Associate Director of General Education Office, and Mr Henry E, College Librarian, have been named an excellent teacher and excellent educator of Zhuhai respectively this year. Both awards have been conferred by the Zhuhai Municipal People's Government. Here Dr Jissov tells his story.

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Receiving the award for outstanding teacher of Zhuhai is an immense honour. I feel exceedingly happy—like a student who has gotten an A in an extremely difficult course.

I remember that, when I was applying to university years ago, I saw a photo of a history teacher in a shiny U.S. college catalogue. A statement by him stood underneath the picture: “Teaching is not a job,” it said; “it’s my life.” At that time, I had no idea that, one day, I would become a teacher. Still less did I intend to be a historian. Now, I have become both. But most importantly, for me, too, teaching has become my life.

There are, I think, two things that have guided that life. The first is very simple: love of teaching. More than any other profession, teaching is a labour of love. Without it, decent teaching is impossible. My second guide has been a profound respect for the Student. The Student is the centre of the world of education. The Student is the reason why teachers do what they do. Without Students, there would be no schools. Without the Student, there would be no teacher.

When I applied for my teaching position at UIC four years ago, I did not know much about the College. And what I found here surpassed my most optimistic expectations. I discovered right away that UIC is a great place to work. Its most wonderful aspect is its students. Our students are motivated, ambitious, diligent, and, of course, extremely intelligent. Working with them has been a privilege and an honour. Their thirst for knowledge and their intelligence have been a powerful source of inspiration for me. I have been exceedingly happy to have seen my students go on to pursue graduate studies at some of the best universities on the planet. Their achievements often remind me that my humble work does make a difference in the world. I wish them the best of success in everything that they do!

I would like to dedicate my teaching award to my wife, Katya. Two years ago, she left her own life in Europe behind and joined my teaching life in Zhuhai. Her kind patience daily makes that life—now our common teaching life—both deeply rewarding and deeply happy.

Editor: Deen He
(Reprinted from MPRO's First Step in Four, with special thanks to the ELC)

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