Aly Yap (2002) - FAME Features : AcadeME

Aly Yap (BSME 2002) pursued a career in teaching because he wanted to do something that wasn’t as stressful as going corporate. He has since learned that excellence in teaching is not enough in the academe; having a PhD is also important if you want to advance.

Why did you choose a career in education?

My decision to teach was really a decision to rest after 4 grueling years of ME. Instead of being a bum, I wanted to do something that was not as stressful as going corporate, so I decided to teach for just 1 year then go corporate after. But I guess you can say I “got stuck” in Ateneo for almost 20 years already.

What challenges did you encounter and how were you able to overcome them?

Aside from the usual challenge of handling rude and difficult students, another challenge is dealing with their equally difficult parents, specially when they bring lawyers to the table. To be able to handle these difficult parents, I always make sure that whatever I do will always be reasonable. It will always be a mixture of compassion and strictness, so that if and when parents do come into play, all I have to do is to show this to them. In the end, if a parent is extra difficult, then I just let the dean handle him/her 🙂

In the academic setting in the Philippines, one also has to be ready to accept that monetary compensation will be one of the least factors in your decision to become a teacher, more so to stay in the academe. I had a student before who, after working in P&G and Unilever for 2 years, decided the corporate world wasn’t for him and decided to teach full time in Ateneo. He confided to me that for the first few months, he was a bit depressed and the main driver of this slight depression was the 80% pay cut.

There was also a time in my life that I thought of leaving the academe. One of my friends who is working in a big FMCG company jokingly told me that he technically could hire me and offer me 4 times my salary then. Napaisip talaga ako nun! :))

What advice can you give young ME students and grads?

When I entered Ateneo to teach, I thought all I had to do was learn the theory and teach it to the students. Eventually, I learned that if one wants to become a dean or be well known in academic circles, then one must first have a PhD. I’d like to invite all members of FAME to try out a career in teaching. You may not be able to afford to take a full-time position, but teaching part-time will always be an option. The wealth of experience of ME graduates in the corporate world is a valuable resource for the school and the ME program!

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