By Carla Hazarian
LAU Tribune staff
Currently finishing his last semester at LAU, Fouad Bocti is an education major with a minor in philosophy and English. What makes his student life a little different from that of his peers is that he is the only male in his department.
“Yeah, I don’t think this is the most popular career path with the male student body,” Bocti laughed.
There was a sense of casualness about him when he talked. Wearing flip flops and worn blue jeans, he grew a gentle little beard, while the hair on top of his head stuck out in all directions.
Bocti explained that, while studying here, he noticed that most male students are interested in business and other career paths known to pay better salaries.
“I’m not saying this is a fact but I do think most people are aware that teaching at a high school level doesn’t pay very much,” Boch said. “I chose this career based on intellectual pursuit.”
“Knowledge is the only true wealth,” he added. “To know and understand is what I seek in life.”
Education was not apparently Bocti’s immediate choice upon his graduation from high school. The young man started as an English major, switched to anthropology, and even tried marine biology at a university in the United States.
But after switching specializations so many times, he realized that it was the quest for knowledge that intrigued him the most. “I realized I just wanted to learn about as many things as possible and found that choosing education would open the door to many academic career paths ahead of me,” he said.
Bocti said that he would like to travel the world and learn from the people he would meet. “What better way to do that than freelance teaching?” he asked, as excitement brightened his face.
The young man’s grandfather was a well-known instructor of mathematics at the International College and the American University of Beirut, while his mother works as an education counselor for the United Nations, and was based in East Timor for a number of years. “They also heavily influenced my choices,” Bocti explained.
Despite his obvious interest in a nomadic lifestyle, Bocti would want to settle down one day. “I eventually want to get my masters and hopefully teach at a university level,” he said. “At first I will only be able to teach at a secondary level so I want to enjoy that for a while until it’s time to take the next big step.”
Last summer, Bocti traveled to Germany where he taught English through Accelingua, a large ESL (English as a second language) company that trains freelance teachers.
“It was my first teaching experience, they were all adults so I don’t quite know what to expect from teaching at a high school level,” he said. “I am actually excited about working with kids. I think it’s so important that a teacher encourages his students to question reality and think for themselves.”
Mr. Thabian and Mr. Calhoun are two instructors who played an important role in Bocti’s life. They taught him how to think critically, and to recognize that things were not always as they seemed.
Bocti’s choice to study education at LAU was influenced by his teachers as well as his parents.
He considers himself lucky for having a family that supports his choices. His father runs his own company and not once did he pressure his son to go into the family business.
“I feel that because I have been so fortunate and have had all these opportunities,” he said. “It has made me less scared to do something that I truly have a passion for, and not because this is the safe life choice to make.”