Professor Interview: Talmac
Last semester I met up with La Salle's new law professor in his office at Garrigues. Talmac is a 32 years old Spanish/Catalan lawyer, who also Speaks English, French and German. He has always been very interested in languages, as well as knowing, thinking and trying to figure things out. He likes to see things from different perspectives and to always dig deeper into every topic to get a better understanding of the various sides of an issue.
Before Talmac decided to study law, he obtained a degree in philosophy. As a part of his philosophy degree he studied abroad in France where he realized that he would like to gain more experience abroad. After finishing the philosophy degree, he was not certain how the education would help him making money. His mother was a lawyer, so he decided that he would also like to study law. He had some friends studying in the UK where he also really liked the universities, so did some research on law degrees and programs in the UK. After some time he discovered a degree he found very interesting; it was a combination of UK and French law where the students would have to stay two years in each of the countries. Talmac applied to several of the universities offering this degree, but most universities did not accept him, as he was neither English nor French. Eventually, Essex University in Colchester accepted him.
When I asked Talmac if he had any strategy to ensure that he would obtain good results during his degrees, he admitted that he used to be a rather bad student, especially during his first degree. However, as he was a bit older when he started the second degree, he wanted to get it right. He never followed any strategy because he believes that if you like something and find it interesting, you will work hard; when you work hard for something it will be useful later, you will get a good result, and it will be profitable. He believes that you have to be passionate about what you are doing, and said that, “If you don’t like what you are doing, just don’t do it.” During his studies he did not really focus on the results, he rather focused on the way to get there. He said that if you just want to get there, you typically have to sacrifice for it, and he believes that sacrifices are seldom worth it. He realizes that they may be necessary, but one should always try to make sure it will be fun!
Last semester was Talmac’s first time teaching at La Salle. He had experience from teaching is England, where he taught at some seminars and held lectures for companies. However, the job at La Salle is the first time he is teaching a full course at a university by himself. Talmac always had a desire to teach because he found it very fun to share his passions. He compared giving lectures to music and said that it is just like if you really enjoy a song and you want to share this song with other people.
But for Talmac, teaching is also about seeing people. Sometimes people don’t realize how good they are, or how far they can get. He, as an external observer, can see and believe in this potential. He tries to convey this message to his students and views this as an important part of his job; to make the students realize their potential, to let them know that you believe in them, and that you believe they can do it.
As a professor Talmac told me that he has two main goals. The first goal is to make sure that the students do not get bored during the class and the second is to make sure that the students are comfortable. For him, student participation is a very important part of each lecture and he believes that comfortable students foster an interactive setting. He tries to guide the students through the class, to make them interested in where he is leading them, and to make sure they are comfortable getting there. He also tries to treat all his students fairly.
Talmac thinks it is great to be a professor and finds it very rewarding. The worst part for him is when he has to drag the students through the lecture, or when he sees that they are getting bored. As he puts so much effort into each lecture it can be tough at times, but apart from this he sees very few negative aspects of teaching. When his students are interested and participate, he really enjoys it, and he views teaching as fun experience. He also told me that he learns a lot, both about the subject and from talking to people. In the end, it all comes down to communication and Talmac revealed that he thinks he learns even more than what his students do during the lectures.
As I already mentioned, Talmac is also a lawyer. When I asked him what the best and the worst aspects about being a lawyer were, he found it more difficult to answer. After some reflection, he told me that the most interesting part is when he works on a really complicated case that requires extensive planning. It involves thinking, decision-making, coordination and strategies, as well as mapping of strengths and weaknesses. Then, when the scenario turns out exactly as planned, it is a great pleasure for him. Winning a complicated case gives Talmac a great feeling of victory and when he gets to make people happy at the same time he finds it absolutely great. On the other side, the profession involves a lot of pressure and for Talmac the worst situations are when he makes huge efforts to lead things his way and to obtain the best possible results for his clients, and this effort is not realized.
I also asked Talmac if he is someone else, apart from being a lawyer and a professor. He told me that when you are in your mid-thirties, your professional life is typically very wide and it takes up so much space that there is very little time left for “you as a person.” Therefore, he has learned to devote his time to the things he considers to be basic in life; to spend time with the people he loves. He also likes to listen to music, to go to the cinema, to go out and to eat well. In addition, he loves baseball and he played it himself for many years.
All in all, Talmac tries to be a good person and to have a fun life, and we are very happy to have him as a professor here at La Salle.