Call sign - Professor: as a teacher from Rivne region reads couples from the front
Since the beginning of the full-scale invasion of Russian troops into Ukraine, Serhiy Rudko, a lecturer at the Ostroh Academy National University in the Rivne region, has joined the Armed Forces. Candidate of Historical Sciences, Associate Professor, Head of the Department of Regional Studies of the University has been working at the university for 19 years.
Now the man is defending the south of Ukraine, and in the breaks between the shelling he is lecturing and taking tests. Despite having an associate professor's degree, he was assigned the call sign Professor. He told the public how he combines war and science.
Was it difficult to decide to join the Armed Forces?
On February 24, I woke up in the morning, felt some anxiety, saw hundreds of unread messages in one of the Telegram publics and realized that the war had begun.
I gathered my thoughts and realized that I would do more in the Armed Forces than in the university. I uploaded all the lectures to Google Drive, filled in the topics of all the couples in the magazine just in case, found out which of my colleagues could replace me, agreed on who would be my head of the Department of Regional Studies during my absence.
There was a huge queue at the military registration and enlistment office. An employee of the military registration and enlistment office came out and told everyone to go to the square and they started recording there. Those who already had their belongings were taken away immediately. The rest was recorded. We signed up, were given a summons and told to wait two days for a call.
I even managed to look on the Internet for what to take with me, because I don't go to war every day. I packed my backpack and came there on the third day, in the evening we were sent to the landfill.
Were there any fears?
When I went to the military registration and enlistment office, there were no fears. They appeared when you actually hear explosions nearby. Even a few kilometers. But people get used to everything and over time it also goes away.
What worries you the most is that you won't see your loved ones, you won't be able to do what you like best, travel.
I was asked at the landfill who I was at the university. They say: "Associate Professor". And in them the word "associate professor" is either associated with something criminal, or for people who do not work in science, this word means nothing. And they say, "Oh, no, you're going to be a Professor." That's what most people used to say about me. That's my nickname and stuck.
What course did you read?
He kept one course "Travel on your own: principles and life hacks for a successful trip without a travel agency". This is an author's course, where I realize my hobby to travel and share all the practical skills in it.
The lectures started when I was at the training ground. When I was released for two days, I recorded lectures all day, which I posted on my YouTube channel. I did this so that when I couldn't go online, they could use the recorded lectures. I recorded two more lectures in the military unit, where I moved to the service.
At the seminars, students did assignments, defended them, wrote essays, final projects. It was not difficult, during the pandemic we have already prepared and got used to the latest technologies, Moodle system and new techniques.
Teaching as "related work"
Communicating with couples encouraged me. It's like a breath of fresh air: it's as if you're returning to civilian life and distracting yourself from the war. He told the students after each couple: such euphoria happens to me only when I travel. It really helped me, because in 19 years I realized that I chose this profession correctly. That's why I can't teach.
Students are constantly writing words of support and wishes for a quick victory and return to learning in the classroom.
Even when there were no couples at the university, I read couples to my colleagues at the training ground. In the evening after class, they said, "Well, Professor, what are we going to talk about today? Come on, give a lecture." So I tried to realize my related work.
How was the workplace organized?
The biggest problem was the Internet. It was hard to find 3G or 4G, so I had to squat under a tree, under a hill, look for a connection at the edge of the dugout, reach out with my phone to catch a network and read a couple.
My academic tablet, from which I was making steam, was damaged by a rocket arriving at the test site. Fortunately, there were no major losses.
It was more difficult to organize the work process when certain responsibilities arose. This is an army, and you can't say that I have a couple right now, so if you have to, you have to go to the post or to the guard. But I tried to adjust the schedule, if I didn't have time - I threw links to lectures on YouTube.
What is most lacking at the front?
Probably - freedom, the ability to do what you want. Get on the bike, ride somewhere on the weekend. And, for example, I didn't like chocolate with nuts at home and I didn't eat it like that, and at the front I always want to eat chocolate and something sweet. I want something you didn't appreciate at home. Most likely - a feeling of home comfort, something like that from childhood. So I have the opportunity to eat something sweet - so I'm home.
The bike is still missing. I really like to ride it, such feelings are not enough. There is a lack of relatives who can be seen every day, with whom you can relax, relatives, family.
What do you expect from victory?
I hope that the victory will bring some internal changes, reforms and not only in society - in the minds of change. I see that they happen in some people, but some do not. Or their war probably doesn't affect them and they don't change. I hope for the growth of Ukraine's status in the world, the growth of the country's authority, greater recognition of Ukrainians abroad. So that we are not compared to the Russians. This, of course, many have already understood.
I am waiting for reconstruction after the victory, return to work at the university, work with students, travel and new scientific works. And at least add those that I started and did not have time to finish. I want to wish my compatriots patience. Everything will be fine with us, we will definitely win.