Teaching is an absolute privilege. For me, the classroom offers the possibility to empower the students by means of cultural acknowledgement and the power of writing. An individual who writes is above all an individual who has read, reflected and quantified the importance of personal experience within the academic framework.
To truly understand the scientific process, students should engage in a meaningful research experience during their college career. For most Biology majors, this becomes a life-changing experience. This excitement of discovery needs to be cultivated and rewarded. One of my aspirations at UT Tyler has been to provide these opportunities for students to help them reach their goals.
I try to take every opportunity and privilege to impact the lives of countless students by conveying my excitement about learning so that they can thrive at the maximum potential and enjoy flying with their own wings without caring only about their grades.
As a scholar of U.S. History whose research and teaching specializations confront the impact of race, class and gender on constructions of American identities, I often find myself helping students navigate complex terrain. I consider myself successful when students leave my classes with more questions than answers and are better equipped to approach historical knowledge as well as present-day challenges with depth and sophistication.
My favorite thing about teaching is the "aha!" moment in the classroom or laboratory, when student understanding and excitement are at their peak. I am honored to be a part of the process through which students can achieve their goals. Watching them succeed in the pursuit of their dreams is incredibly rewarding.
My approach to the teaching of History is motivated by a deep desire to prepare students to be global citizens. I believe historical thinking, namely the act of imagining how things were, and how they might be, is a necessary skill for a compassionate citizenry.
I believe that with enthusiasm and energy, you can make any topic interesting, even mathematical models with scary-looking formulas. Focus on making the material as clear as possible. Treat the students fairly and respect their intelligence. In return you will get the greatest reward of all: students who come to class to learn and not just to have a good grade.
I reject the dichotomy between teaching and research. My teaching incorporates aspects of my research and my research benefits in innumerable ways from what I learn in the classroom. Such an interpenetration of research and teaching is, to my mind, the great promise of a premier research institution: a communal space in which students and faculty work collaboratively on intellectual and social problems.
Ask any of my students and likely they'll tell you that I don't hide my glee when I am teaching about an idea that I consider particularly amazing. While my students may sometimes roll their eyes at my zeal, I think my enthusiasm for the mathematics can't help but rub off on the students in at least some small way.
For me, teaching is not about the teacher, it is about the student. I must help my students, future Special Education teachers, reach a place where they look at the faces in their classroom and see the individuals not the disabilities.
I love teaching students about the things that will impact their lives -- to talk to them about their rights and responsibilities as citizens and residents is powerful for me and for them.
Every class or group of students is composed of unique attitudes, motivators and interests, and the challenge for me is to create the optimum learning environment for each kaleidoscope of students. This allows me to learn the most about my students, and to create a teaching strategy that will improve their learning skills and their willingness to learn new concepts. If I have done this by the end of the semester, I feel I have succeeded!
Much of my philosophy and approach involves getting my students to feel, know and believe that they can indeed change the lives of individuals through their teaching. In learning to problem solve and practice powerful ideas in my classes through interactions with students and teachers from local schools and communities, they soon discover they can be agents of change and that it is possible to teach all students.
As an educator, my mission is to make mechanical engineering as exciting for the students as it is for me. I strive to build intellectual excitement by engaging students' minds via their senses, not only their physical senses but also their sense of purpose. Hands-on activities and projects, reflective writing exercises and integration of research into the classroom have all been useful techniques for challenging students and encouraging them to surpass their own expectations for the course.
My role as a design educator is to facilitate a climate where students can develop patterns of rigorous physical engagement and precise cognitive practice. This condition brought to the classroom builds confidence in the students ability to break down complex problems, reposition assumptions, create clear intentions and passionately craft skillful resolutions.
When students realize they have the capacity to conceptualize, to design, implement and draw their own conclusions, from their experiences, they develop confidence that inspires further exploration. This process also encourages students to pursue careers that they had not previously considered possible.
I am fortunate for the opportunity to facilitate the learning of such talented and highly creative students. With unique perspectives and interesting approaches to problem solving, each student has so much to offer the class. By spending our scarce class time collaboratively working through complex problems and sharing diverse opinions about course theories, we learn so much more together than we can solely working independently.