As technologies and the sciences that drive them are becoming more prevalent every day I believe that, whether or not students pursue studies in STEM, physics and math education prepares students with an important set of skills everyone will find relevant and, with some clarification, anyone can enjoy. Physics gives artists balance and dimension, provides programmers a basis for simulation, grants engineers the ability to solve any problem in the universe, and, naturally, makes the world go round. Even when stepping out of physics, mastery of a subject – any subject, empowers students with critical thinking and problem solving skills that will get them anywhere they want to go.
Unfortunately, the subject of physics carries a notion of preconceived difficulty among many students and, as a result, students are reluctant to learn or are filled with self doubt. It is my hope to clear the air of some of the myths and to teach in a way that each students' own curiosity drives the learning process. We are all life long students and, in my experience, learning happens during those “aha!” moments. So while passively engaging students with lectures certainly has its place in the classroom, actively engaging students through actual problem solving, labs, and thinking exercises is where they have the chance to ask and even answer the right questions.
The art of teaching is as complex as students are diverse in their needs and interests. With a well planned combination of assessment standards, classroom management, and appropriate individual and group challenges, it is a teacher's responsibility to ensure every student is adequately prepared for the world of tomorrow. Utilizing everything at my disposal and spending time with students, I wish to instill the same sense of wonder and drive I get from everything around us, from the rules that make the world tick and for the sense of logical progression you gain from knowing them.
In defining my purpose for teaching physics, I've only reminded myself how passionate I am about the subject, reinforced its importance, and its eye opening wonders that I aim to share with students by helping them build on the scientific process and their critical thinking skills. I believe that the methodologies behind teaching successfully are as dynamic as the content itself, in that it's always changing. With that said, I intend to employ research-proven strategies, assessment tools, and to individually cater every student's course of study.
Western Governors University - Bachelors, Physics
Western Governors University - Current Grad Student, Math Education
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
In a student's first session I may typically assess and gauge where the student stands in familiarity with the content they're struggling with in order to decide on the best place to start helping them make sense of things!
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I believe, with the world wide web being as prevalent as it is, that learning how to learn is an important skill that I constantly encourage students develop so that they can research, analyze, and -- most importantly, practice anything they set their mind to.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Positive reinforcement, keeping track of visible progress, and making material relatable are tools I use to ensure student motivation.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I've dealt with many students who struggle with reading comprehension over many different reasons and I've helped develop individualized aid to every one of them whether it was additional modeling, illustrations, verbal reinforcement, or vocabulary practice and adjustment.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Having more student-centered activities, where I don't just lecture for an hour over but, instead, ask probing questions and have the students learn through practice and inquiry.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
We've all been students before and we all know a lot of subjects get a little, well, boring. I always to try and come up with the most practical yet relevant examples of what someone is learning in order to keep things interesting. Whether it's some trivia, a gamified version of the subject, tying it to their interests, or even coming up with out-there superhero physics problems I believe learning doesn't have to always be a grind.