My teaching philosophy is to facilitate learning by emphasizing the critical concepts and to demand more critical thinking from my students to really get a grasp of the concepts. My emphasis is on helping students to learn instead of just pushing my knowledge to them.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: University of New Orleans - Bachelors, Chemistry
Graduate Degree: Georgia Institute of Technology-Main Campus - PHD, Chemistry
mountain biking, motorcycling, hiking, reef keeping, hockey
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
I have always been passionate about learning new things and expanding my experiences in life. I started teaching a couple of years ago because I wanted to contribute my knowledge to the community. I have been working for more than 5 years since I graduated, and I thought that it was time to give back. In the spirit of learning new things, I tackled the task of putting together the course with the lectures and exams. The preparation of the class allowed me to reflect on what my goals were for the class, besides teaching the required material. What did I want my students to get out the class? The first step to answer that, was to understand who my audience was and why they were taking the class. This first part was very important, allowing me to tailor the different learning objectives to something that the students could relate to, in their current or future jobs. Since then, I always take the time to get to know my students and be open and approachable, no matter how big my class is. In teaching, my overarching goal is to give the students the fundamental concepts from which most of chemistry and biology can be understood. Furthermore, I think that it is also essential for my students to learn valuable life skills. I understand that not all of my students are taking the class to become chemists or scientists, but I want to give them the tools to be successful, not only in my class but also in life. I believe that showing your enthusiasm and passion about the subject that you teach can be contagious and pique the curiosity of the more recalcitrant students. I always try to make my class hands-on whenever possible, and to always have examples that they can relate to in their day to day lives. Open interaction in my classroom is always important and controlled. Furthermore, I always challenge my students' answers to push them to understand a concept fully. I always like to think like a 3-year-old who is discovering new things and asks “why,” trying to get a grasp of what is surrounding her. I use this same “technique” to push my students and to really see if they understood the key concepts. My teaching philosophy is to facilitate learning by emphasizing the critical concepts, and to demand more critical thinking from my students to really get a grasp of the concepts. My emphasis is on helping students to learn instead of just pushing my knowledge to them.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Assess the level of understanding of the different concepts to be covered.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
By letting him/her struggle a bit on problems and giving her/him clues on how to solve it.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
By looking at the end goal and what she or he wants to achieve beyond the exam, class, or subject.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I take a different angle to explain the concept and I use analogies to illustrate it.