I am currently an lecturer at the University of Mississippi where I teach both general biology for non-majors and microbiology for pre-health majors (nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, etc...). I love to teach and share my knowledge with those around me.
Undergraduate Degree: SUNY College at Oneonta - Bachelors, Biology, General
Graduate Degree: Western Kentucky University - Masters, Biology (Microbiology)
I enjoy sports, rock climbing, escape rooms, and working in my Microbiology laboratory.
What is your teaching philosophy?
The field of science is a constantly evolving, surrounding us in our everyday life. This makes it necessary for everyone to have at least a basic knowledge of science. While teaching general biology laboratory at a college, I noticed that some students immediately displayed a defeatist, "science is above me" attitude. This saddened me because science is not "above" anyone. Everyone has the capacity to understand even the most basic concepts of science. Each student learns differently, but applying scientific knowledge to their everyday lives gives me the potential to turn those students into fascinated and engaging students. To increase interest, I make an effort to use a variety of methods to show students that science is all encompassing. My visual presentations and hands-on approach allow students to start to see the "big picture," as opposed to straightforward memorization of facts. Though memorization has its place in science, at certain levels, the knowledge gained through application is essential in today's science courses. If a student was to memorize all the muscles in the human body, that would be a great feat. However, not understanding the concepts of how each of those muscles works jointly in everyday life to achieve movement and structure, then that is a failure to teach the student how science applies to everyday life. When students ask questions, I feel a sense of pride in that student, as this allows me as a teacher to clarify a concept as well as possibly answering a question that several other students are too afraid to ask for fear of "asking a dumb question." From the first day of class, I ensure that all of my students understand that there are no dumb questions. I try to provide a positive learning environment in which my students feel comfortable. As I mentioned, science is an ever-evolving field, which requires us as educators to continue to learn and be knowledgeable about current topics and methodology in our field. There are no better ways to learn than from current faculty, professional affiliations, and student feedback. I am a firm believer that student feedback is essential in professional growth. At my current position at a university, I continually use student feedback to better understand what methodologies work best for my students. After each exam, I ask my students ten questions to understand what the class as a whole feels about the methods I employ in the classroom. Depending on their answers, I may slightly change my methods in hopes to engage students as much as possible. My professional and educational experiences have greatly influenced my educational philosophy. Learning new skills, keeping up with current topics in the field, and applying them in the classroom is an ongoing process. My goal for my students is that they learn to apply concepts of biology to everyday life, have a positive experience in my course, and want to continue to learn outside of the classroom. I hope to be an educator that stimulates these ideas within all of my students.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
In a typical first session with a student, I would try to assess prior knowledge of the topic and reinforce previous material to ensure that, as we build on new material, they have the fundamentals necessary to do so.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
There are many types of learning styles. I would happily share the knowledge of those styles that I have learned throughout my career.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Student motivation relies heavily on ensuring the student is learning and understanding the material. If the material being taught is not resonating with the student, then they tend to lose interest. Therefore, my job is to make sure the information is relevant to their own lives.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
There are multiple ways to learn each topic. If one way does not work, then taking a different approach to learning that material is necessary.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I recommend the student slow the pace at which they read and only read small sections at a time. This will also help with retention.