Teaching

Philosophy

 “The mind is not a vessel that needs filling, but wood the needs igniting.”                                                  
                                                    -Plutarch (46-120AD)

All throughout my secondary education, I was a successful student. I took every Honors and Advanced Placement class that my school offered, and I achieved top marks in every class. However, that was not because I enjoyed every subject, but I enjoyed learning and achievement. During this time, I took Advanced Chemistry and a passion was born inside me. Chemistry made sense to me. I found a simplicity and an order that drove me to major in chemistry in my undergraduate studies. I loved my major so much that I accelerated, taking as many chemistry classes as I could, and I finished a year early with only two classes left to complete during my final semester. One of those classes, Biochemistry, reignited my passion for learning. During this course, I found that the simple and ordered chemistry that I learned in high school could be expanded to explain all biological processes, and that made even more sense to me. That passion and the guidance of my major advisor led me to pursue my PhD in biochemistry. When any student is engaged in their discipline and when they are mesmerized by their passion, learning can be achieved past the point of being able to memorize information

Therefore, teaching must also exude the same passion that can allow students to truly master the discipline. The role of a passionate teacher is to create a student-centered environment that allows the individual student to be the driving force in their education. Joe Ruhl summarized the characteristics that allow him to run a student-centered classroom where his students are able develop a passion for the subject. These are choice, collaboration, critical thinking, communication, creativity, and care. By giving my students an environment based on these principles, I can share my passion of learning, and that passion is able to excite my students to achieve. Student-centered classrooms are focused on the individual students working through the information, not the teacher lecturing. Lecture seat time can be replaced by in class exercises, discussion, and projects that have students focus on an aspect of their learning that increase their competency and confidence in their abilities.

In my experience as a teacher during my graduate studies, I have developed a facilitator teaching style, in which I am able to have personal interactions with individual students or small groups to master knowledge. This allows students to have more independence and logically invent the concepts from basic information while under the guidance of the teacher. During a large undergraduate biochemistry course, I worked with the instructor of record to develop ways to identify students that would need help during the semester to understand the material. I also developed review exercises designed like Process Oriented Guided Inquiry (POGIL) lessons for my students to use to develop an understanding of the information learned during the course. This allows me to teach by being a coach, and a mentor, as well as inspiring my students to become passionate about learning.

Experience

Virginia Polytechnic and State University, Blacksburg, VA
Biochemistry Department Teaching Assistant                                        Spring 2017-present
• Tutored student on in class material for review, increasing knowledge, and in preparation for examinations
• Designed and graded quizzes
• Assisted in writing questions for exams
• Proctored normal and extended time exams for students throughout the semester

Virginia Wesleyan University, Virginia Beach, VA
General Chemistry Teaching Assistant                                                      Fall 2015-Spring 2016
• Taught students as a guest instructor
• Designed and graded weekly quizzes
• Assisted in implementation and guidance of self-guided in class exercises for general chemistry
College and STEM Program Tutor                                                               Fall 2013-Spring 2016
• Instructed students to help improve academic performance in college biology, chemistry, and physics courses
• Provided feedback to students using positive reinforcement to build confidence in students’ academic ability
• Identified poorly performed students and provided supplemental tutoring support
• Developed learning strategies to meet student’s academic needs