Successful physical science instructors teach their students much more than just fundamental scientific information and methodology. They help develop the students’ ability to solve problems and think independently. Great teachers also impart some insight into the fact that learning is a never-ending process and the analytical process can be a joyful endeavor. It is my goal to accomplish these things with my students, while providing them with a firm foundation in chemistry.
The teaching philosophy I incorporate is based upon the following principles:
Knowledge: A professor must be knowledgeable and competent in the subject.
Communication: Knowledge of a discipline is futile if it cannot be communicated effectively to students. The most important skill a professor needs is to be a good communicator.
Awareness: To be effective in the classroom, a professor needs to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each student in the class, which includes an understanding of each student's individual learning style.
Adaptation: The professor must adapt to the different learning styles present in his or her classroom by offering instruction that includes a variety of learning strategies in its presentation.
Realization: Often chemists graduate with no concept of what it will take once they are in a chemical setting. The task of training new chemists falls on the undergraduate institution. I prepare my students by using my training that I gained from industry to expose students to the expectations they will face as young professionals in the private sector.
Relationship: I make it a point to let students learn about me as a person, as a husband, and a father. I want them to understand that although chemistry is very important to me, it is only a small part of my life. Once they see me as a person like them (just older), they can trust me. Once that trust is established, they feel comfortable, are ready to learn, and open to new ideas.
Investment: The greatest investment I hope to make as a professor is in the students. The best “teachers” are those that have a genuine interest in the success of their students.