I find teaching much more rewarding than I ever expected earlier in my career. However, as someone who spent more than a decade in post-secondary education, I am aware that there is little formal training for professors, unless he/she seeks it out.
I have learned many new techniques and skills through the professional development workshops and seminars I have attended. Beginning my class and lecture preparation with discrete learning objectives is not only important so my students know what to expect in class, but also because it makes my teaching more organized and focused. Working to present information as a cohesive story and thinking about how to keep students actively engaged has caused me to closely examine how I present my information.
As seen in this portfolio, I have applied what I have learned, not only by reorganizing my lectures, but by incorporating a variety of activities and assignments. It has been particularly rewarding to implement classroom assessment techniques that spark in-class discussion, give me a tool to gauge student effort and comprehension, and do not require much time for preparation or use. Providing students a range of learning experiences and keeping them active has been well-received by students, colleagues, and supervisors.
In the future, I will continue to learn about teaching methods and techniques. I am especially interested in learning novel ways to teach with technology and implementing more writing in the classroom. In so many fields, but particularly in STEM, writing is the cornerstone of what we do. It is how we communicate our discoveries and share our knowledge and experience. However, in my experience, STEM classes do not place a great emphasis on developing a writing process and too often expect students to produce a large writing project at the end of a semester with little to no instruction or feedback along the way. It is my goal to apply my skills to make writing less painful for the students and less time consuming for the instructor.
I have grown immensely as a teacher in a short period of time due to the programs I have been involved in, my mentors, and help from my colleagues. Teaching will be a lifelong learning process and I will continue to endeavor towards a classroom that is open, engaging, and encourages active learning.