Providing an educational opportunity is one of the most important opportunities we can provide for the people of our society. After gaining valuable industry experience, I decided to attend graduate school so that I could become a professor at a college or university, because I truly enjoy all aspects of teaching and advising students. My primary teaching focus is on the student; student learning and academic success motivate me to work hard and be a dedicated teacher. Having a positive impact on the life of a student is among the most rewarding and fulfilling experiences a person can wish for. Motivation, hard work, and enjoyment sparked by the students have allowed me to be a successful teacher.
A teacher or adviser could be the person who makes the difference in the path a student chooses to follow throughout his or her life. In my classroom, I feel as though setting the classroom tone and gaining student respect from day 1 are the initial steps toward motivating students to work hard. As teachers, we must keep student motivation a high priority. As a well-known pedagogical researcher, W.J. McKeachie put it, “Knowing more about how students are motivated and what you can do to structure a class that positively affects student motivation can make a significant difference in student engagement and learning.”
By setting aside time for in class discussions, I can get to know the students, gauging what they know, and what they are interested in. I can take the subject matter that I have a full understanding of and transform it into information that connects and is continuous with the past experiences and knowledge of the students. By transforming content knowledge via analogies, examples, and classroom demonstrations, I feel as though I can engage the students in the new material and foster intrinsic student motivation, promoting generativity, growth, and development through self learning. In addition, I feel as though it is very important for a teacher to keep the classroom democratic, maintaining open lines of communication, in which students feel like part of a learning team. In my classroom students are always encouraged to ask questions and approach the teacher with any questions or concerns they may have. By using student concerns and past experiences to make positive changes to teaching styles, teachers can increasingly gain student respect and become more effective teachers. I take SRTE evaluations and course feedback very seriously; I need to take constructive criticism on my current teaching style to continually improve to become the very best teacher that I can be.
Teachers should also recognize that different personalities and learning preferences exist within the classroom. Some students may prefer learning in which project work and talent showcasing is done individually; others may prefer group work, where cognition is distributed among a few students. By preparing lectures and classroom activities as I have dubbed “in class activities” that utilize techniques such as problem based learning, where students can work both individually and as members of teams, I feel as though I can adequately address student differences, laying the foundation to encourage participation and intentional learning by a large part, if not all of the students in the classroom.
Teachers should recognize that teaching and learning are not conducted on a one way street. As an instructor and adviser, I find that I am constantly learning and developing as my students learn and develop. I personally spend a large amount of time, energy, and effort on preparing lectures, assessments, and classroom activities, because that is what it takes to be a successful and effective teacher. A successful teacher should never stop learning; teachers should not only take time to get to know the people they teach and how they learn, but also stay up to date with the content and material they are teaching.
I also have research interests in engineering education, namely teaching and instruction of engineering students. I became interested in this area while completing the Penn State Graduate School Teaching Certification. I recently carried out a study looking at the learning styles or preferences of undergraduate students in engineering. Interestingly, the results showed that the majority of STEM students tended to favor active, sensing, visual, and sequential learning. However, in the classic STEM lecture, most students are not confronted with teaching methods that are favorable to their learning style of preference. This work concluded with the development of a new teaching methodology dubbed the “I-C-D” Method or the “Interact, Cultivate, and Deliver” Method for engineering instructors to use as an effective approach for delivering a satisfying and educative experience for students in their engineering courses.
My sincere passion is in a career where I can teach and advise undergraduate students. Along with this passion, the work I have done for the Penn State graduate school teaching certificate coupled with all my experience tutoring, mentoring, advising, and teaching undergraduate students has set a solid foundation for me to be a very successful and dedicated educator. I am confident that I can do a great job teaching any subject matter that I feel I have an in depth understanding of.
EDSGN 100S: Introduction to Engineering Design
EMCH 211: Engineering Mechanics: Statics
IE 100S: Discover Industrial Engineering
IE 302: Engineering Economy
IE 311: Principles of Solidification Processing
IE 312: Product Design & Manufacturing Processes
IE 322: Probabilistic Models in Industrial Engineering
IE 402: Advanced Engineering Economy
IE 450/ 470: Manufacturing Systems Engineering (TA)
IE 497: Industrial Engineering Project and Special Topics
QMM 581: Manufacturing Processes of Materials