Every teacher is the product of her preparation. I am no different, and yet my unique educational and workplace background – I have earned a Bachelors of Biology and Chemistry and a PhD in Basic Biomedical Sciences with specialization in Neuroscience and I have worked in hospitals as a researcher, a phlebotomist and an embryologist. The combination of my education and work experience has shaped me as a strong, engaging educator of science. My education and experiences allow me to bring real world examples to my teaching as well as incorporate as many hands-on activities into the classroom as possible. Above all, regardless of the material I am presenting, I believe in an education in which students actively participate and this helps to enhance their learning. In my classes, I flip the classroom and make a great deal of effort to be a “guide on side” in such a way that I help students to find the answer instead of just giving them the answer.
In teaching science classes I incorporate as many labs, demonstrations, and hands-on activities as possible. One of the activities I have used to demonstrate adaptations is a “bird beak” activity in which students are given different implements (ex: spoon, tweezers, lab spatula, ect.) to serve as the bird’s beak and different types of food (ex: beans, pasta, pipe cleaners, ect.) and we ran through multiple timed trials (30 seconds) to test which beaks work best with which food. We then discussed the results and how the availability of food can influence the success of the species of bird. A difficult topic I have found that students struggle with is cellular respiration and photosynthesis. Therefore, I have used a number of activities and methods to teach this to my students. One of the most successful activities I have used is having the students form groups and create a board game in any style they choose in the style of monopoly, shoots and ladders, candy land, etc.). For cellular respiration and photosynthesis they have complete creative control aside from the number of questions and answers they must come up with for their board game. I provide students a large sheet of paper if they needed it to create their game as well as markers and colored pencils. It helps the students to synthesize the material while allowing them to be creative and making the overall experience a fun game.
I utilize presentations for many of my classes because it not only helps students compile the information they need to learn the but also improves their communication with others and boosts their confidence in both the material and public speaking. In order for the students to feel more comfortable with public speaking, I allow them to present in any way they chose, whether is verbal, PowerPoint, or creation of a poster. Depending upon the class and the material being covered I also like to incorporate real life case studies, coloring sheets, and worksheets. I try to present the material in as many ways as possible to reach as many students as possible.
In conclusion, my PhD program and the teaching I employ emphasize both the theoretical and applicable aspects of science. These are the aspects I wish to impart to my students – and your students – teaching them to see both the practical and the abstract not just in science but in all elements of their education.
I have been teaching for 4 years at the collegiate level. I have taught hundreds of students in various biology subjects. I have written letters of recommendation for students that resulted in scholastic awards. In addition I have worked in clinical and research labs.
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