My Philosophy of Teaching


Coming from a very poor socioeconomic background, I was the first member of my family to go to college. But I saw education as a way out of poverty, a way to a better life. For this reason, I love teaching community college students. Many of them are in the same position as I was, and now I am in a position to help them. ACC students are very goal-oriented, and I know my job as a teacher is to challenge them and assist them in helping themselves. The ultimate goal of a teacher is to make students self-sufficient, so that they can become lifelong learners.

It may seem almost cliché to make the statement, "I believe that all students can learn," but I do believe that most sincerely. On the first day of class I urge students to try and set aside any preconceptions they may have about their own abilities to "do" science. I tell them that I would not give them assignments if I did not believe that they all could do it, and that I am there to give them whatever help they need to succeed. At ACC, it has been my experience that students only need an instructor to have confidence in them and be willing to help them, and they will achieve. They rarely disappoint me. I truly enjoy working with students; the look of dawning realization and confidence in a student's eyes is very affirming.

I take an historical approach to teaching astronomy because I want to demonstrate to students that science is a human endeavor. I attack the notion that science is for the privileged few by presenting the stories of men and women who "broke the mold" and revolutionized science. I hope that this will put a human face on science, and encourage my students to be scientifically aware citizens, even if they do not pursue a technical career.

I know that most of my students will not even consider a career in professional science, but I hope that I can help them develop universally applicable skills in logical thinking, critical reflection, listening, and communication. I believe that college-level education should have a higher goal than mere transmission of content. Students deserve more. Astronomy is a fascinating study in its own right, but it is also a fun and interesting venue to train students in basic academic skills which will serve them well regardless of their chosen profession. I work hard as a teacher to give students value for their hard work and dedication.