Teaching mathematics is not just about helping students to learn mathematical concepts. More importantly, while learning mathematics students develop their critical thinking and acquire learning skills which are valuable lifetime assets. I see my role as a teacher in guiding my students through this process. I have learned that students’ success depends on whether their instructor finds ways to maintain their motivation and willingness to do work in class. In order to maintain involvement, I create opportunities for my students to experience success on a daily basis. One way this is achieved is by short in-class quizzes that are fairly easy for most students. Such quizzes allow me to assess their progress and enable me to provide individual help to those who lag behind. Another method for maintaining students’ motivation is relating the math content to their career objectives. I use every chance to give word problems to my students, so that they can make connections between the way they resolve math problems and the way they approach problems in real life. This way I manage to change the initial perception of some students that math is just a useless stumbling block in their way to graduation. For the students to learn effectively, they need to feel comfortable in class. The natural way for a teacher to achieve this is by maintaining a good relationship with the class. I work with a student starting from the level where he/she is, answering questions and re-explaining material with patience and care, generously acknowledging an improvement and effort made by the student. I believe that careful preparation for each lecture is the key for successful teaching. During a lecture, I constantly monitor the class to see if I need to adjust the pace. When I see a confused face, I am not afraid to go back and provide an alternative explanation or give another example. Another issue of critical importance in class is the handling of questions. I always encourage feedback. I believe that even a naïve question with some thought from the teacher can be restated in a way that stimulates discussion, provides a way to relate the topic to other material, and is also relevant and useful to the rest of the class. During my teaching career I have been working hard to develop my personal teaching style, emphasizing diligent preparation for each class meeting, clear verbal presentation, and clean blackboard writing technique. Being well prepared enables me to teach with both enthusiasm and confidence. The most important qualities of an effective teacher, in my opinion, are fairness, openness, and lack of arrogance. I never give students tricky or overly hard exams. My professional satisfaction as a teacher comes from helping others to gain knowledge and from constantly improving my skills and teaching tools. I am looking forward to a lifetime teaching career because working with students is both challenging and fun.
Sadly, not much was accomplished, mostly due to health issues. I barely had energy to do the teaching -related duties. No classes were cancelled. I did come to an Open Days event, and replaced once a colleague in Calculus class.