Students always rise to the levels of expectation of the teacher. If you expect less, you will receive less. I believe and expect each student that I teach to learn and achieve at a level beyond their wildest dreams. I have a driver personality, and as a result, I drive each student to pass their perceived personal limitations to realize the greatness inside each of them. Furthermore, as a math educator professor, I have learned to teach math; you must understand it from a conceptual point of view and ground it in reality pedagogies.
My pedagogical methods included teaching my students to avoid rote memorization strategies. However, I work with students to consider learning from a conceptual understanding point of view. Learning from a theoretical understanding point of view allows students to become problem solvers and equips them with tools. Additionally, I show them the best practices, techniques and how to apply them to specific situations. As educators, we often prepare students for careers that do not exist; therefore, it is vitally important to ensure they leave with a robust foundational set of skills. To accomplish this, I create an academically open and engaging atmosphere that makes students comfortable. Once students feel comfortable, they feel free to ask questions, leading to a very active learning environment in my classes.
Technology is the catalyst that propels me forward in what I do. Technology has changed the landscape of how we educate. Furthermore, those who understand its power and how to harness it will have a significant advantage over others. As a result, I use technology in my classes as much as possible. I encourage students to use it to enhance their knowledge and work more efficiently. Technology does not replace educators. It helps us do what we do faster, smarter, and more efficiently. I teach my students how to use various technologies as they become available such as iPads, cell phones, video analysis of student learning, webinars, and multiple other learning platforms. Teachers who do not have a solid understanding of educational technologies and how they work will be a teacher who is less competitive for employment, especially in the global competition of education. My teaching strategies employ various methods, such as active lectures and discussions with daily opportunities to do math in the classroom. I usually give brief quizzes, projects, and team-building exercises that reinforce students to do the math and assess the student’s mastery of content. To temper the harshness of exams and to encourage an exchange of ideas, I occasionally have guest lectures, which incorporate social learning into my teaching strategies. These strategies allow students to hear from another voice besides my own.
Student learning is why I do what I do. If the students are not learning, you must stop and question why you are doing what you are doing. Student learning is not a thing that is always easy to assess, especially working with a diverse population that has different learning styles. Along with student learning, I promote regular assessments so that students understand where they are and what they need to improve on. Utilizing this strategy makes the students accountable for their learning and offers an intrinsic motivation to continue learning for life versus just for the moment. Therefore, I work hard outside of class to keep my teaching interesting. I am always trying to improve and expand my teaching which is informed by research and my student evaluations. Additionally, my teaching continues to grow because I review my assessment and listen to student feedback. As a result, I utilize a host of technologies to teach students and reach the various learning styles of students.
As a professor, I can only be as good as the information I have to understand and give to my students. I have participated in numerous professional development activities. I have traveled across the county to make myself a better-informed teacher. Furthermore, I expose students to these experiences to gain exposure and experience. Determining teacher effectiveness in teacher education is hard until your students are out teaching. I firmly believe that my students result from my teaching and mentorship. Students in my courses have done well in the classroom, and I have significantly impacted them. Sometimes as a teacher, you will never understand the effect that you can have on a student.