I believe my fundamental role as a teacher is to facilitate lifelong learning and scholarship and equip students with the tools to learn, (un/re) learn concepts that will serve them for their future in a challenging profession. I believe in true learning that lies beyond the PowerPoint slides and class notes. True learning is a two-way street, and I always encourage and emphasize active participation in my classrooms. As I lecture, I encourage questions and solicit responses from my students – these could either be based on their experience or affirmation of their understanding of the concept through real-world examples. During lectures, I always expose my students to real-world applications/scenarios that make them aware of how the principles they learn in class are applied in the world around them. I find the art of making these connections incredibly fulfilling. Since classrooms involve students from diverse cultures with varying learning paces, I take the utmost care in using value-neutral and non-confrontational language throughout my lectures to avoid disproportionately discouraging members from our discussions.
As a teacher in engineering school, I always highlight the importance of becoming better writers. Therefore, my courses focus on writing as one of the major skills students can take away. Even in today’s data-intensive world, I stress how crunching the numbers only solves half the problem and empower my students with the tools to convey the significance of their findings. Students may come into my courses with different writing abilities, so I set the writing expectation in my classes and provide resources that help writers become more effective in communicating their work. I have also undergone valid pedagogical training that has helped me become more cognizant of the differing needs of ESL (English as a Second Language) students.
With limited classroom contact hours, I always encourage my students to utilize office hours to go over their queries regarding the lectures. I also encourage similar opportunities to brainstorm and discuss ideas with student groups on their assessments. I have seen that this kind of one-on-one interaction certainly brings out the best in students – both in terms of their deliverables and their overall performance in the course. Even though I arrange formal office hours, I always welcome students to make appointments at other times and have, in the past, conducted virtual office hours to support working and parenting students with schedule conflicts. Apart from classes, I am also there to help my students advance professionally by leveraging my connections to research labs, industrial partners, and federal/state agencies and encouraging them to pursue visible and impactful careers.
I embrace technology in my classrooms as much as it enhances the learning experience by supporting instructional objectives. Where required, I use Panopto/Blackboard Collaborate/Microsoft Teams to capture my lectures. I also enjoy using apps like straw poll and menti to conduct quick class polls on taught modules and look forward to enhancing the learning experience in my future classes with these tools.