I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to teach a variety of topics in different classroom environments throughout my career. My experience with teaching started as early as my undergraduate school in my home city of Saint-Petersburg, Russia, where I tutored several of my classmates in analytical and physical chemistry. Due to these activities, I was assigned as teaching assistant (TA) in analytical chemistry on my last year of undergraduate school, where I also independently organized weekly problem-solving sessions for the students. Teaching then went on to play a central role in my Ph.D. experience at Bowling Green State University (BGSU), where over the course of five years I was a teaching assistant (TA) in general chemistry. … This time in academia has helped shaped my own approach to teaching.
Well-designed laboratory courses were a major factor in my decision to pursue chemistry as my professional career. Based on my experience I believe that the student’s motivation is the highest when one incorporates so-called real-world examples into classroom and laboratory situations. This is particularly important in General Chemistry I/II lecture and laboratory courses. I have found that the biggest fear in General Chemistry class is that majority of the class is not prepared for the math required to solve general chemistry problems. Therefore, at the beginning of the semester I would implement a math review for general chemistry that focuses on the algebra and graphing techniques needed to be successful in this course.
Next, I will design the homework, in-class, and exam problems in a fashion that can served as an example of what some of them (chemistry/biology/pre-professional major) will see during their career or on the professional school exams. I have confidence that this provides a feeling that the course is relevant to his/her own professional goals and in turn the students seem to work at a different level to achieve that goal. To ensure that studied topics are well developed and fresh, I will dedicate two minutes at the beginning of each class to go over the core points from the previous lecture before diving into the new lecture. It is also crucial to encourage students to ask difficult questions and guide them in developing critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Inspiring students to be active learners will not only help them to prosper in their careers but also empower them to drive social progress.
In my independent career I am interested in teaching a variety of undergraduate and graduate-level courses. I would be especially excited to teach courses in general chemistry, organic chemistry, and spectroscopy. With my own strong background in chemistry, I hope to transfer not only my expertise but also my scientific enthusiasm to the students. My goal in teaching will be to encourage students to become leaders within their own field. To that end, I will try to emphasize critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and communication skills in addition to the problem-solving skills that will lead them to experts in a subject.
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