I taught undergraduate Physics for 9 years at Colby College, a liberal arts college in Waterville, Maine. I emphasized both conceptual understanding and problem solving. Since Physics is a highly mathematical subject, I also taught a lot of Math techniques, including algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and calculus. An important component of any science is the communication of scientific results, so I placed a heavy emphasis in my classes on students learning how to write clear and well-organized research papers and lab reports. My own writing experience is substantial; I am first author on ten articles published in professional journals. I also excelled in my high school and college French classes and spent a year living in Paris.
The hallmark of my teaching at Colby was my availability to students who needed academic help. I offered individual assistance to students during pre-arranged hours or when they simply dropped by my office. I found this type of contact with students to be particularly rewarding. My starting assumption is that any student can master any subject given sufficiently clear explanations and enough time to absorb the material. It is crucial to first find out what the student knows and what the points of confusion are. In the process, I encourage students to verbalize both their knowledge and their questions. Thus, tutoring is the opposite of lecturing and it lets students take charge of and set the pace of their own learning.
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