— Prof S (@ProfStephS) May 16, 2013
The long answer would be the story of how I became a faculty member at Niagara College. The short answer is: because it’s fun, and I love it!
My Background Story (The Long Answer)
When I was in grade 11, my chemistry teacher sparked my love of science. I remember that she had a tie-dyed lab coat and we performed lots of experiments that involved explosions or open flames. She selected me, out of all the girls in my class, to attend a 2-day workshop at Brock University (Scientifically Yours) and at that moment I decided to pursue a career in chemistry.
I did all of my post-secondary schooling at Brock, actually. After completing a 4-year Bachelors degree in biochemistry, I began my Masters in chemistry. After only 4 months though, I realized that research was not my passion (it was a mental struggle to even step into the lab). As part of my graduate studies, I was required to be a laboratory demonstrator for the first-year chemistry course. I was responsible for delivering mini-lectures as lab introductions and I loved every minute of it! I transferred into the education department as soon as I was able.
While completing my Masters in education, a family friend suggested that I submit my CV to Niagara College. Knowing the number of unemployed teachers in Ontario, I never imagined that I would be hired as a partial load professor. While preparing my lecture materials for my first day of classes, I remember thinking back to my days in high school chemistry and wondered how I could create the same sort of classroom environment for my Pre-Health Science college students. I ordered myself a monogrammed black lab coat to get started and haven’t looked back since.
So why do I teach?
I hated being in a research lab. I hated the pressure to produce results, and the sense of failure when a chemical reaction didn’t work the way I expected it to.
I loved being a student and learning new things about science and the natural world. I then loved being able to share that knowledge with others.
I teach because I find it fun to learn, and I have never found a better opportunity to learn new things than by becoming a teacher.
I try to have fun while I teach, so maybe my students are having fun as well. I don’t think that academic standards are lessened by student satisfaction.
I teach because I have never experienced a greater sense of accomplishment than in that moment when a student deepens their understanding of the universe in some small way.
I teach because my students show their appreciation. They actually say “thank you” and these two simple words encourage me to work harder every day.
So why do you teach?