There is no doubt in my mind that I was destined to teach. I’ve been passionate about information technology since I was young and simply love to share what I know about it with others. Without question my parents were influential. My father’s excitement about technology was contagious especially when he proudly brought one of the first Radio Shack TRS-80 computer’s home. I quickly became an avid WORM game expert and created my very first BASIC program at the ripe age of seven. My mother, a dedicated community college professor, was a constant educational example. Memories of her grading papers or typing tests late into the night and describing her campus experiences are still fresh in my mind. As a technology student at a community college I had no idea how these influences would eventually shape my life. When I later became a corporate technology specialist and then community college professor I better understood the result of “nurture and nature”. It is because of my past experiences I am extremely satisfied to pursue my commitment to be the best technology educator possible.
I have three primary goals. First, provide knowledge to students that will equip them to be successful with their personal career goals or skill development. Second, encourage that technology parameters are followed where required and that creativity can flow freely where possible. Last, and because the dynamic field of technology requires it, encourage the practice of lifelong learning.
It has been my experience that technological knowledge is best learned through a combination of memorization, recall and active learning. Whether visual, auditory or kinesthetic (hands-on), learners respond very well to a variety of teaching methods. I use techniques in my classes which include lectures with visual aids, demonstrations, step-by-step hands-on exercises, discussions, and projects.
As a technology instructor I must prepare students for work environments demanding proficient skill sets that follow close parameters without deviation. While this accuracy is emphasized, I must also conversely get students to think for themselves. This requires a higher level of critical thinking: the ability to analyze, criticize, and synthesize (create). In technology design, innovation is essential, and while it may or may not be true that creativity cannot be taught, it can be developed. My goal is to design exercises and projects that challenge the students and force them to think conceptually.
Encouraging students to become lifelong learners can be difficult when their more immediate temptation is to view any given course as an “ends to a means”. It is through the process of educational and career advising that I’m given the opportunity to share my journey. I often remind students about the reasons and benefits for seeking my Master’s degree several years after I had obtained my Bachelor’s. Even now, I continue to learn through continued educational opportunities, professional seminars, lectures, the reading of journals and sharing what others are trying for the first time. The field of technology demands lifelong learning, a very open mind and a very willing attitude. For as much as I love to teach I also love to learn. It is that desire for knowledge that above all else I would hope to inspire.