Noyce Scholar Profile
Undergraduate major or graduate field of study: Master of Teaching
Subject area(s) and grade level teaching focus: Chemistry, grades 9-12
Category of scholarship/fellowship:
Master Teaching Fellow
Name of Noyce institution:
Virginia Commonwealth University
Current academic or teaching status:
Second Year Masters' Student
School and school district:
Richmond City Public Schools
I am a second year Master’s candidate in Virginia Commonwealth University’s (VCU’s) Master of Teaching program. I received my Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science and a minor in chemistry from VCU in the spring of 2009. As my undergraduate career drew to a close, I realized that bench work wasn’t for me. My desire to explain things and tell people what I’d just discovered on the bench far outweighed my ability to sit and repeatedly perform the same experiment again and again. As a teaching assistant, I was able to explain homework problems and concepts in several different ways to different types of learners until I found a way that they could understand. I had found my niche. After being accepted into the Master’s program in the School of Education, I have discovered that teaching is so much more than knowing your content and being competent in a particular subject area. I can’t wait to share my passion for learning, for science, and for knowledge with inner city students.
Why do you want to teach:
I want to teach so that I can instill the value of lifelong learning in my students. In order to do so, it is important for me to demonstrate that myself. Learning doesn’t stop in the classroom – it only begins there. Students’ passions can be ignited in the classroom and further explored and nurtured outside. Creating a learning environment rich in experience and deep in information will provide a platform from which students can begin their learning journeys. Teachers who love their work have a passion that is contagious. I hope to pass on my enthusiasm and love of science to each of my students. My passion for science was inspired by a select group of enthusiastic and passionate science teachers and professors who made such a profound impact on my experience as a student that I have chosen to make teaching my career. Being a successful teacher means making an impact on students’ lives and their learning experiences.
Describe a memorable teaching experience:
The capstone course for my undergraduate forensic science curriculum at VCU was Professional Practices in Forensic Science. An interesting element to this course is its service learning component. For a major portion of our final grade, each student is required to teach three forensic science labs at a local middle school. The service learning component to the capstone course in the Forensic Science major only solidifies the accountability and responsibility of scientists to their community. In teaching these lessons to the students, I gained a unique perspective and a new respect for teachers and their dedication to the education of children. Students are more interested in learning when they are engaged in the lesson. This seems like a fairly obvious statement, but was difficult to actually implement when teaching in the classroom. Curriculum development is an integral cog in the wheel of the education system and must not be overlooked. Students learn at a much higher rate when they are involved in the learning experience. Student learning must not only involve the lesson at hand, but also inspire learning outside of the classroom. While a student may only be learning about fingerprints, this lesson can connect with genetics, and the collection of those fingerprints at a crime scene can evolve into a discussion of porous versus non-porous surfaces. It is important to allow students to guide the discussion and teach each other with a few interjections from myself as the instructor to keep them on track or to ask another question to guide their thoughts. Students can learn from each other, and this learning can be facilitated by the instructor; this style of learning is much more meaningful than simply listening to a teacher in the front of the room in a lecture style format.
What does the Noyce program mean to you:
Being involved in the Noyce program has helped me experience teaching through several different lenses. I’ve been involved in beginning of the year planning, decisions regarding lessons, and have been able to see the implementation of those lessons throughout the school year. I have enjoyed getting to know my students from the beginning of the school year and can’t wait to take over the classroom when it is my turn to teach in the spring. Being a part of the Noyce program has afforded me the opportunity to not only be a student teacher, but to get much more guidance and exposure from my supervising teacher as well as my faculty advisor. Not only will my students benefit, but I am receiving a more authentic learning experience as well.