Older teaching-related news, events and ideas
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This year on my birthday, coincident with the official day of my PhD degree award, I received a gift from the Nobel laureate Steven Weinberg and a second precious gift from the University of Texas, which I dedicated to the two angels who made it happen.
I have always been fond of teaching all my life. It's a great feeling of responsibility and power when you go to the chalkboard in front of tens of students with brains like a white paper, ready to register whatever they are taught, permanently in their mind. and there comes the great responsibility on teacher. Depending on what you teach and how you teach, you can change not only the lives of your students but also generations to come. I can still very well remember those few teachers during elementary school and high school, who made me who I am today. and there are examples of great influential teachers in science too: Arnold Sommerfeld, John Archibald Wheeler. Almost the entire structure of modern physics (and even chemistry) was built by the students of these two physicists and their descendants.
As for myself, last semester I decided to take on a partial teaching duty for one last time in graduate school. Yesterday I received the students' evaluation. and a positive feedback I believe is the best reward a teacher could get :-)
- Amir was a badass! He knew his material and was extremely helpful in office hours. He explained things very clearly.
- Amir is awesome! I love him!
- 3 * Explained everything thoroughly (yes! that’s real me)
- Amir was enthusiastic about physics (Again, it’s me!)
- 2 * encouraged independent thinking
- made himself available for every student, very much appreciated
- 2 * very dedicated
- 2 * made learning fun
- 4 * amazing teacher
- I would have failed this course without his review sessions ( ! )
- best lectures I’ve had
- Amir is friendly and good at leading students to the correct solution rather than just telling them how to solve an in-class question. He makes sure all students who need his help get attention.
- always helpful during class and office hours.
- showed up in office hours, was not there. (likely making coffee in the IFS kitchen)
- too much fun in class is too distracting!
- 3 * no discussion sessions! (not my fault really!)
I recently wrote a guest blog post for the Bio-computational Evolution in Action Consortium (BEACON) on the importance of teaching, or at least introducing all STEM graduate students with cognitive sciences and cognitive flaws that can affect human mind and reasoning. The full post can found here. The following is a summary of the post: