As a recent college graduate who is fortunate to be pursuing a Ph.D. in Chemistry, I realized that one my greatest blessings was having mentors that guided me towards this path. During my college years I knew that no matter how much pressure came on or how much work needed to get done, my professors only wanted to extract the best output from me. One of these professors in particular was my undergraduate research advisor who played a tremendous role on applying to graduate school. Not only did he provide my recommendation letter for graduate school but advice on which schools/programs to look for, what research area to work in and how to conduct research in general. It is safe to say in the 12 month period I worked under him he set a great example, which is exactly what I wish to do for students I teach. I also want to be a mentor my students can look up to, the same way I looked up to my Professors.
I have only started teaching in January 2019 however in this short time I have noticed the many nuances that goes into this vocation. Whether it involves preparing for lecture notes, grading homework assignments/exams and meeting with students to answer last minute questions; a great deal of commitment is demanded. Another aspect that follows teaching is to explain certain concepts. Being at such an early stage of my academic career may put me at a disadvantage as I am nowhere near the level of depth and precision as the professors I work under, since they are indeed experts in the eld or have taught for many years. At the same time this predicament can prove to be a boon, since all these ideas a relatively fresh in my mind and can also communicate in a way that is relatable to college students, which is very possible as I once was a college student. That being said in order convey certain ideas and concepts it is important to empathize with the students to get the message across.
I understand the prime goal of my graduate career is to do research and publish papers. I was told that teaching may slightly hinder my graduate career but on the contrary teaching is actually helping it. I have no choice but to manage my time between grading, preparation and research work which has helped me to make the most of my time on a single day. In addition to that, I am able to form relations with students and professors while still being able to read papers and analyze data relating to my own research. In other words, teaching has certainly helped my growth as a graduate student and I will adhere to what I have learnt to help my students grow also.