Rookie Rocky: About teaching

Posted on behalf of the Rookie Rocky

It seems that teaching is something that everyone is trying to get away from in a major research institution. When a young scientist freshly out of his/her training considers an academic job, one of the concerns is, “how much do I have to teach?” The common answer to this question seems to be “the less, the better”. After all, research is the foremost factor in determining how well you do in such an institution. And in most of the hard science departments, and all medical schools, the investigator’s salary is dependent on research funding but hardly, if at all, on teaching.

However, I recall that in high school and college, my excellent teachers successfully woke up the little curious genie deep inside me. Thanks to them, I decided to pursue a career in science. Also, the main reason I stayed on the academic pathway is because I enjoyed teaching a lot (as a TA, tutor, etc.). Do I still like teaching now? The resounding answer is “yes, very much”. I had so much fun with my motivated, knowledge-hungry, lovely students in my first semester as a course instructor. Furthermore, I learned much about science and about life from this teaching experience.

However, if I could find some way to circumvent my teaching duty, I think I would most probably go for it.

(ed’s note: Hubert and I have decided we are living in parallel universes. For our thoughts on this topic, check out our recent editorial.)