School can be a long journey, with many highs and lows.
At Salt Lake Community College, students take a variety of classes from a variety of teachers — some that are enjoyable and engaging, and others, not so much.
One of those engaging teachers is Dr. Kristen Taylor, an associate professor of biology.
Taylor has been teaching at SLCC for many years and was awarded an Exemplary Faculty Service award last year. She is all about helping students take control of their education and being the one that can help them achieve such a goal.
“A professor is a person that interacts in ways that can facilitate student learning,” she says.
Taylor says the relationship between students and professors is largely dependent on a student’s ability to actively seek the skills and knowledge to enable learning.
“The student has to engage with the means and materials that a professor provides in a way that is meaningful for her/his learning,” Taylor says.
Taylor acknowledges that this process can be difficult for each student, but says that once a student accepts this responsibility, “then the professor-student partnership is much more readily understood and used in a way that enables the students to learn.”
Students are always looking for the “fun” classes. These seem to be far in between when it comes to choosing a class schedule. According to Taylor, these don’t have to be so rare.
“I can, and do, a lot of things to help my students enjoy the subject. However, for something to be ‘fun’ the person must internalize the situation as an enjoyable and meaningful one,” she says.
Finding a fun class, or a subject that a student can personally enjoy, comes down to the way students view it and interact with it, as well as how a teacher provides means for interaction.
“A good teacher can turn a subject into more of a hobby,” says SLCC student Drew Burns. “They get you excited to learn about something, rather than just relaying information to students.”
Taylor says her favorite part of teaching is the students and, “loves watching them come into class afraid or nervous, some even believing they are ‘terrible at science’ to realize that they are in charge of their own learning and education.”
Her advice to students and teachers is, “work hard, take control of your education and then don’t stress about being ‘good enough’ — the work you put in will do that for you.”