My Teaching Philosophy
I have been teaching ever since I was in primary school, whenever my fellow classmates come to me for help. The interest in helping others understand complex theories or concepts was implanted in me and it has only grown throughout the years to become passion.
I am a firm believer that everyone can learn, albeit at their own pace and in their own way. Some students learn by doing while others need more guidance. Thus, I approach my classes with two different teaching philosophies in mind, cognitivism and constructivism. I still deliver lectures, interspersed with hands-on activities to promote understanding through self-discovery. Being in the area of computer science, my lecture materials include visuals and animations that help to promote understanding of difficult concepts. I take pride in my teaching materials especially for courses that involve complex algorithms, whereby each of the steps involved will be animated to allow the students to see the algorithm in action.
In my lectures, I try my best to be with the students, standing among them, talking directly to them. Although I may have over a hundred students, I do not want them to feel like there is a divider between the lecturer and them. I want them to feel like they can just raise their hands and ask me questions at anytime because I am standing right by them.
I believe that a teacher's role in learning is to help the students grow as individuals, either intellectually or as good human beings. Thus, I usually adjust my teaching methods based on my audience to ensure that they leave my lectures having learnt something new. I am an avid user of online teaching tools such as Kahoot, Socrative, Padlet and online whiteboards to promote collaboration, interaction, and to make the lectures a little bit more fun. After all, who wants to attend a boring lecture? I also try my best to be as approachable as I can, so that students will not think twice of coming to me to ask questions if they are having problems.
Self-improvement is always a continuous process. I am aware that I am not a perfect lecturer, teacher or mentor so I strive to be better over time.
Little gestures by the students always make my day. At least I know that my effort has been worth it. Here are some cards that were given to me by Inti students back when I taught them.
In USM, some of the comments left by the students in the online feedback system really warms my heart. Here are some notable excerpts (I have attached the full unfiltered list of comments as well at the bottom of the page for all courses that I have taught so far).
"One of the class that I do not wish to skip. The lecture is clear and easy to understand, especially together with the animations prepared. A very good lecturer with good teaching method."
"Fantastic lecturer, caring and helpful in every way possible. Understands what students "truly" need, especially when this semester is way shorter than usual. Deserve a private jet or whatever it takes to make him stay. "
"No kidding, Dr Teh is the best ever lecturer I have met in School of Computer Sciences, USM .... I found Dr Teh has the passionate in teaching and he did it very well. His slides with animations allow me to study and catch up alone even if I didn't attend the lecture activities. My friends and I appreciate his slides so much really! I literally have nothing to complain about a lecturer when he gave us so much flexibility, good test 2 format, lecture slides etc. If I were to rate him, I will give 11 out of 10. "
"the best teacher in all my course. explanation are well understand by students. Always the last person to go out the lecture hall. in my opinion, dr is very good already nothing to improve can maintain it. if want to improve maybe can put more example in the slide as in whiteboard sometime are hard to see :D"
If anyone ever said that teaching or lecturing is an easy job, they have probably never done it themselves, or have not given their very best to ensure that the students are able to absorb what is being taught. Students have a wide range of learning capabilities so catering to all of them is a huge challenge, especially in a public university where the student numbers are in the hundreds.
Moving from teaching in a small private college to a large public university took some getting used to. The days of personal attention were over. Back in the college, weaker students could be easily identified in a class of 30, and additional attention could be given to them to ensure that they do not fall behind. But this is not the case in the university. I had to find better ways to deliver my lecture so that all students will be able to absorb what is being delivered. Although I am still far from achieving this goal, I believe I have already made huge strides towards it.
I strongly believe every student has the capacity to learn. As long as they are willing to put in the effort, I will be there for them every step of the way.