Teaching or research: what goes first?

Teaching or research - what goes firstBeing a university professor is very complex and demanding.

Professors generally are required to perform the following activities:

  1. Teach, conducting lectures and seminars; and mentor students.
  2. Perform advanced research in their fields, publishing their work in scientific journals.
  3. Provide consulting and advising functions, being this way closed to the reality.
  4. Conduct administrative or managerial functions at university or departments.

Is it possible, as some claim, to teach without research? At the end, being a good communicator has nothing to do with research.

What about research? Being a superb specialist does not mean that you are a good teacher, one can end up losing the wider scope of knowledge needed to teach.

But we are not just teachers (being good educators) nor pure researchers (improving the world), we are professors, we should master both of them; it makes sense and is required by all university and educational bodies all over the world, setting even the exact time for research and teaching.

Both are complementary and interwoven.

  • Teaching based on researching support the learning process and brings quality to teaching:  Research enriches teaching.
  • Research is fundamental in developing new knowledge and bridging the gap between academia and reality: Teaching develops research.

And going back to practical reality, the experience of successful professors is that both teaching and research spur our academic careers: without research one cannot be much effective in teaching, and vice-versa.

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I am happy to be a university professor

teaching

This week I would like to share with you the personal opinion of professors about our work, our profession, how we see ourselves.

I summarize the responses, collected in the social networks.

LEARNING EXPERIENCE

  • Charlotte: We learn as we teach. Teaching requires a constant improvement of the mind. That keeps you young.
  • Deepak: It is the joy of knowing and the satisfaction of giving it back in a refined manner what you know and have learnt.
  • Kirsten: The challenge of acquiring new knowledge and passing it on.

CHALLENGE

  • Keshav: I love teaching because it gives me an opportunity to interact with young minds.
  • Denis: It’s knowing that we have challenged not only our wee students but colleague as well! I received this email recently: Sometime when I finish with you I need a brain massage (smile) enjoying every minute”
  • Ammini: It puts you in the right environment, intellectual colleagues, academic and cultural activities and a whole bunch of young enthusiastic students.
  • Gregory: I feel great being a professor because of the “high” I get when I leave the classroom every day!

PROUD

  • Wane: Being a Professor is just great and natural, it is a coveted title and I am proud of it because I worked and earned it.
  • Ashu: Can anyone get such love (from students) and respect in any other profession…?
  • Ralph: Teaching profession is the noblest of all professions in this world of human affairs.

REWARD

  • Jorge: I don’t know if I want to do anything else but teaching at this point in my career.
  • Charlotte: Sometimes there is a phone call or a letter from someone who remembers a phrase, an answer, an encouragement. That’s a big reward.
  • Ravi: When I feel sick I raise up muster some strength and take a class. After one hour I get renewed energy. I am happy to be a teacher.
  • Mohandas: I chose teaching as a profession way back in 1968,… and I am still in love with my profession, teaching.
  • Mike: An hour in a class room with enthusiastic students gives you enough stimuli to face the problems.
  • Shubash: Today I have completed over 40 years in this job and still admire of my decision. When students look into my eyes and listen to you, I felt satisfied and even great
  • Janet: It’s a hard job, but I love it like no other job I’ve ever had.

CONTRIBUTION TO SOCIETY / CHANGE AGENT

  • Yasmin: I feel that I have made a small but value added contribution to the society.
  • Howard: My job is …  to help others to see and work politically to achieve some measure of social justice and transformation.
  • Rup: My passion is working with my students in a lab setting. Many of my former students are working in the industry and that’s what makes my job worthwhile.
  • Sushil: Another thing that makes me feel very good is that I keep running into my students and it is so good to know that most of them have found very good jobs after two years at a community college.
  • Kate: My satisfaction came in large part as a “change agent” in their lives.
  • Dugdale: I enjoy most is seeing my students faces light up when “they get it” and watching them become a professional in their field of Physical Therapy.
  • Richard: I love the impact that I’ve had on my “kids”.

HELP OTHERS

  • Penny: I feel that I am molding new nurses and getting them started appropriately. I just love to teach. When I stop loving what I do, then I will stop.
  • Barry: Each year and each class is a new beginning. I love what I do in the classroom. Well-rounded students are the ultimate outcomes of today’s professors.
  • Mohammad: As a student I used to read to pass my own exams but now I am reading to ensure my students pass with merit!
  • Chris: It’s great to feel that you’re really helping people and having an impact on lives.
  • Jane: I always feel great every time am teaching my students, we are part of their future because we are there to support and help them.

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Profs are the inspiration for this blog and for Gaudeamus, built to help them to keep changing the world.

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