Teaching has always been something that I enjoyed, and as I grew older, I felt it slowly start to become one of my passions.
I tutored second, third, and fourth graders when I was in middle school in what we call a mentoring program, and it's one of my most memorable experiences even though it was over six years ago. In high school, I didn't involve myself in a tutoring or mentorship program, but it wasn't until I entered college that I realized that I love teaching.
During my freshman year, several of my friends came to me for help in general chemistry throughout the semester. I remember that while I was explaining to them the concepts of free energy, acid-base titrations, and electrochemistry, I felt a surge of fulfillment. The idea of the "Oh!" moment when the light bulb finally goes off is why teaching brings me so much satisfaction. This is what motivated to become a teaching assistant for general chemistry this semester.
Perhaps I also enjoy teaching because I remember being in the shoes of those who are currently taking the courses that I've already taken. I can empathize with them the unsettling feeling of not understanding the material or not knowing how the professors arrived at their answer. Just as I had received help from my TAs and friends, I aspire to help those who were once in my shoes. Being a TA has made me realize how much I care about ensuring that students fully understand what is being taught and are given the best explanation possible.
Even as a TA, I don't know or remember everything. I remember being shown a few questions and not remembering how to solve them, so I immediately searched it up and learned them on the spot. It's incredibly humbling, and this showed me that I am motivated to learn in order to be able to teach others.
Teaching is also an act of selflessness - using your time to help others in the best ways possible. I am currently taking organic chemistry and 90% of the time, I'm lost. However, the TAs here are the best ever. They hold weekly office hours, conduct their own review sessions (they're THREE HOURS LONG), upload their powerpoints, hold live review sessions on Facebook, and create videos for each topic we learn. I aspire to be as dedicated to my students as they are to theirs. Seeing them put so much time explaining concepts and answering questions inspires me to better myself as a TA. I hope to one day emulate the dedication that I've seen in order to be the best possible TA for my students that I can be.