Our network of professors, PhDs, high school teachers, and TAs produces thousands of STEM video lessons daily. In our Educator Spotlight series, we’re providing an opportunity for you to get to know the incredible educators who make our mission, to democratize STEM education, possible.
What sets Numerade apart from other tutoring services for educators?
Numerade is unique as a tutoring service in terms of the flexibility of the work. As an educator, I can choose my own days/hours and also how long I want to spend at work each day. There are always plenty of questions available for me to answer, so when I have the time I can work as much as I would like, but if I am busy (e.g. with my PhD research) I can take a break without having to reschedule work or inconvenience students as with conventional tutoring. Also, unlike conventional tutoring services, Numerade reaches a large audience of students. It’s not like I am explaining things one-on-one or to a small group. The videos I make are accessible to any student that subscribes to Numerade content, and I can save them to use as instructional materials for my own teaching. The Numerade platform makes it so easy to save and keep track of my content for these instructional purposes.
How has Numerade refined or improved your teaching ability?
Numerade has helped me learn to explain STEM concepts eloquently and effectively. The more videos I make over the years, the better I am able to eyeball chemistry questions – even really complex ones! Additionally, it has assisted me with thinking on the fly, not only of the answers but of the most concise way to articulate those answers to students. I’ve learned how to filter through the background essential to understand a given question to keep my explanations short and sweet but also complete. This is a really helpful skill when planning lessons, and it makes me more confident in delivering instructional content live to students. It also equips me to be prepared to answer questions when delivering live content, even questions I didn’t anticipate would come up in a given lesson.
How has creating content on Numerade improved your overall preferred STEM subject knowledge?
Creating content on Numerade has actually encouraged me to branch out and learn topics in STEM fields in which I am not an expert. For instance, statistics questions on Numerade have really good rates, so I spent some time reviewing statistics concepts to be able to answer the videos and I found that it’s actually so much more interesting than I realized in college. It was also a HUGE help in my chemistry PhD courses like statistical mechanics!
How do you think educators could use Numerade for professional development?
Numerade is a great way for educators to review their expertise on different topics in their field. It also exposes educators to so many kinds of questions from different textbooks, which is useful when designing assessments for their students such that the questions are diverse, well-rounded, and fair. Additionally, because the Numerade platform saves content that educators create, educators can build a portfolio of content in their subject area to be accessed by their own students. This can be helpful to offer to students as a test review or if they are absent and need to learn a concept they missed.
What other unexpected benefits have you gained from being an educator on Numerade?
Since I started working for Numerade, I have gotten so much better at time management and have cultivated the ability to stay self-motivated, which I’ve noticed from teaching is a rare but very powerful skill to have. Because there are no scheduled hours, I have to make sure to set aside time to focus and be productive so I can create content, and I have to balance that with my obligations as a PhD student as well as my personal life to maintain a work-life balance. There are no consequences for not doing the work, so I have to find ways to be consistent with it without any external motivation. I also feel generally more confident and empowered because Numerade gives me financial security that I wouldn’t otherwise have as a PhD student, without any of the stress of a job with scheduled hours.
We heard you’re currently working toward your PhD! Best of luck to you! Any advice for other Numerade educators considering postgrad? 🙂
Working towards my PhD is definitely a difficult endeavor, but I keep myself motivated by remembering that it is an investment in my future, because the experience and additional degree will open up so many opportunities for me. I also think about it like professional development: the process of acquiring my PhD reminds me what it is like to be a student, encourages me to review content in my subject area and learn some content in way greater depth, and gives me a chance to be a teaching assistant so I hone my skills as an educator. It’s a marathon, not a sprint! Also, staying active and balanced, e.g. making sure I have time to do non-chemistry-related activities I enjoy like yoga and cooking myself meals, sustains my energy levels and motivation.