My philosophy toward teaching encompasses many different aspects of the process. However I think the things that primarily characterize my approach are the following.
Patience, fairness, and respect for students
This is the basis for good teaching and communication. Furthermore it is important that the outline, requirements for grades, and expected demands are clearly stated to the students at the beginning of the course.
Complete command of the material
Clarity, logical organization, and the ability to correctly answer student's questions are essential. The best teachers I have had provided me with a set of clear and thoughtful lecture notes which I still use.
Intuition for students' difficulties
Invariably the barrier to understanding is a particular concept which blocks everything presented after the point of confusion. Clearing this up allows the learning process to proceed and gives the student confidence. Often, it is mastering a particular obstacle that gives that ``Ah-ha'' feeling in which many aspects of the larger picture fall into place at once.
Physical principles manifest in many ways, and this is one of the wonderful aspects of physics. It is important that the instructor be able to weave previously mastered concepts into new material, and to show a variety of interesting aspects to individual concepts. Making these applications pertinent to the student, as opposed to using hackneyed examples, brings life to the lecture and engages students in the excitement of learning.
One of my personal interests is fencing, and here I am battling it out against Peter Oort, the grandson of the great Dutch astronomer Jan Oort (Oort Cloud, etc.).
Professor and Chair of Physics