Fellow Q&A: WW Teaching Fellow Ian Hansen
WW Teaching Fellows come from many different backgrounds but are united by a single goal: to teach science, technology, engineering, and math (the STEM fields) to some of the nation’s highest-need students. But what makes these Fellows tick? What inspired them to pursue a career in the classroom? In this WW Perspectives series, we hear from WW Teaching Fellows about what drew them to the program.
After receiving his degree in biochemistry from Rowan University, Ian Hansen decided to translate his love for tutoring into a career in teaching. Ian is a 2017 WW New Jersey Teaching Fellow who is completing his master’s degree at Rutgers University – Camden.
WW Perspectives: What drew you to teaching?
Ian Hansen: I was attending a community college when a friend mentioned a job opportunity to me at the school’s tutoring center. I decided to apply and ended up tutoring there for about two and a half years. I enjoyed helping others succeed and felt fulfilled when someone would come back and thank me. This fostered the idea in me to introduce science to younger minds and make it as fun and interesting as possible.
WW Perspectives: Why did you choose the WW Teaching Fellowship?
Ian Hansen: It was brought to my attention by the coordinator of the Master’s in Education program at Rutgers. I looked into it and really liked the idea and the movement the program was trying to achieve. I decided it would be an excellent opportunity for me to join the program so I applied.
WW Perspectives: What do you think is the best preparation that you’ve received for the realities of the classroom?
Ian Hansen: Being in the classroom and watching other experienced teachers run a well-managed and structured learning environment, as well as witnessing first-hand the different styles some teachers incorporate in their classrooms to deal with certain situations, is helping me try things on my own and find my own teaching style.
WW Perspectives: What matters most to you about the students you work with?
Ian Hansen: The amount of change and progress I can make with the students since I started teaching them. A successful teacher can make a disruptive and non-engaged class eventually non-disruptive and excited about coming to class and learning as much as they can. I want to see how much better I can become at doing this over time.
WW Perspectives: What is the most rewarding part of the program so far for you?
Ian Hansen: To see how much change and progress you can make in the classroom as a first-time teacher. The first year of learning new ideas and methods can have a unique impact on new teachers and how they try to run their classrooms.
WW Perspectives: What would you say to someone who’s considering becoming a WW Teaching Fellow?
Ian Hansen: I would tell them that they have nothing to lose and everything to gain. It will be an excellent and rewarding experience for them in life. If they are looking to inspire young minds and enjoy teaching science or math then this is their path in life.
Interviews have been edited for length and clarity.