Dr. Nick Lenk, formally a high school science teacher, has joined our department to work alongside students interested in teaching high school. Lenk will work with the students to teach them the importance of being a high school science teacher with a background in physics. For his unique ways of encouraging students to do well in their classes, our new teacher in residence will offer future physics teachers an exciting perspective on being in the classroom and the skills they need to succeed all while having fun and making an impact. In the past he has taught in Fort Collins, CO, Des Moines, IA, Detroit, MI, Chapel Hill, NC, and now Boone! Read below to get to know Dr. Lenk.
Q: What do you love about teaching?
A: So many things! 1. You get to craft your own work environment every day; i.e. you are in control over the culture of your room, and you can make going to work a positive or negative environment for yourself. 2. You get to mentor young people! Giving solicited advice, and being a role model is so important and rewarding. Just by being yourself and holding yourself to your highest standards, you might serve as the students' role model. 3. Sharing your passion (for me, astronomy and physics) with young people. Getting to talk all day about things you really love is really a nice way to make a living in life.
Q: Why should someone become a teacher?
A: Loads of reasons that can differ for everyone. For me it is the enjoyment of mentoring young people, being relatively left alone by bosses, and getting to teach my greatest interests in school. For others it's the early schedule in the day, having the summers off, being a recognizable community member, or the stable (yet not as bad as the common wisdom would suggest) pay that is not recession proof but certainly more stable than corporate career tracks. There is no best reason to want to become a teacher, what matters most is if it works for you. If you can find happiness doing this, you're right for the job!
Q: What is your favorite physics topic?
A: Circuits for physics, stellar life cycles for astronomy!
Q: What is your favorite teaching moment?
A: I'm not sure I have a favorite teaching moment. Too many situations stand out to really pick one. Generally it's just sharing a laugh with my students; or it has to do with the the things I mentioned above, the mentoring and encouraging of young people every day and having the control to create a work environment that works for you and pushes your students forward.