Assistant Professor, Science (Physical Science)
What is special about teaching at Yale-NUS?
Presolski: The students! Even though this is my first full-time teaching and research position, I have had the opportunity to interact with and mentor undergraduates from half a dozen renowned universities in the US, Europe and Asia, but never have I had the pleasure to be surrounded by such a talented, considerate, mature, hard-working and compassionate bunch. Thus, I am inspired and challenged to prepare lecture materials and assignments that go beyond the standard chemistry curriculum and allow them to grow even further as responsible citizens of the world.
How would you describe your teaching style?
Presolski: Intensely stimulating and diverse. Of course, my students are better suited to answer this question, but my goal at least is to always draw connections between the material we need to cover and other courses, disciplines and everyday life. It is such cross-training that I find most memorable a decade after graduating from a small liberal arts college and which gives me the courage to tackle new challenges in my academic, research and personal life.
What have been some of your best moments teaching at Yale-NUS?
Presolski: After a month of what might be described as a crash course in the Foreign Language of Chemistry, students in my Foundations of Science class give short presentations on a molecule of their choice drawing on the concepts that I have covered, but also trying to teach their classmates something new. It is during the Q&A sessions that follow, when I become obsolete during the in-depth discussions between peers, that I feel most pride of what we have achieved.
What is the biggest challenge in regards to teaching?
Presolski: The biggest challenge in teaching at Yale-NUS for me personally is knowing when to step back and bringing myself to actually do it. I am cognizant of the tremendous pressure our students are under with time demands from a wide array of courses, exciting extracurricular activities and, let’s not forget — living in a residential community, where members do support (and distract:) each other around the clock. Yet my various interactions with students are so rewarding, that I still find it hard to strike the right balance of engagement.
What do you wish you knew about teaching when you started that you know now?
Presolski: Honestly, there are so many resources on how to teach effectively (online and through our own Centre for Teaching and Learning) that I am hard-pressed to come up with something that has been omitted, yet that has become obvious to me in my time at Yale-NUS College as an educator. A little curiosity, which took me by surprise though, is the good one hour after each lecture that my brain insists on reserving in order to analyze, contextualize and organize what just happened in class.