An interview with Ybor prof. Mike Rabaut, HCC’s 2013 National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) Excellence Award recipient for his contribution to teaching excellence
What inspires you to teach?
I was never any good in school; not bad, but never any good. Because of that I wasn’t allowed to venture into more advanced subject matter than the basics.... which I found boring. When I entered college I had no real math or science classes so most academic programs weren’t open to me. Only by accident did I get into the Engineering department when they neglected to review my academic record. This turned out to be the best thing that could have happened to me. There I was befriended by an elderly Professor who made it his mission in life to educate me; I’m sure he violated every academic protocol at the school to make sure I received an education. Because of him I developed a love of learning, the ability to take risks, and the desire to help students as he helped me.
Did you leave another field to go into teaching?
Trained as a Physicist I’d done research work in that area but after I graduated from college a friend asked if I would take over a teaching position at a local High School. And that's all she wrote.
What experience/s shaped your passion for your subject?
I’m a curious person with many interests, which is why I went into science in the first place. Teaching allows me to pursue those interests on many levels, and as an instructor pass on what I learn to my students. I take great pride and joy in seeing the students learn and accomplish things.
What approach and/ methods do you use to motivate your students?
I’m a classroom teacher versus a presenter of information. I enjoy interacting and challenging my students, and I structure the class to the pace of their progress. This allows them the opportunity to succeed by using different teaching methods. I want to teach students to think in the area of the subject matter, not to just memorize it. Although I’ve developed and tried many different instructional technologies, there’s nothing like the face to face interaction to put passion, emotion, values, and ethics into the learning process.
"Engineers build worlds, but it’s the artists that make them livable....." Ekim Tuabar
Article written by: Ybor City Campus Staff