26 November 2019
I'm a graduate of ARU so when I was offered the chance to teach engineering here, I was delighted and accepted it instantly.
When I was at college myself, we were told to apply for university. At this point in my life I wanted to be a vet but thought I was too young to decide exactly what career I wanted to do. But I knew I wanted to look forward to coming to work!
From a very young age I was always keen on design, playing with Lego, building things, taking things apart... the annoying child that asked ‘Why?’ ‘Why does it look like that’, ‘Why does it do this?’ It was that interest in knowing why things happen and the realisation that everything around us has been designed in a particular way, that led me to choose engineering. It's also why design interests me the most.
So I applied to study engineering at university, completing a three-year Mechanical Engineering degree and a one-year Additive Manufacturing Masters at ARU in Chelmsford. I found all the staff very friendly which made me feel comfortable being here.
Now, as a professional skills tutor, I teach design-based mechanical engineering modules. I also engage in product design-based research projects that the University works on, which is great fun.
It's my responsibility to spend time outside of class helping my students with their work, making sure everything is clear for them and aiding them with anything they have trouble with. Not every student is the same, and one of the biggest challenges as a teacher is to realise this and adapt my teaching style or methods.
The satisfaction of seeing students come into my lesson at the beginning of a module with little or no knowledge, and evolving their skills to become better engineers, is the thing I like most about my job.
Because of background in studying here, my students can take what I say as not just a teacher, but a previous student who has experienced what they are doing.
I treat my students as equals and teach them in a way that helps them feel comfortable learning from me. I'll give more one-to-one time if possible if a student needs it. This can make them engage a lot more, by asking questions and speaking up if they are having issues.
ARU is a very supportive university in general. As both a teacher and a student, there is support for any type of challenge you are facing. ARU will work with you and help you overcome it as best as you can by giving you the knowledge, tools or resources you need.
As well as being supportive, ARU is full of opportunities, offering its students the chance to work in industry or to pursue their own ideas. It aids its students as best as it can from the minute they arrive on our campus to way past their graduation.
My wish for my students is that, like me, they'll choose a career in life that they enjoy. That way, when they wake up on Monday, they'll look forward to coming too, and when they finish on Friday, they can’t wait to start again. Then it will never feel like you work a day in your life.
Sean teaches mechanical engineering at ARU: find out more about our undergraduate engineering courses.