The Charger Times

Professor Profile: Jason O’Brien

Jamie Furlong, Staff Writer

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Name: Jason O’Brien

College (Business/Engineering/Education):  College of Education

Alma Mater: University of South Florida

 

Tell Us About Yourself: I am happily married with five kids. I teach education courses here at the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

Interesting Fact: I enjoy working on cars and enjoy restoring Ford Mustangs.

What fueled your passion for teaching/What made you want to teach? I started coaching and realized that it was cool. I was able to get kids to reach that “light bulb moment,” that moment of realization when they understand or comprehend something that they had not understood or comprehended before that moment. I also looked back at the great teachers I had and realized the tremendous impact they had on me, and so I made a decision to try to be a positive influence on my students.

How do you help students succeed in your class(es)? I make content relevant to my students. I use life experiences and situations I have encountered in the classroom to help my students better understand content and teaching. The most important aspect of teaching for me is the relationships I cultivate with my students. I want them to know that I am an advocate for them and that I am here to help them succeed in any way that I can.

What advice do you have for students when trying to pursue a job? Find a career you are passionate about. If you are not happy with your work, then find something that makes you happy. Every morning when I pull into my parking spot I look forward to teaching my classes. I want my students to find that same joy in their lives.

What made you choose to teach at UAH? I received two job offers: one from Illinois State and the other from UAH. I am from Florida and my wife was nervous about surviving winters in the Midwest, so I chose UAH.

What kind of research or student organizations are you involved in? Right now I am in year four of a five-year federal grant called Project HAPPENS. The grant’s purpose is to help teachers more effectively teach English language learners in K-12 classrooms. My co-PI and I have four years’ worth of data and I will be on sabbatical in the fall, so I am looking forward to creating a few manuscripts for publication in the fall.

Why should students take your class (if it’s not required)? My strengths are that I make content relevant and meaningful and that my instruction is pretty engaging (at least I think so). I am crystal clear about expectations and am always available via email or in person to help students with assignments.

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Professor Profile: Jason O’Brien