Student: Hey, Brent – So I see you developed this website yourself. Did you actually write all of these dialogues?
Brent: Yes, every one of them.
Student: So basically, all of the subjects on this website are subjects that you know a lot about.
Brent: Yeah, I guess you could say that. I did my undergraduate degree in physics, and then I have a double masters in molecular biology and biochemistry. So math, physics, chemistry, and biology are all subjects that I understand pretty well. At some point, I have taught a course or two in all of them. I also read a lot, so I have a pretty in-depth knowledge of computers and other things like finance and economics. Right now, I’m actually trying to finish up a degree in computer engineering that I started many years ago.
Student: Wow! That’s a lot of degrees! What made you want to go get so many degrees in so many areas.
Brent: Well, when I find out that there’s a subject out there that I don’t understand, I feel this burning desire to go learn about it. I’m a really, really curious person.
Student: So what made you think of making these dialogues?
Brent: I have a graduate minor in philosophy. One time, I read a dialogue that was written by one of my professors. It was about some of the weird things that happen when you try to work with the concept of infinity. I found the dialogue so easy to read, I couldn’t believe my eyes. I said to myself “man, I’ve got to start explaining some of my ideas using this format.”
During one of the semesters that I was teaching chemistry, I started making these dialogues and handing them out to my own students as a way of reducing the number of repeat questions I was getting during my office hours. As I handed out the dialogues, I noticed that students completely stopped coming to my office hours. I also noticed that students were having no problem understanding even some of the most difficult concepts in my class. I asked some of the students how they figured it out, and they said “oh, we just read your dialogues.” A business concept was born!
Student: So you seem to enjoy teaching.
Brent: Absolutely! It’s the most fantastic thing I’ve ever done in my life. I always got a lot of feedback from students saying that I was the only one who could explain things in terms that they could understand. I find that this is mostly because I remember what it was like to not understand the material, and I remember what kinds of questions of my own were going through my mind as I was trying to learn the subject. Virtually all of the “student” questions are questions that either I myself had when I was trying to learn the subject, or they are questions that some student has asked me.
Student: So do you tutor in addition to writing these dialogues?
Brent: In some form or fashion, I will always be in the business of helping people better understand difficult subjects like math and science.
Student: Well thanks for letting me get to know you. You really seem to enjoy teaching.
Brent: Thanks! And, yes I do!
All Pages © 2009 Brent Caldwell