The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Breaking geology down in class

Josh Fairbanks, instructor of Earth Science and Environmental Geology, has a teaching style that many of his students enjoy. 
Justin Gladney/The Collegian
Josh Fairbanks, instructor of Earth Science and Environmental Geology, has a teaching style that many of his students enjoy. Justin Gladney/The Collegian

By Shirlett Warren/nw news editor

The majority of students who take Earth Science are not science majors, but that doesn’t stop Josh Fairbanks from trying to make the subject relevant to his students.

“I hate to see a bored student,” said the NW geology instructor. “I never stop trying to reach them.”

Fairbanks wants to make an impact and said teaching is not just a job for him, but a calling.

“It’s what drives me, and I put everything I’ve got into it,” he said.

Josh Fairbanks, instructor of Earth Science and Environmental Geology, has a teaching style that many of his students enjoy.
Justin Gladney/The Collegian

Prior to teaching, Fairbanks worked for eight years as a geologist for an environmental consulting firm. His clients were property owners and developers.

“My job was to define areas of contamination and to develop clean-up project strategies,” he said. “Then, I’d have to report my findings to the state.”

He said it was a meaningful, but stressful job.

“I bought a truck and put 200,000 miles on it in three years,” he said. “And I hadn’t even paid it off.”

Fairbanks said he quickly decided that if he was going to spend all his time at work, he wanted to see daily, tangible results.

“I started teaching as an adjunct instructor here at TCC, and then I got lucky and was hired full-time,” he said.

Many people told him he wouldn’t make money as a teacher.

“I don’t look at it like that,” he said. “I hate ‘stuff,’ and the less I have, the happier I am. This is the greatest job in the world.”

Fairbanks’ enthusiasm for teaching earned him a 4.9 out of 5 ranking with his students on RateMyProfessors.com. He scored a 4.9 for helpfulness, a perfect 5.0 score for clarity and a 4.0 for easiness. He even received the “hotness” rating on the popular website and was described by a former student as “Brad Pitt with a beard.”

“I don’t pay any attention to that stuff,” he said. “It’s sort of embarrassing.”

Fairbanks wants to be an exemplary teacher and said he’d do something entirely different from teaching if he ever felt he was losing touch with his students.

Emilee Rush, one of Fairbanks’ students, said she likes his teaching style.

“This is my second time taking a geology course with him,” she said. “He’s very competent in his knowledge and confident with how he presents information, which helps make learning more interesting.”

Fairbanks said he learns by going through logical steps in his head.

“And the steps have to be clear, so that’s how I try to teach,” he said.

Ronald Johnson, a NW dance major, said Fairbanks is one of the better teachers he has.

“He just breaks things down in a way that I can understand,” he said.

Political science major Ashley Johnson simply said, “He’s a beast.”

Fairbanks sees change in his future.

“As I get older, my students will be younger, so I’m always going to have to adjust,” he said. “I want to be an advocate for students. I don’t want an adversarial relationship with them.”

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