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

South instructor uses laughter to help students grasp biology

By Ashley Wood/south news editor

Part three in a five-part series on winners of the Chancellor’s Award for Exemplary Teaching, an annual recognition of professors who impress and inspire their students.

Biology can be a fascinating subject but also a difficult one for students to grasp.

Biology instructor Kristina Miranda, who won the Chancellor’s Award for South Campus, tries to make the biology classes she teaches engaging for her students.

“Even though it’s difficult information, I try to make it as entertaining and fun as it can be,” she said.

Miranda said she has always been fascinated with the human body, which made her love biology and anatomy.

“I initially thought my undergrad was going to be anatomy, which I’ve taught in the past as well, but the more I studied microbiology, the more interested I was,” she said.

She teaches microbiology, major’s microbiology, nursing microbiology and environmental biology online, which are hard classes to understand, Miranda said.

“Since it’s difficult subjects when we get into molecular and all that stuff, I try to do analogies, memory techniques and lame science jokes, things like that to help them remember,” she said. “I tell them if it’s a stupid way to remember, you’ll remember it, rather than just trying to memorize it.”

Biology instructor Kristina Miranda helps her students with difficult subjects. Brittany Mitchell/The Collegian
Biology instructor Kristina Miranda helps her students with difficult subjects. Brittany Mitchell/The Collegian

Miranda said she does Q&A in class with free response instead of calling students out to answer and also does class discussions.

“The first day of class I always introduce myself, my family and everything so they’re comfortable coming to see me,” she said. “It is difficult stuff, so if you have a question, you need to feel like you can ask it.”

Miranda worked for TCC as an instructional associate who prepped the biology labs before going on to get her master’s degree at the University of Texas at Arlington, where she taught undergrad classes.

Before returning to TCC, she taught at Joshua High School for four years and is now working on her ninth year at South.

Miranda said the award isn’t just for what the teachers do inside the classroom but also outside of it.

“I’ve done a lot of work in the last two years, not only inside the classroom but outside the classroom. I did a lot of Faculty Association work for the district,” she said. “Working with the chancellor and the administrators and things like that to really get the faculty voice heard and out there.”

The focus is back on teaching now, Miranda said.

“Now, I’m doing this majors microbiology course, which we haven’t taught on this campus before, so that’s my main project,” she said.

South student Mallory Ray said she loves how interesting Miranda makes the classes.

“She’s very enthusiastic,” Ray said. “She makes you interested when she teaches.”

Ray said Miranda always ties stories into the lessons they are learning and explains how it can connect with the different degrees available.

South student Jodee Delano said the microbiology class Miranda teaches is interesting, and she keeps it funny.

“She uses a lot of jokes and says to dumb it down because science has big, extravagant words we don’t use every day,” she said.

Delano said she thinks Miranda was nominated because she is so outgoing and good with her students.

“One of her jokes is if a white bear jumps in the water and a black bear jumps in the water, which one is going to dissolve faster? It’s the white bear cause it’s a POLAR bear,” she said. “It’s funny, and it works and helps us to remember.”

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