Feb 22, 2010

By: Erin Millar
Published in The Globe & Mail on February 22, 2010

The passionate teacher
When Nora Franzova finished graduate school at the University of Rochester in New York State, she faced a difficult choice: she had a job offer from a large consulting firm to be an actuary, one the highest paid gigs a mathematician can score. But she knew from her experience tutoring that she loved teaching. "When I was doing research and teaching courses in graduate school, teaching was much more alive for me. It had the spark." So she forwent the fat actuary paycheque and applied to colleges, eventually landing a job teaching mathematics and statistics at Langara Community College in Vancouver.


One of the advantages college instructors have over university professors in the classroom is that without having to bear the constant pressure of scholarship, they are free to focus exclusively on teaching. Dr. Franzova continuously studies the latest education research and experiments with new techniques in the classroom, something she says her university professor husband is not able to find time for with his busy research schedule.

To Margaret Heldman, Langara's acting dean of instruction, the fact that Dr. Franzova proactively chose teaching over research or the private sector is a testament to the passion she has for educating. "She inspires her students. She is able to make that connection with the people who sit in front of her for four hours a week, every week for 13 weeks."