What does being an educator mean to you?
I had the desire to teach from the beginning. My field has always fascinated me and when I discovered something new and interesting, I felt the need to pass it on. And I still enjoy that very much to this day.
What would be missing in your life if you didn´t teach?
I was always happy that I could combine everything I enjoyed in my profession. I liked the research and the routine work where you see what it's useful for. But without teaching, it's like a colour has disappeared from my life. Teaching in itself is very forward thinking. Because if you want to explain something to someone, you have to have a much deeper understanding of the subject than if you just think about it yourself. Being in front of students has always made me think about things in a deeper and more structured way. Moreover, the discussions with the audience and their feedback always give me ideas and inspiration for further work on myself.
How do you feel about the fact that our student teachers often say that they can't actually imagine doing anything else?
I can understand that very well. It may not be the most valued profession in our society, but the inner satisfaction that teaching brings is great and gives meaning to life. For me, the opportunity to teach is of great value.
What do you think is the mission of teaching?
It is beautiful to impart knowledge and share the fascination of knowledge. Bringing knowledge is a wonderful thing.
Thank you for the interview.
You can read Jana Šmardová's experience with balancing family and work life on our website dedicated to women in science here.
You can look forward to an interview about her book What Tumours Teach Us − Parallels in Cell and Human Behaviour.