How one professor at iUniversity is adding fun into schooltime


Sometimes we simply dread school; this feeling has happened, or is going to happen, to all of us at some point. There will be times where we don’t feel like joining our live lessons, completing our assignments, or we just want a break from it all. But when one professor here at iUPrep comes around, we can’t help but smile. Mr. Duban can make his students truly laugh and enjoy themselves on the worst of days, never failing to spread joy anywhere he goes. 



Mr. Duban teaches 7th grade Science, Psychology, Integrated Chemistry and Physics, Earth and Space Science, and Economics. He is also the “CEO” of the chess club here at iUP. Which means that not only does he teach many classes, but he finds a way to make each class as great as the one before! How does Mr. Duban do it? I had the chance to ask him some questions and see how he manages his numerous positions. 

First, I asked him what motivated him to teach, and he responded saying that he can relate to middle and high schoolers, knowing how they struggle. He told me,“I know the feeling of being really confident and enjoying a course but also what it is like to be confused and frustrated. So I empathize with all sorts of students and want everyone to experience that sense of confidence and understanding no matter the subject.” 

Although different teachers and professors are motivated by different things, personal experiences definitely affect and benefit the students, since it helps the teachers know exactly how the students feel and know how to best help them. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg. 



We all love to learn new and interesting things; it makes us ponder the thought, wonder deeper, and want to find out more. Mr. Duban has found balance between fun and fact, making sure to always include laughter when teaching! When asked how he manages to make learning fun, he said,“I try to make my class enjoyable by finding relevant material to discuss. Science is always advancing and there is so much left to discover. So on top of basic understanding of the material, I love and encourage when my students think of interesting questions that could possibly change the world one day! Also, there are so many unique students with really interesting backgrounds at this school that make discussions really fun and engaging, so I feel like part of the fun in the class is thanks to the students too!” 

And finally, I asked him what advice he would give students struggling in class. “My big tip if you are frustrated in a course is to reach out to your teacher! We are here to help, and it might just take a minute to clear up a misconception!” Mr. Duban said. He also mentioned personal struggles he had and how he overcame them, saying, “[In] college if I had trouble understanding material, I would watch videos that started off really simple explaining the material and then find more advanced videos once I had a good basic understanding.” In the end, he wants his students to know that they aren’t alone, help is always available! 



Any student who knows Mr. Duban knows how special and encouraging he is. In fact, I spoke with Mr. Duban’s former student Nathan Janak (see “The Sensation of Nathan”) about his experiences in Mr. Duban’s class. When asked about what his favorite part of Mr. Duban’s class was, Nathan said, “Mr. Duban was such a welcoming and inclusive teacher who really brought an interactive setting in his classroom.” He also added that, “It was informational but also engaging.” Class wasn’t the only time when he found himself encouraged to learn more. When school work got challenging, Nathan looked towards Mr. Duban for help, and Nathan says that “He was so encouraging and supportive through everything,” and “he was always there to provide support and do whatever [I needed] to make sure I understood what was being presented.” Nathan acknowledged that even though it’s been a couple years since he was in Mr. Duban’s class, he still remembers that Mr. Duban, “emphasized the importance of teamwork and cooperation with other students.” 

I also spoke with current student Ayaan Moledina, 7th grader and 5th-8th grade representative for Wisely’s Parliament. Ayaan started off by telling his favorite thing about Mr. Duban’s class, saying, “Mr. Duban’s jokes are what make his class so fun…and his really cool triple backflips.” (That’s right, Mr. Duban’s famous triple or quadruple backflips, which according to him, he can only do very few times, and for some reason unknown to us, his camera always seems to glitch out when he does them, meaning that no student has ever truly seen it, if you know what I mean.) Ayaan also expressed how this fun time in class has helped him learn, saying, “I think Mr. Duban tries to make learning fun, which is such an important part of learning. He makes class so much fun, which is why I think I have learned the most from his class than any other.” However, this gift of kindness isn’t expressed in just class; when I asked Ayaan how Mr. Duban helps him, he said, “No matter the time of day, he always takes the time to give really thoughtful answers and always makes sure I understand what I am learning. And sometimes, he calls just to give encouragement and tell me that I am rocking it. That brightens my day and inspires me.” 

Both of the students above said that they have always loved spending time in Mr. Duban’s class, Nathan saying, “He was just so amazing! Always cherished my 7th grade year and Mr. Duban was a huge reason why,” and Aayan also expressed his gratitude by saying, “I am so grateful for his patience and help throughout the year.” I also personally have Mr. Duban as a professor, and have also worked closely with him. The environment that he makes for his classroom is something that cannot be described in words. It feels as though in his class it is easier to smile and laugh. Any and all bad feelings go away at the first hint of a joke. We are very grateful for all our professors’ compassion, kindness, and positive attitudes! Thank you Mr. Duban and all our owlsome professors for making iUP the best it can be!