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Tips for New (and Not so New) Teachers

Teaching college students for the first time is both exciting and challenging. Here are a few suggestions you might consider if you are new (or not so new) to teaching.

  1. Meet with an experienced instructor to learn how they evaluate students, handle disruptions, present difficult material, etc. Your chairperson, and/or team leader may be able to direct you to a "seasoned" instructor.
  2. Try to make the process of grading as unbiased as possible by covering the student's name until you have assigned a grade.
  3. If you notice a large percentage of the students are producing below average work, ask yourself the following questions: Do I have realistic expectations? Are my expectations clear? Is there something else the students could do to help them better prepare for exams, assignments, etc.?
  4. Regularly ask students for feedback regarding their learning through an assessment activity such as the "One-Minute Paper." Stop the class a few minutes early and ask students to anonymously respond to some variation of one of the following questions. Have them write their response on a half sheet of paper and hand it in on their way out. Compile the results and note any trends. Be sure to begin your next class session by sharing any trends, and addressing questions and/or areas of difficulty. If you follow up with your students and "close the loop," they will provide constructive feedback the next time you ask.
    1. What is the most significant thing that you learned today?
    2. What question remains uppermost in your mind?
    3. Jot down three or four key concepts or main ideas from today's class.
    4. What concept is giving you the most difficulty?
    5. How are the questions asked during class contributing to your learning?
    6. What did you learn today that you think is totally unimportant?
    7. What mannerisms do I have that interfere with your learning?
    8. Complete the following statement: "As I understand it, the main idea or concept of today's lesson was ..." Or, "An application of the ______________is ..."
    9. What did you learn today that you will use/apply?

References

Angelo, Thomas A., and K. Patricia Cross. Classroom Assessment Techniques: A Handbook For College Teachers. 2nd ed. San Francisco: Jossey, 1993. Print.

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