Saturday, July 13, 2019

AFA Q and A : Question from A New Instructor Who Hasn't Taught Before, July 13, 2019

The reply I gave to a new instructor who has never taught a university class, and who only has 5 weeks to prep, doesn't seem to "save" on the post about classroom prep hours. So, I'm including it here in this post, without the more detailed research I'd like to do. Here is the link to the article, with the instructor's question at the end of the article, following other postings

Hello and Thank you for your note. I'd love to research and give you lots of advice, and will do so in a week or so. Meanwhile, it's very astute of you to ask for the syllabus from other teachers. The department chair could also provide syllabus examples, and types of assignments, whether graded or not. Work on your research for the subject of the course. This will give you knowledge and confidence. Also, keep any communications regarding offering you the part-time position. (If it was only spoken, then email back to whoever hired you, and confirm what was said in the email. Did they give you a contract? If so, make about 5 copies for your records. Regarding calendars, I like to keep two: one monthly for an overall view, and one weekly for more details. Each day you will teach, write the time and subject: for example, 10:00 Eng 101. Then, you might also have a binder/notebook, a teaching log, with the days and dates of your class meetings. Write the day and date at the top. You are ready to add curriculum plans and extra info, such as holidays and other school events. There is a lot of record keeping in teaching. Keep everything, note everything, on your teaching log and/or monthly/weekly calendars. You can note student absences and/or possible discipline issues. Plan assignments so that you can quickly return them. It's a challenge to return assignments in two days, but if possible, the quick return helps keep the learning fresh. Regarding teaching, you could do online research for classroom managements skills for a university. However, your university should have a student and faculty handbook, either hard copy or online. This should clearly outline classroom expectations, and helps provide clear guidelines for all. You will discover that teaching even one class is not part-time, as it's easy to think about the class a lot. We all try to work to limit this energy, and keep energy for our other jobs and our private lives. We all must stay healthy, take care of ourselves, and plan recreation time. Regarding going into the classroom to teach for the first time, remember you are the captain of this ship. You could share with the students that you are up on the topic and current research, but new to teaching. Students know when we make mistakes or don't know something, so I've found it's best to share this. When I haven't known the answer to a question, I tell the class I'll research it, and try to answer next class. This seemed to be ok with my students. Some of them will do their best to help you. Remember to keep everything, including a record of your prep time. Try not to worry, as it doesn't do any good. Teaching is like surfing: sometimes we get knocked over by little or big waves. Sometimes, we get a lovely smooth, and energetic ride. You are strong and you can do this. Just don't forget to keep and record everything.

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