In providing these useful tips, Provost Wylie has built on the valuable recommendations handed down by several provosts before her.Wylie
Main Message: Being a good teacher is not hard. All you need to do is: take your job seriously,prepare before you go to class, make yourself available to students, and treat the students with respect. Being a great teacher takes a lot more.
Beginning of the Semester
0. Hand out a course syllabus at the first class, andfollow it.
1. Let the students know what is expected of them(the material they will learn, the homework, exams,lab reports, etc.)
2. At your first class, state clearly the method bywhich grades will be determined. Do not changethis method later in the semester.
3. Specify important dates (exams, project due dates)at the first class. Be considerate of students'constraints (e.g., religious holidays).
4. Come to class early, begin class on time, and endclass on time. Stay a few minutes at the end ofeach class to answer questions, address concerns,etc.
5. Start each class with a brief review of what wascovered in the last class and what you expect tocover in this one.
6. Go over the material to be covered before eachclass/lab. Rehearse your presentation.Understand the material yourself before you try toteach it.
7.Treat every question as a good question, nomatter how bad you might think the question reallyis.
8. Make the material easier, not harder for yourstudents. Education is not a rite of passage – thegoal is knowledge transfer and intellectual growth.
9. Make eye contact with your students as you teach– you will be able to tell whether they understandyou from the look on their faces. In a large class,restlessness usually means you need to try a newapproach to the material.
10. Use the same notation, terms, etc., as are used inthe textbook or reading assignments. Beconsistent. Refer to the textbook specifically.
11. Don't assume that your class is the only one yourstudents are taking.
12. Make sure your exams are well thought out, andallow all students to show how much they havelearned. Consider questions with multiple partsthat start easy and get harder.
13. Do not use problems from previous exams on yourexams. Take the time to write original questionsand problems. However, it is reasonable to repeatquestions used earlier in the semester on the finalexam.
14. Be just in your grading. Students who do bettershould get better grades.
15. Return all homework, lab reports, and exams thevery next class. Make yourself available tostudents who want to discuss your grading of theirexam/assignment/lab report. If you make amistake grading an exam/assignment/lab report,correct your mistake.
16. Never turn a student away from your door, even ifthey come outside of stated office hours.
17. Identify those students who are having troublewith your class/ lab early in the semester, andmeet with them individually to address theseproblems. Offer to give them extraproblems/assignments if appropriate.
18. Get to know your students, but don't encouragepersonal relationships with them. Remember thatyou are in a position of authority over them, andany personal overtures to them on your part couldbe misinterpreted.
19. Remember everything your professors did thatyou didn't like when you were an undergraduate,and don't do those things.
20. Take pride in how many students do well in yourcourse, not in how many do poorly.
21. Bring the best out of your students. Great teachersdo this well.
havefun! There is nothing more gratifying than being an effective teacher.