Preparing to Teach

One of the anxiety producing parts of a new job is getting the teaching right for that school. There are a number of things you can do.

1. Find out your schedule and what books are used for the courses you are going to teach.

2. Ask who has taught the course(s) well recently.

3. Contact that person and ask for advice on pacing, homework, tests, grading policy, attendance policy, and what is required to be handed out the first day.

4. Use the information from 3 to plan the semester so that the material is covered at a reasonable rate while leaving time for answering questions, reviewing, and giving and going over tests.

5. Have the homework for the first few weeks, or the semester, chosen before you start.

6. Find out if there are rules as to the use of blue books that they buy or copying tests onto paper on which the students work.

7. Find out if there are standard paragraphs that have to be on a first day handout.

8. Even if not required, have a first day handout that includes how to reach you, your office number and building, your office hours, the required book(s) for the course, and any policies you want to have.
This handout can be put on your website as a .pdf file if your school’s budget is tight on paper usage.

9. Have at least your first two lectures prepared before school starts.

This is not a comprehensive list but a start. Feel free to post questions and other suggestions.

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