Teaching my first college class

Discussion in 'College' started by Brendan, Jan 7, 2010.

  1. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    Jan 7, 2010

    A good friend and former co-worker of mine is now the History Department Chair at a local college. She asked me to pick up a Western Civ. Survey Level class for second semester. While I have taught High School History for years this will be my first college class to teach since the I taught a course at a community college when I was getting my JD. Any suggestions, warnings, etc. would be greatly appreciated. I'm not worried about the content as I wrote my thesis for my PhD was on the Reformation, but the whole format will be different from what I am used to.
     
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  3. Jenstc2003

    Jenstc2003 Companion

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    Jan 7, 2010

    Sounds exciting and I wish you all the best!! I wish I had some good advice... sadly I have yet to teach my first college class, so I really don't have any- just good wishes! Hopefully I will be in your shoes here very shortly.
     
  4. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    Jan 7, 2010

    I teach 2 classes, I don't have any input, particularly if you've taught at the college level before. I find there to be less "hassle" than teaching high school because there is less paperwork etc
     
  5. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Jan 7, 2010

    My advice, as a grad student, is to be prepared. Adults don't like to feel their time is wasted even if they might waste yours. Make your expectations very clear from the beginning. Most importantly , I read something one time that hit home with me. The biggest difference between a child learner and an adult learner is that a child accepts that they are learning because they are supposed to. An adult wants to know how it is relevant to them right now. Of course you are teaching history, not a skill they might use at their current job but at the same time, you want to make the information relevant to them as well as engaging. I'm sure that's not anything new for you. If you can keep high school kids on task, you should be fine with adults. One thing though that I hear from college students often is the teacher wasn't prepared, didn't make their expectations clear or the class feels like a waste of time. So that's all the advice I can give you.

    My favorite college professors utilize some of the same techniques you would use in a younger class to keep kids interested in our class too (ie, hands on, attention getters, using personal connections, etc.). I also like teachers who allow room for student directed discussions but not everybody is into that and some might even feel that wastes their time. That's just a difference in people's learning styles.

    One big hint though is go ahead and explain the major points on the syllabus. You don't have to read every point on it, but do go over it. People don't always read all of it and if they do, they might still overlook it. Plus some remember better with it being said out loud. Don't spend a 3 hour class on it though. Then it gets too long, drawn out and people WILL roll their eyes. Instead you want to spend a little time letting them get to know you, each other, and why this class is going to be very interesting and worth taking.
     
  6. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Jan 7, 2010

    Make sure everything is clearly spelled out in your syllabus, then stick to it. The most annoying things my colleagues did was get wishy washy in the way they graded, then all heck broke loose at the end of the term. Beyond that, be prepared and stay on topic. I can't stand it when professors ramble on and on about non-related things. I don't mind a straight lecture, as long as it stays on topic. A survey class is usually so jam packed with information that its hard to have a lot of in-depth discussions. Don't worry if you feel like the class is flying by. It has to in order to get !
     
  7. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    Jan 7, 2010

    No class discussion is going to be awfully hard for me, I hate just straight lecture lol. But grading I am very explicit on so I' not going to worry.
     
  8. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jan 7, 2010

    No advice, but have a blast Brendan!!!

    I have a feelng this wil be a lot of fun for you!!
     
  9. SwOcean Gal

    SwOcean Gal Devotee

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    Jan 7, 2010

    Wow! Congrats! That is super exciting! Sorry no advice, just wanted to congratulate you! That is very cool!
     
  10. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    Thanks everyone. Luckily the course textbook is the American Pageant which I've used for years.
     
  11. HMM

    HMM Cohort

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    Jan 7, 2010

    Cool...Have fun!
     
  12. Ross

    Ross Comrade

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    Jan 8, 2010

    Allow for an occasional "war story" based on your experiences with the subject matter. But be careful not to use them too frequently or get carried away with them.

    This is a great opportunity for you. Enjoy!
     

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