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More Tips for New Teachers

Teaching for the first time can be a daunting experience. As you begin this new journey, consider the following suggestions, which are based on an article in The Chronicle of Higher Education by Rob Jenkins.

  1. Do what you say you are going to do. Be consistent.
    It is much easier to strictly adhere to your policies if you do so from the start. In other words, "Mean till Halloween." You can always ease up if needed, but it's difficult to do the opposite. When developing assignments, policies, etc., build in enough flexibility so that you don't have to consider exceptions. For example, it's much easier to throw out the lowest quiz score than constantly offer make up exams.
    If you are considering modifying any policies, consult with your colleagues first and make that decision privately, then present it to your students along with your rationale.
  2. Keep an appropriate distance.
    In other words, don't try to be their buddy, but, conversely, don't be so distant that you appear aloof and unapproachable. It's a fine line to walk, but worth it. Also, avoid socializing with students at non college-sponsored events.
  3. Keep in mind that your students are generally freshman and sophomores versus graduate students and that they are taking other courses and/or juggling other responsibilities. Consequently, design assignments and activities with "realistic expectations."
  4. Appear confident.
    While you may feel nervous, act confident in your abilities. Furthermore, don't apologize for being new or even announce it. Instead, let your students see your enthusiasm for your subject.

For other suggestions, see the following Teaching Tips

Suggestions for the First Day of Class

Tips for New (and Not so New) Teachers

Establishing Ground Rules on the First (or Second) Day of Class

Strategies for Improving Class Attendance

Strategies for Creating a Positive Learning Environment


Jenkins, Rob. "Tips for New Teachers at Community Colleges." Do Your Job Better. The Chronicle of Higher Education, 2009. Web. 17 Aug. 2009.

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