Yale New Teachers Online Packet

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    Center for Teaching and Learning   The Yale Teaching Center and the Yale Center for Teaching and Learning Present Teaching at Yale Day Monday, August 25, 2014 Hall of Graduate Studies    Additional Materials for New Teachers    Center for Teaching and Learning   Teaching at Yale Day Fall 2014 Hello and Welcome! If you’re reading this packet, you are preparing for a uniquely challenging and rewarding experience — your first semester teaching Yale undergraduates. The primary goal of Teaching @  Yale Day is to address your concerns, reduce your anxieties, and provide you with practical tools and resources to ensure smooth sailing in the crucial first weeks of the semester. This packet contains today’s schedule, some helpful teaching tips, and a feedback form. You can also find additional resources online at, such as information-packed handouts with pointers for engaging undergraduates and Becoming Teachers: The Graduate Student Guide to Teaching at Yale University,  written by wise and experienced teaching fellows. As a first-time TF, you may want to jump straight to “Chapter 2: Teaching the First Class”; you might also peruse Appendix C to review sample policy sheets you might adapt for your own section or class. If you can’t find something you need, you can always email us a If you’ve been at Yale, you might notice that the Yale Teaching Center (YTC) has become part of the consolidated Yale Center for Teaching and Learning ( Graduate student TFs and instructors will continue to be served by professional development workshops and programs in teaching, such as the popular Certificate in College Teaching Preparation. We’ll ensure that you stay informed about our programs and services during the coming academic year. Remember: this is YOUR day, and we invite you to get as much out of it as you can. Your questions, participation, and feedback are welcome throughout! Be sure to join us for lunch and chat with the CTL fellows who lead this season’s Fundamentals of Teaching workshop series. We look forward to supporting you and wish you an excellent first semester of teaching. Sincerely,  Jenny Frederick, Risa Sodi, Alexia Ferracuti, and the entire CTL staff    Center for Teaching and Learning   Top Fifteen Teaching Tips 1.   Learn as much as you can about your students — both about their personal interests (to facilitate conversation and tailor examples) and about their educational background (to assess the variety in skill level among the students). 2.   Make your expectations clear from the beginning and put them in writing. This will save  you a lot of potential headache later. 3.   Let your passion and enthusiasm show. It is just as important as your mastery of the material. 4.    Aim for variety (lecture, discussion, group work, individual presentation, etc.) in an individual class period and across the week. Variety keeps things interesting and allows you to accommodate different learning styles. 5.   Illuminate patterns by situating each lesson within the context of the overall course. 6.   Incorporate transferable skills (clarity in writing and speaking), which will serve students in all classes. 7.   If you detect a “problem student,” respond as quickly as possible. Such problems usually only get worse. Contact his or her dean and write a midterm report. 8.    When evaluating student work, always begin with the positive, point out the overarching or repeated errors, and make specific suggestions for improvement. 9.   For each class, plan a beginning, middle, and end, and a contingency plan. 10.   Challenge the students. Answer questions with other questions. Provide them with the necessary materials to draw their own conclusions and to analyze material on their own. 11.   Focus on clarity of presentation. Make your goals for each class explicit, and lead your students through the material accordingly. 12.   Be flexible. Adjusting to unexpected situations and thinking on your feet are key. 13.   Learn the Yale system (namely how and when to contact the College Deans) and how to use the Classes Server ( 14.   Take advantage of Yale’s resources. Go visit the many galleries and special collections at, for instance, the Beinecke, the Yale Art Gallery, and the Center for British Art. 15.   Seek out the resources of the Yale Teaching Center! We have lots of files, teaching books, and electronic resources for all your teaching needs. We’re in HGS 120 or can be reached at    Center for Teaching and Learning   Preparing for the First Day of Class 1.   Prepare a policy sheet with relevant information (section goals and expectations, meeting times and locations, contact information, office hours and address, etc.). You may want to post this on the Classes*v2 server. 2.   Check out the room where you will be teaching. Make sure you can access the building/room and gather the materials you will need. Verify that you have access to the technology that you will need and that it works. 3.   Get a class roster (a photo roster is available on Classes*v2). Familiarize yourself with the pronunciation of students’ names. Practice matching names and faces. 4.   Prepare to collect some basic information from your students (e.g., on index cards). 5.   Make sure you know the following (much of which the faculty member will need to provide or clarify): ã   Course name and number ã   Prerequisites ã   How section or laboratory connects to/supports the lecture course ã   Required and recommended texts, materials (bring examples) ã   Information on the professor’s course syllabus ã   Critical dates for withdrawal deadlines, exams, etc. ã   How to deal with students who show up unexpectedly (add/wait policies) ã   Course assignments/projects and grading policy ã    Availability of extra resources (tutors, test files, etc.) ã    Attendance and make-up policies ã   Details for relevant homework/problem sets (grading, late penalties) ã   The Yale policy concerning academic honesty and your role as a TF 6.   Develop some goals for each day, and for the term overall. Write them down. 7.   PLAN the first day of class—what you will do, schedule your time. Consider the objectives: ã   Introduce yourself and have students introduce themselves to each other. ã   Tell students about the class goals and routine as well as your expectations of them. ã   Provide a sample of the course content. ã    Answer students’ questions and calm their anxieties about the class. 8.   Develop a few safety nets for yourself in case your plan fails. Have a few backup activities planned just in case you need to pull another trick out of the hat.

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