Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Two Teaching Resolutions

This new year of 2011 will see me teaching at a new university, my Grad University.  I will be teaching freshman composition, which I have done before at Community College, but this particular course is laid out in a much different way and stresses very different things.  For this new year and new course, I definitely have some basic resolutions I hope to keep in regards to my teaching.

1.  Be more of a tough guy (or gal).  I know I let my students get away with way too much, and that is going to stop this year.  I know I am not going to completely change my personality, so I will still be more of a laid back teacher than others, but I hope to put my foot down a lot more when the situation calls.  Saddle up pilgrims, because there is a new sheriff in town and you best be listenin' up. (Hmm, I also resolve to never use Old West language again). 
            1b.  This "tough gal" persona will also affect my grading.  I think I may sometimes be an easy grader and this is another bad habit that has to stop.  We did a grading workshop last semester and we were all pretty much on the same page, which made me feel confident in my grading.  However, I felt that I might have been more lenient if I was in an actual class and knew these students.  Not again! 

2.  Grade and prep more effectively.  Or to put it in another way, do not save all grading and prep work to do the day before class.  This semester will mark the first time I have my own office.  Sure, I share it with four or five other grad students, but it is an office nonetheless!  Because of this office, I will also be holding office hours for the first time ever.  Community College never required them, I had no space there, so I was only available by appointment.  However, this semester I am required to sit in that office for so many hours and I am going to use that time wisely!  Here's my plan: I teach three days a week.  After every class, I will go back to the office and work.  I will go over whatever was handed in that day, whatever I may grade for next class, and start prepping.  I will use my time effectively. 

Those really are the two major ones.  I don't think I'll know what else to do with my teaching until I get into the classroom and see how things go.  There are things I want to make sure that I keep doing because I like them in my style.  I want to stay fun, personable, helpful, and sympathetic.  We'll see how things go after that. 


  1. Sounds GREAT!

    Are you planning to let students do revisions? I find that knowing I'll let students revise the first three of the five essays in my comp class means I can set high standards, and they'll mostly revise to meet them, and by the final two papers, most of them are writing well enough that grading isn't as painful. (I require students to highlight the changes in their revisions and to hand in their marked copy with the revisions, so it's not THAT onerous to grade them a second time.)

    Here's wishing you a good semester!

  2. Bardiac-I usually do let students do revisions, but wasn't sure of how to do it this semester. Your way sounds great and I might try it. Usually I let them revise all essays (except the final one) if they got below a B on the paper. I like the idea of having them highlight the changes and of only letting them revise the first three or so of the semester. I think I will try that out this semester!

  3. Good luck with teaching this course! Sounds like a good plan that you've got re: students doing revisions.

  4. Another thing to remember is that these students are not community college students, but folks who are at an R1 university. Running the risk of generalizing, school is their primary concern, they're (largely) residential, and they should have the time and drive to do well. Set your standards accordingly higher.

    And best of luck!