Great Beginnings: Things to do early on in your class

First Impressions

-Arrive early and put information on the board

-Start class on time

-Hand out an informative and user-friendly syllabus (if it's your own class)

-Let your students see the enthusiasm you have for your subject

Building Community

-Greet students at the door and chat with students as they arrive

-Introduce yourself and your interest in the class

-Tell about your current research interests and your own beginnings in the discipline

-Take attendance to learn names

-Use an icebreaker to help students learn each others' names

-Make collaborative assignments for several students to work on together

Course Logistics

-Tell students what will be expected of them with regard to attendance, grading, participation, assignments, and late work policies

-Tell students what they can expect of you with regard to office hours, reading drafts, calling on students, accessibility at home

-Explain the difference between legitimate collaboration and academic dishonesty

-Organize your class and provide structure by posting the day's "menu" on the board or overhead

Challenging Students

-Have students write out their expectations for the course and their own goals for learning

-Hit the ground running on the first class with substantial content

-Relate course material to students' interests and experience

-Give students two passages of material containing alternative views to compare and contrast

-Have students apply subject matter to solve real problems

-Ask students to fill in an index card telling you something about their backgrounds

Encouraging Active Learning

-Have students write their questions on index cards to be collected and answered the next class

-Encourage group work and active discussion to accomplish specific objectives

-Put students into pairs or "learning cells" to quiz each other over material for the day

-Move around your classroom

-Give students a take-home problem relating to the day's material

Remember the Golden Rules of Teaching:

-Be prepared

-Be honest

-Be creative