Preparing to Teach
Here is a simple plan of action to assist you planning your classes.
- Identify the week's topic from the course guide.
- Identify 1-2 teaching points from the week's topic.
- Decide how you will teach/demonstrate the teaching points.
- Make sure you have all the relevant resources (including room location, session time and keys), have worked through all the student tasks/activities and have pre-empted student questions.
- Plan how you will evaluate the lesson and your teaching.
1. Why are course guides so important?
Course guides provide students and instructors with a road map for the semester. They should clearly set out the:
- What (course objectives)
- When (clear plans/dates for lectures, tutorials and assessments)
- How (lecture topics, tutorial topics, reading lists, assessments)
- As a sessional staff member, the course guide should be your first point of call if you have a query about the structure, focus or goals of the course. If you need further clarification of details in the course guide, contact the Course Coordinator.
2. What if the students ask me a question I don't know how to answer?
Although this can feel like a scary situation, it is actually a positive opportunity to build collaboration between students and develop a positive classroom culture of inquiry. Here are some tips for dealing with the situation:
- Most importantly, do not dismiss or put off the student’s question.
- Be honest if you don’t know the answer and consider turning the question over to the class; someone may know the answer and willingly share it with the group. This will not only make the student feel valued, but will show the other students that you value students engaging and questioning their learning.
- If no-one can answer the question, consider setting it as a mini homework assignment and ask everyone to report back next week. If you decide to do this, promise that you too will research the answer so you can lead a class discussion or demonstration next time.