Welcome New Teachers
My last blog was addressed to students entering our
profession. This one is dedicated to new teachers joining the academic field.
As a student, I experienced a typical mixture of teachers and different
teaching styles. When I became one, I learned many instructional techniques to
adopt in my classroom, and other teaching styles to avoid.
The first year in academe is critical. Experiences gained during
this period of time can start a promising teaching career with continued growth
and development. On the other hand, unpleasant experiences can lead to road
blocks and the possible early exit of an academic career.
Most new teachers enter their classrooms with fear and anxiety.
No one wants to look like a fool, so new faculty better be prepared to face their
students. It is OK if you cannot answer all the questions, but never neglect or
ignore these questions. Research them and provide the answers at the next class
There is a monumental difference between like and respect.
You have to establish this relationship between you and your students early on
and you want to keep it balanced. You are starting a new, long lasting relationship
with your students, one that is more than a simple friendship.
Go to class with a relaxed attitude. Remember, you are an
expert in the subject you are teaching and students are expecting to learn from
you and your experiences. Once you accomplish this atmosphere, you will
gradually build up your confidence level and your meetings with the students
will get more exciting.
PowerPoint is a great teaching tool, but you need to use it
wisely. Busy slides are mode killers and can put the brightest students to
sleep fairly quickly. Never read your lecture notes and always maintain eye
contact with students. Engage the students in questions and exercises. Have
them express their opinions and feelings. However, you are in control when
things get out of hand.
The first few days and meetings are all important, not
because you have miraculously just learned a new development in your subject
matter, important as that may be, but because you're establishing the ground
rules for your classroom. In this period of time, students are interested to
see your ability to manage the class effectively. So, keep it simple! Soon you
will find that teaching can be fun and you will enjoy devoting time and energy
to it. Once some comfort is achieved, you can start thinking about the larger
Go ahead and enjoy your first days. You will always look
back and reflect on these days.