Monday, June 11, 2018

First Day of Classes

submitted by Peg Balachowski, Associate Dean of Teaching & Learning at EvCC

Day 1 – The Fantasy and the Reality

Among the blogs and listservs that I read is one that, although the primary intended audience is university level faculty, frequently has insights that as someone who works at a community college I can totally relate to. In the most recent edition of the “tomorrows-professor Digest,” (Vol. 118, Issue 9), the author of the article, Kevin Bennett, refers to his many years of classroom experience to offer some wisdom as newly minted instructors begin to think about their first day in the classroom. Here is an excerpt from his post:


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“After several years of graduate school, your department has given you an opportunity to teach your very own college level course! Dig, if you will, this picture: your imagination in overdrive, you see yourself performing captivating oratories on every subject within your academic discipline. No one doubts the almost magical synergy between you and your eager students. They hang on your every word, applaud your insightful and witty comments, and commend you on exam day for a superbly crafted test that challenged their mastery of the material. Perhaps you even remind yourself of the scene from Dead Poets Society where students climb on desks to address “O Captain! My Captain!” Soon this will be you.”

I had to laugh as I read this…yep, that’s exactly how I imagined it would be when I walked into my first college level course all those years ago. Here’s how I imagined myself – a real superhero when it comes to helping students learn math!


“Now come back to reality. Teaching a college level class is no easy task. It requires a great deal of work and preparation just to organize a decent course, let alone make one that will have a lasting impression on students. Are you up to the challenge?”

Delivering Excellent Course Content from the Outset

“Based on my years of experience in the classroom, here is a very brief guide to teaching your first college course. The advice is organized around the themes of first day issues, preparation, and balancing teaching and research.”

Want to learn more about Kevin’s advice (whether you are brand new to teaching or you want to freshen up your approach as you prepare for fall quarter)? Article available here. Sign up for the electronic newsletter (see below).

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