As I prepare for teaching new classes in the Fall, I have appreciated how valuable it is to get the insights and advice of other teachers who have more experience studying what I will teach, teaching what I will teach, and using techniques that I want to try. In this vein, here are a few ways that I have found useful for getting his advice:
- Asking my future colleagues, via email or in person. This is especially useful for understanding how the courses have been taught before, what types of assignments and instruction methods students will expect, and how to make my class fit within the existing curriculum.
- Asking my current colleagues. I know who has tried what techniques at my current institution and it is a comfortable place to throw around ideas and get frank feedback to my brainstorming.
- Blogs and newsletters about teaching. This is where I developed my idea about using concept maps to help my mythology students make connections.
- Google. I’m grateful that a friend reminded me that there is a plethora of syllabi, course descriptions, and course websites on the Internet. These are a great way to see how and what other people are teaching, as well as to get ideas for reading assignments, activities, and exercises.
- Listen and be open to new ideas. There are many, many conversations or links that I have followed that have made me think: oh, this would be awesome for teaching! I just had to be open to that idea.