Advice for New Faculty

Sign: "Advice for New Faculty"

 

"Advice for New Faculty: Six Lessons from the Front Lines" (online article) presents "six lessons learned by two new faculty members who have managed to keep their students learning and their sanity intact":

1. "Colleagues Are Your Absolute Best Resource."

  • "Do not be afraid to ask for help."
  • "Your colleagues, even if they have only been at the school for a few years, already have many experiences, stories, strategies, and tips that can be invaluable to your teaching experience if you are open to experiencing their wisdom."
  • [Note: The Teaching Commons also has experienced faculty on staff who would be helpful happy to talk with you.]

2. "Professional Development is a Powerhouse of Enlightenment."

  • "Almost all institutions have a center for faculty development and this is an excellent place to start" [At Lakehead, it is the Teaching Commons.]
  • "Your center will be able to find professional development opportunities that fit your individual needs and also provide you information on all upcoming workshops, conferences, etc." 
  • "Professional development not only improves your teaching practices; it helps you create bonds with other faculty members outside of your school, which can help with our first suggestion: connecting with your colleagues."

3. "Set Limits for Yourself and Your Time."

  • "It is a difficult balance your first few years of teaching. You want to be the best educator that you can be, but you also need to maintain some semblance of a life as well."
  • "When you fail to set boundaries and never unplug from your job, you put yourself on the fast track for burnout."
  • "It’s important to establish clear guidelines about communication expectations during the first class and remind students often."
  • "It is a good general practice is to respond to emails within 48 hours and return any graded assignments within two weeks."

4. "Enthusiasm for Teaching – It’s Contagious!"

  • "Don’t try to bluff your students. If you don’t know the answer to a question, it’s OK to say, 'I don’t know.'"
  • "Ask a student to look it up, or promise the student that you’ll find out, and bring the answer to the next class."
  • "It is these moments that will help facilitate your professional growth."

5. "Don’t Be Afraid to Show Your True Colors"

  • "[T]he classroom must be safe, supportive, and inviting. This means being approachable and accessible; ready to assist students in reaching their academic and personal goals." 
  • "It also means welcoming student-teacher interactions —being approachable, smiling, laughing, and joking."
  • "Just being yourself requires no effort whatsoever and goes a long way in increasing students’ self-efficacy and grade point average."

6. "Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Who’s the Best Reflector of Them All?"

  • "The benefits of reflecting on one’s own teaching did not really dawn on us until we assumed our roles as college faculty."
  • "[W]e are now more conscious of our teaching and the importance of reflection to our ongoing professional development.
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