SOC316 – PhD’s Guide to Teaching


There’s a lotta roles grad students play in the university, and one of them is being a teacher. So, we have a PhD’s Guide to Teaching today to help all of you newbies prepare for teaching in higher education. How do you format an in-person class vs. an online class? How long does a new course take to plan (HINT: A lot longer that you think!)? And why should you NOT friend your students on Pokemon Go? Tune in here to hear our 10 tips for teaching, and please stay safe and healthy out there!


PhD Guide, teaching, online teaching, higher education


Ten Tips to Teaching

  1. Establish a teaching philosophy. Think about those teachers that you loved and why you loved them and try to emulate those approaches.
  2. Reach out to previous professors/teachers of the class. Seriously, don’t hesitate. True educators should be willing to share their teaching materials.
  3. Prep ahead of time and don’t underestimate how much work goes into creating class content/lectures/PPTS/etc.
  4. Don’t overplan the syllabus and have some wiggle room to adjust your course to what your students are interested in.
  5. BUTTTTTT, if you’re teaching an online course be sure to keep a set schedule for students to follow.
  6. Keep track of time during class! You’d be surprised how long you can talk. Yes, you, you self-proclaimed “introvert-who-doesn’t-like-to-talk.”
  7. Decide on your class policies, and be consistent! Here’s a good resource on translating those policies in your syllabus.
  8. Stay professional!
    • Don’t friend your students on Facebook. Just don’t.
    • Dress professionally.
    • Walk that fine line between being nice and hip and cool versus strict and tough. 
  9. Don’t take teaching evals personally! There are a ton of op-eds and articles written about how problematic evals are, so check these out before you let them get to you:
  10. Learn your institutional resources! Your university likely has a center for teaching that you can ask for assistance. For example, here at UH we have the Center for Teaching Excellence that holds informative workshops like ‘how to deal with problem students’ or ‘how to get started teaching online’ or ‘how to manage a large classroom.’ Go to these workshops and hone your teaching craft! 
  11. Bonus tip: USE YOUR SOCIOLOGICAL IMAGINATION and have empathy for your students’ situations (especially now that we’re in the COVID-19 era)! Maybe they’re working a full-time job to put themselves through college; Maybe they have family problems or mental health issues they are dealing with. Remember that students have lives of their own, and in the same way when you’re having a bad day and still have to show up to teach, students may be having a bad day and barely want to sit in class and learn about Marx. Check these resources out to get a better perspective:
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