What Do New College Instructors Want to Know?

Help for Adjuncts and New College Teachers

Why do I ask? I am looking for the topics that interest you readers. Here’s what I am wondering:

  • What do you want to read about?
  • Do you have some advice you would like me to post?
  • Do you have any specific questions?
  • What problems are you having?
  • Would you like me to send you money?

If you answered yes to the last question, this is the point where I could ask you for your bank account number and password so I can deposit huge suns of money directly in your account.  Hold off on that information.  I would prefer not to be arrested for Internet fraud.  😉 ..... (read more)

The 2nd Habit of Highly Effective College Instructors

To be truly effective as a teacher you must begin with the end in mind - the learning outcomes or learning objectives for your course. … The purpose of an instructor is to help students achieve the learning outcomes of the course. The metaphorical image of an instructor at sea in a boat without a rudder is applicable to those who are not driven by this purpose.

Grading on Class Participation

What College Students Don’t Like

In February, I posted an article entitled Is It Wrong to Grade on Class Participation? In that article I pointed out the importance of clarifying class participation expectations and giving students feedback.  Something a student said to me recently prompted me to write this follow-up article. ..... (read more)

The 3rd Habit of Highly Effective College Instructors

Put First Things First

Stephen Covey’s 3rd Habit of Highly Effective People is to “Put First Things First.” Covey sets the framework for this practice by introducing the Time Management Matrix on page 151 of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I bet you have seen one version or another of this in the past. It provides an interesting lens through which to view our lives. To use a common idiom, this can be an “eye opening” lens. Covey contrasts the important activities in our lives with the unimportant. Then he categorizes them as urgent or not urgent. Crises and major problems are important and urgent, while planning and relationship building are important though not urgent. You get the point. ..... (read more)

The One-Minute Paper

A Valuable Classroom Assessment Technique for College Instructors

I realized that I have made no less than three references to this concept without explaining it.

Here is the explanation that I have owed you.

Angelo and Cross, in their book Classroom Assessment Techniques: A Handbook for College Teachers (see References page), describe what they call the Minute Paper.  While many authors cite their work, I honestly don’t know if they were the first to write about this assessment tool.  They may have been.  The Minute Paper has been I have adopted by thousands, make that millions, of teachers under a variety of names like One Minute Paper, One-Minute Paper, 1 Minute Paper, and Fred.  Okay, I am kidding about “Fred,” but there are a lot of free spirited, nonconformist instructors, so it may have happened.  “Students, before you leave take out a blank sheet of paper.  I want you to do a Fred.”  I wonder how many students would return for the next class.  Anyway, I prefer the term One Minute Paper (OMP), and that will be my default nomenclature. ..... (read more)

The 5th Habit of Highly Effective College Instructors

Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood

Stephen Covey’s 5th Habit of Highly Effective People addresses an important aspect of interpersonal communication.  Covey begins with a claim that really applies to me.  He says, “We have such a tendency to rush in, to fix things up with good advice.  But we often fail to take the time to diagnose, to really, deeply understand the problem first,” (p. 237).  As with Covey’s other habits, this one has some unique applications for college faculty members.  I will begin with one of the most important things college instructors need to understand about understanding.  Covey doesn’t cover this. ..... (read more)

Stephen Covey’s 7th Habit of Highly Effective People

Did Abe Lincoln think of it first?

When I think of Stephen Covey’s 7th habit, Sharpen the Saw, it reminds me of the famous Abraham Lincoln quotation:

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” ..... (read more)

The 7th Habit of Highly Effective College Instructors

Sharpen the Saw

In his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey shares his thoughts about leading a well balanced life.  This is what “Sharpen the Saw” is all about.

As I read and reread the chapter entitled “Sharpen the Saw” I pondered how I was going to make this real and relevant for college faculty.  What am I going to say?  It could be a short article.  It may be difficult for me to provide the 1,500 to 2,000 words you normally see in my articles.  What?  Did I hear someone say that would be a good thing? ..... (read more)

How to Find an Adjunct Teaching Position

I chuckle a bit when I think about job postings for part time college instructors that call for two years prior teaching experience. It’s the chicken or egg thing. Which comes first? You mean you can’t get a job teaching unless you have had a job teaching? Well, I am being a bit facetious, but the question remains, how do you get a job with little or no prior teaching experience?

The Perceived Quality of a College Instructor

Think about the best college instructor you ever had. What was special about him or her? How do you match up to that standard? More importantly, how do your students and your college administrators judge your quality?