Choosing your persona

You don’t have to choose only one teaching persona. You can be easy and popular in some classes and hard and tough in others.

You can be both tough and popular. Key: students must feel like you care and want them to succeed. Be their coach, not their adversary.

Say often: “I have high expectations and I think that you can meet them.” Supported by research, particularly for minority students.

Establish goals for your classes that are appropriate for your students. If the goal resonates with your students, they will be willing to work hard for it. Tell them why you’ve set this goal. Put it in the syllabus.

Diagnosing and fixing problems

Student consultants at Reed and Bryn Mawr visit class once or twice a week, take notes to help professor identify and correct problems. How many students talked once? Twice? Three times? By gender? How often did I turn my back on the room? When did students lose focus, stop taking notes, start checking Facebook?

When a course goes off the rails, it’s usually one of two problems: failure to 1) manage expectations or 2) scaffold learning.

Building a Narrative for Tenure

Which student evaluation questions are most valued at your institution and how? Does “the number of hours spent working outside of class” signal rigor or lack of scaffolding?

Look at the questions on your institution’s student evaluations carefully. It’s easier to establish a narrative of rigor with some questions than others. Remember that you can add questions.

At many schools, a reputation for being unpopular because you’re rigorous will help you get tenure.

Nitty Gritty

Midterm evaluations or evaluations of a particular assignment are great. Sometimes get good feedback, signals you value feedback, reporting results validates that they are a diverse group with disparate opinions. E.g. 25% too fast, 25% too slow, 50% about right.

Midterm evaluation can ask about their work as well as yours. How often have you gone to the QRC? How often do you attend office hours? What can you be doing better?

Assignment: write a question for the midterm. If it’s good, I’ll put it on the midterm. Gets the students thinking and it writes your exam! Share their questions as a study guide.

Frequent low stakes, auto-graded, online quizzes are good to encourage reading.

“I will answer emails only about personal questions. Questions about homework must be posted to a public space so all students can benefit from the answer.”

Experiments in class are great. Economics-Games is free and easy to use, MobLab is paid but looks good too. Bonus points if you compare their data to your research data.

Publishing about teaching or with students

Publish on economic education IF valued at your institution. It’s often your most cited article. On your CV it can support either teaching or research. Helps to build the narrative that you are a Master Teacher.

Student becomes coauthor IF project could not have happened without them. Otherwise, RA.

You must understand the culture of your department, institution. Is student co-authorship valued?