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Starting with a new class of students

January 28, 2012 2 comments

One of the things that I always get really stressed out about is starting teaching a new class. This semester, I’m teaching Varieties of English (3rd year), Language and Social Identity (2nd year) and Describing Language (1st year), and although these are modules I taught last year, my 2nd year class has a lot of students who haven’t taken a class with me before. It’s difficult to describe the feeling of a new batch of students staring at you intently, waiting for you to pass on sacred reams of knowledge into their brains. The biggest thing I feel is ‘I hope I don’t make an idiot of myself’, and thus far, I seem to have succeeded. But because education is dialogic, my main hope is that we all get on. Students seem to learn better when they’re enjoying themselves and feel relatively comfortable with the lecturer, and I try my best to facilitate this through various means (normally involving food as a bribe). I also want my students to know that they can come and speak with me about any problems they’re having with the material, and I especially discourage them from struggling through anything by themselves for too long. Students who have been with me for a while and have taken a few classes with me know this, but I’ve noticed that it can take some time for new students to get to the same place as my more established students.

All of this boils down to how you build a rapport with students. How do you go about it as a lecturer, or what worked when you were a student?

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