On the Cutting Edge - Professional Development for Geoscience Faculty
Preparing for an Academic Career in the Geosciences
Topical Resources
Cutting Edge > Career Prep > Preparing to Teach

Preparing to Teach

As you prepare to become a professor, you want to gain teaching experience and get ready for full-time teaching. The resources on these pages are designed to help you tackle those challenges. This collection of resources is an outgrowth of the annual Preparing for an Academic Career in the Geosciences Workshops.

Jump down to Getting teaching experience * Course design * Daily class planning * Documenting your teaching


Richard Yuretich leads a session on keeping seminars lively and engaging, at the 2007 workshop for Early Career Faculty in the Geosciences. Photo by Carol Ormand.

Getting Teaching Experience

Many students get some teaching experience in graduate school, either as laboratory teaching assistants or as course instructors. However, you may not have as much experience as you'd like. How can you get more?

Course Design

Even if you've taught a course in graduate school, you probably followed an existing syllabus. How do you create your own course, from scratch? How will you formulate course goals, organize content, and assess your students (and your own) success? Even if you are not yet teaching, thinking these questions through now will allow you to "hit the ground running" when you get a job – and will impress interviewers when they ask how you would approach teaching a particular course.

Daily Class Planning

Whether you've been asked to teach a class as part of your on-campus interview or you're about to start full-time teaching, now is the time to think about how to plan a class period. Sure, the syllabus says "introduction to minerals," but what will you actually do for the allotted 50 minutes of class time? The resources on this page help you to identify your goals for the day, learn about teaching techniques that work, and find existing exercises (or design new ones) that accomplish your goals via those techniques.

Documenting Your Teaching

It may seem premature to think about documenting your teaching before you even have a job. But it can give you an edge in the interview process, as well as helping you to assess what works well and what doesn't, as you go along. It will also give anyone evaluating your work a baseline for comparison for your later activities.


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