From the moment you’re asked to teach a class, you have the opportunity to build a teaching relationship with that instructor. It’s your responsibility as a liaison to make this class reasonable within your work schedule, as well as a valuable learning experience for the students.
Start by asking for . . .
- Reasonable lead time to plan – 2 weeks is a fair minimum. Keep in mind that planning a lesson generally takes approximately 3 hours, and add more time to that if you have to learn new resources.
- Three possible class dates – This encourages the instructor to be flexible around your work schedule and the planning of the lesson.
- Syllabus – The syllabus lets you see the scope of the entire class, and also lets you start building a library of common class syllabi for that discipline.
- Any assignments that the class is intended to address – Knowing the context of the class will help you plan solid learning objectives, and aid you in planning any assignments or exercises.
Negotiate the Class Content
- What is essential? Beware the “kitchen sink” class requests! Some instructors will assume that you can cover a variety of topics in a single class. Decide what’s most important for the students to know, and craft your class around those objectives.
- What has already been covered? – Find out what skills have been covered in this class, or in earlier classes within the program.
- What should they know? -- Knowing what information literacy skills are required within the discipline or profession can help you focus your planning. Find out of there are any information literacy competencies that have been identified by the discipline or profession.
- Exercises – Exercises are in-class activities designed to reinforce learning. Exercises can also show you quick evidence of skill acquisition.
- Assignments – Assignments are designed to be completed outside of teaching. An assignment can help the students focus on your class because they will need to apply class learning to complete a graded assignment. Assignments can reinforce or even extend your teaching, and are a good opportunity for evidence based assessment.