As you consider the following tips from two of her books (First Time in the College Classroom and What Successful Teachers Do), remember the words of Parker Palmer, “Teachers teach who they are.” Try these tips on for size and see what fits you!
1. Prepare yourself: Prepare personally, and professionally. Obtain the proper training and certifications for the job. Apply educational psychology to better understand your students. Know what should be taught and follow standards for teaching. Continued learning is necessary. Continue to read a wide range of books, professional journals, and online resources. Read the Chronicle of Higher Education, the nation's largest newsroom dedicated to covering colleges and universities online at www.chronicle.com.
2. Accept yourself: Manage time and stress. Know your limits and prioritize. Know when to say no, but don"t always say no. Identify what causes and lowers your stress. Once you have identified causes of stress, consider possible changes. You don"t have to be perfect to teach and have a personal life. Take time to refresh outside of school. Know when to ask for help and accept help when it is offered. Build networks of people for personal and professional support (family, friends, colleagues, administrators). Reach out to your center for professional development. Find support in your professional organizations. Become a leader by helping others.
3. Accept your students and meet them at their developmental and cognitive level. Accept the diverse backgrounds and strive to help all students succeed. Continue to learn about diversity and multicultural education. Motivate and lead students to higher levels of learning. Identify any special needs and additional help available to students. Maintain positive communication with specialists and administrators regarding student needs. To view the Mindset List about what has “always” or “never” been true for entering college students, visit
4. Communication: Learn how to communicate and monitor words to students, colleagues, administrators, and community. Avoid sarcasm. Be mindful of privacy, especially in public and on social media.
5. Assess: Define your philosophy of teaching and why you teach. Continue to reflect on your teaching. Define success in teaching. Money isn"t everything. Consider personal time and lifestyle. When interviewing for a job, explain past success but determine whether the job is right for you.
6. Plan: Organize the curriculum and the classroom. The big picture of the curriculum should include the needs of society and the individual. Begin with the end in mind, what students should know and be able to do at end of lesson, unit, and course. Create a curriculum map including what is taught and when it is taught.