Before you begin teaching, consider these suggestions to make your job easier and your sessions more informative.

In preparation for teaching

  • Have a briefing with your unit coordinator and finalise teaching details such as how many classes you will have, where to get the class list from and where the classes will be held.
  • Ensure you have all the materials for the course – textbooks, unit outlines and handouts for the students.
  • Make sure you know how to operate any audio visual or other equipment, including Lecture Capture System (LCS) if needed, before your class.
  • Check with the unit coordinator that you have access to the Learning Management System (LMS) if required or any other web-related resources for your unit and that you know how to use it.
  • Discuss expectations of marking and marking scales with your unit coordinator.
  • Make an appointment with your faculty librarian to find out about library services to support your teaching including management of reading lists, copyright, the Library’s Communication and Research Skills (CaRS) and Academic Conduct Essentials (ACE) compulsory online units for students, and other library resources and services.

For your first class

  • Think about how you will introduce yourself (name, work email, background, work experience, study interests).
  • Consider whether you will have an icebreaker or warm-up activity to start the session.
  • Establish ground rules regarding punctuality, attendance, use of mobile phones and group activities etc at the beginning of the tutorial.

In every class

  • Be clear about the learning outcomes intended for each session/tutorial and that you convey them to students.
  • Be clear when giving instructions for activities.
  • Anticipate questions and/or problems and think about how you might deal with them.
  • Learn students' names as soon as possible.
  • Keep a record of students' attendance including their effort, participation and performance.
  • Be thorough in your content preparation – check with your unit coordinator if you have any queries.
  • Be well organised and familiar with your materials.
  • Have plan of student activities.
  • Behave in a professional manner.

One way or another, many colleagues start their teaching careers in higher education by getting 'thrown in at the deep end'.

For many, within weeks or days of taking up their posts, there are lectures to be given or tutorials to run or seminars to lead or marking of students' work to be done. Sometimes they face one or more of these prospects without having had any opportunity to learn how to tackle such challenges. Relevant staff development opportunities may indeed exist, but not always in time for those critical first experiences of teaching or assessing.

UWA has licensed an excellent resource, authored by Emeritus Professor Phil Race, titled 'In at the Deep End: Starting to Teach in Higher Education' to help you cope with those first few critical elements of your work in teaching in higher education. We hope, however, that this booklet will continue to be helpful as you venture further into your teaching.

Access to this booklet is restricted to UWA staff and you will need your staff number and Pheme password to log in.

In at the deep end [PDF, 2.5 MB]
Updated 8 Mar 2016

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