Reloading For The New Semester

August 2, 2010 at 9:15 am Leave a comment

It’s been a busy summer. I taught a 4 week prealgebra class, as well as a 6 week online elementary algebra class. I also managed to work in a romantic getaway with my wife, as well as a family trip to New York City.

Fall classes start 2 weeks from today. This is pretty much the time I start to get the itch to get back to school, and start thinking about how I will teach my classes, changes I will make, …

I always start the same way, by rereading one of my favorite books: Successful Beginnings for College Teaching by Angela Provitera McGlynn. This book is aimed at new college instructors, particularly at commuter schools and community colleges. A listing of the chapters tells you all about the book.

  1. Classroom and Course Management
  2. A Positive Start: First Day Classroom Activities and Icebreakers
  3. Creating a Welcoming Classroom Environment
  4. Promoting Student Participation and Motivation
  5. Dealing with Incivility in the College Classroom
  6. Keeping the Ball Rolling to a Fruitful Conclusion

One thing that the author states that I completely agree with is that instructors have to help new students to “learn how to learn”. Students often do not arrive in our classrooms with the skills necessary for success, and we must incorporate these skills into our daily lectures. Well, not really “lectures”, because the classroom needs to be much more interactive than that.

This book, although aimed at new instructors, will help any instructor regardless of the amount of experience the instructor has. I suppose the instructor that figures he or she has it all mastered and cannot improve may be the worst type of instructor a student can have.

I give this book my strongest possible recommendation. If you have already read it, please share your opinion of it.

Do you have a traditional process that you go through while preparing for an upcoming semester? Are there any major changes you plan to make this semester? If so, please leave a comment or reach me through the contact page at my web site –


I am a math instructor at College of the Sequoias in Visalia, CA. If there’s a particular topic you’d like me to address, or if you have a question or a comment, please let me know. You can reach me through the contact page on my website –


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August 2010
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