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Adjuncts as a Resource When Teaching a New Class

I am embarking on a new adventure, teaching a class I’ve never taught before. I am very involved with the current literature on the subject, as it is what I plan to write my dissertation on, however teaching a group of students who may not be as passionate as I am about the subject seems daunting.

The thought was thrilling at first. I have always wanted to teach this class, however now I feel like I didn’t know how. I don’t know where to begin. Am I really qualified to teach this?

I have taught other classes however those classes have now turned into a routine with minor adjustments. For this class I would be starting from scratch again and once again asking the question, how much do I teach the students?

When first reading through the textbook (which was already pre-assigned) I felt that everything was important! As I wrote my lecture notes, I wondered what students will find interesting or if they would even find the class as exciting as I do. Being in the field I know that it is important to know all the topics in the textbook and then some, but should I go into teaching the extra topics too? These questions make is so much harder to teach a class on a subject you are deeply passionate about.

My excitement aside, I also had to think about the time that I would have to prepare for this class, and the time we would have in class to cover all the materials. I barely have time to study for my own exams and here I am making exams for my students.

This seemingly stressful process was made manageable by the help of a fellow adjunct who had taught the class before. She had so generously let me use her lecture slides and showed me her past syllabus. Although I made my own lecture notes and slides, it was extremely helpful in setting boundaries for what topic I should cover.

When teaching a new class I think it’s important for adjuncts to use each other as a valuable resource. We each have moments after teaching a class where we think we could have added something or did something differently, and it’s these tips that we can pass along to make classes for future students more engaging.

Being able to connect with other adjuncts that have taught the class has now made me feel more comfortable about going in and teaching my class.

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