Christopher Ruel
Christopher Ruel
Community and Social Marketing, Wiley

lecturer in classroom.jpg

The beginning of a new academic year is fast approaching. If this is your first year standing in front of a classroom full of students, we’ve compiled 30 nuggets of wisdom from professors and teachers at universities, community colleges, and high schools to help get you through the year ahead.  Good luck! We’re sure you’re going to be great.


  1. “Encourage students to understand the content and not just memorize it. Teach and encourage students to be self-sufficient, ask good questions, and be a vested partner in their own learning journey.”
  2. “Big picture advice: Teach critical thinking and problem solving. Practical: Try to plan the amount of minutes each activity or section of your lesson plan will take. Practice the presentation/lecture
    portions. Make sure you have extra (optional) activities in case you get done with the plan quicker than expected.”
  3. “Teach your students not just what to learn, but how to learn it.”
  4. “If you do not know the answer to a question, tell the student you will have an answer next class period.“
  5. “As a new instructor, take advantage of the work that Wiley has already done for you. When making assignments, first check the assignment bank to see what is there already. USE THOSE!”
  6. “Try to make eye contact, slow down, and if you are enjoying this activity, your students will do so as well.”
  7. “Decide whether you want to be kind or nice; nice is about being loved by your students, and being kind is about helping them improve.”
  8. “Teach one lesson at a time.”
  9. “Show passion in what your teaching! If you demonstrate your love for a topic, students will see that you think it's important, and they will also think its important. If you don’t care about your topic, why should your students?“
  10. “No matter what, get your grades in on time!”
  11. “There is a lot of advice out there, but BE YOURSELF -- students can sense if you are being genuine!”
  12. “Be idealistic, dream big, and push boundaries. Always study, learn, and try new ideas and methods.”
  13. “Your first year is the toughest because you need to create everything. Utilize anything you can that is already established-PowerPoints®, question banks, etc. Then, think about the future. Make sure any changes you make can be applied to future classes. Then, future years will go smoothly, which allows you more time to make any changes
    you want.”
  14. “Look to the future. At the start of each year (or over the summer or whenever you have you a break in between years or semesters), write a mission statement for your class(es)...this is where you would want to be in 5 years for your course. At the end of each of semester or year, go back and look at it and revisit it. It's a great way to see growth of your goals and how things can change completely due to student needs or stay the same. Using an electronic document like Google docs is nice.”
  15. “Teaching is a journey. Keep an open mind to new ways of doing things and to improving your instruction. Stop and ask students how the class is going and what you can do to improve it. Don't be hesitant to ask more seasoned instructors for advice or ideas.”
  16. “Explore all of the technology available to you today (and in the future) to make your job and your students’ learning quicker, easier, and more enjoyable.”
  17. “Instruction can always be improved. You shouldn't expect to teach perfectly in your first semester, but you also cannot expect to prep a class once and never have to make changes. Instruction can always be improved.”
  18. “Never stop trying to improve. Becoming a great teacher is a lifetime pursuit.”
  19. “Know your material. Anticipate the kinds/types of questions that students may ask. When you don't know something-admit it. Tell them you will find out, and then, follow-up with an email or bring it up in the next class.”
  20. “Don't try ALL the technology bells and whistles at once...learn to try one, refine it, try it again, and then try something else!”
  21. “Hang on. First year is the hardest.”
  22. “Don't let the students get to you. If you get angry, don't let them see it. That is a sure sign that they have gotten under your skin and they will continue to do
    whatever it is that they have been doing. If they think that they can't ruffle your feathers, often times they will learn to settle down in class for you.”
  23. “Go out there and do things differently. Don't settle for the same old way of teaching you might have experienced, but put into practice the best new ideas you or others around you have.”
  24. “Be confident in your teaching abilities. If you lack confidence, your students can sense that…”
  25. “When grading, focus on what you really want your students to learn. I spent precious hours correcting grammar and spelling, and students gave me horrible marks for
    not returning assignments on time.”
  26. “Do not lecture or talk for more than 10 minutes. Stop and engage the students.”
  27. “Patience!”
  28. “Stay on top of grading.... it will sneak up on you.”
  29. “Be clear and up front with your students about your expectations.”
  30. “Don't be afraid to let your students see that you are human and be willing to forgive yourself when you are not perfect.”


Are you an experienced college instructor or high school teacher?  Add your advice to those new to the profession by commenting below or tweeting @WileyExchanges.


Image credit: Izabela Habur/iStockphoto

    Christopher Ruel
Christopher Ruel
Community and Social Marketing, Wiley

professor and students.jpgTechnology in the classroom is on the upswing. While this is a fairly new trend, the wave of innovation is rapidly changing the teaching and learning landscape from kindergarten to graduate school. What does this mean for how we teach—and even more importantly, what does this mean for the future of teaching?

Educators see technology’s potential to transform learning and many have embraced it. But at the same time, budget woes at all levels have forced learning institutions to scale back, often reducing the payroll to cut costs. The technology revolution viewed through the lens of a teacher can be frightening as it inevitably leads to an existential question, “Am I needed?”

Nancy Mullins, a professor of Chemistry at Florida State University, exemplifies why teachers are—and will continue to be—irreplaceable:

After a particularly harrowing week, I took my sick, elderly dog to the veterinarian. While I was in the waiting room, a woman came to me with her teenage daughter. She introduced herself and then turned to her daughter and said, "Dr. Mullins is the reason that I am a nurse today.”  Looking at her more closely, I remembered her as the student who came to class and fell asleep almost as soon as she sat down. After about a week of class, I called her aside after class and asked her if I could help her. It seemed that she was being evaluated for severe sleep apnea and was horrified that she was sleeping so much. Solution? First, I referred her to another doctor to be re-evaluated. I implemented a few techniques to use in class, including standing up to take tests. I also gave her a few suggestions to help her stay focused at home. Within a couple of weeks, doctors found that her CPAP mask was not working for her, swapped it out, and then she could manage again. She later told me that it was her first semester in college and that she thought that she wasn't cut out for college if she couldn't stay awake!

Do you think professors can be replaced by technology? Share your thoughts and stories in the comments below or tweet us @WileyExchanges.


Image credit: Hero Images/Getty Images

  Terry Warfield
Terry Warfield
PwC Professor in Accounting, Wisconsin School of Business

Are you up to speed on where IFRS (International Financial Reporting Standards) convergence currently stands? Do you want to learn more about recent FASB (Financial Accounting Standards Board) updates? This podcast by renowned accounting educator, scholar, and Wiley author Terry Warfield will walk you through these two important issues and provide some advice to instructors on how to teach the materials accordingly. Listen, learn, and share with colleagues.


Faculty across disciplines, from neuroscience to art history, are searching for new ways to incorporate contemplative practices into their teaching. Contemplative practices help students develop a deeper understanding of the material through various methods including meditation, deep listening, and mindfulness, just to name a few. Many values and skills are gained through these practices, and the benefits extend well beyond the classroom. Learn more about the many benefits of contemplative practices.


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