Guidelines for Faculty Mentoring of Recitation Instructors
In order to support our doctoral students as they being their careers as teachers, the Director of Graduate Studies and Director of Undergraduate Studies have developed the following guidelines regarding "best practices" for faculty who supervise and mentor recitation instructors. We hope you will keep them in mind when you work with graduate students in your courses.
- Provide your recitation instructors some initial guidance before the beginning of the semester by meeting with them prior to the start of the semester, to review the syllabus and course schedule, expectations and responsibilities, and other issues involving their teaching.
- Plan to meet regularly with your recitation instructors (how often will depend on the specific demands of your course and how experienced the individual instructor is, although we recommend a minimum of one meeting per month). In these meetings, you might discuss any questions that the instructor has about course content, issues or challenges the instructor is facing in the recitation sections or with individual students, rubrics for grading assignments, and other matters pertinent to the course.
- Other guidance on different aspects of teaching, such as: drafting assignments/essay topics, grading, aspects of pedagogy, or other classroom business.
- Have a plan as to how you will approach grading with your recitation instructors and communicate this to them as early as possible. This includes how grades should be calibrated across the recitation sections, how to address grade inflation or deflation, and the mechanics of grading midterms and final exams.
- Provide the opportunity for the recitation instructors to deliver at least one long lecture during the semester. Offer advice and guidelines about the content, length, and structure of this lecture in advance. In order to develop the student's confidence as a lecturer, you might allow them to lecture on texts closer to their area of expertise.
- Work with your recitation instructors on using technology in the classroom (such as Powerpoint, Prezi, or other tools). Make use of their expertise with technology or multimedia, with which you might be less familiar.
- Conduct at least one classroom observation for each recitation instructor, arranging in advance whether you will remain uninvolved or will participate in the session in some manner. Keep written notes (or complete the evaluation circulated by the DUS and Graduate Administrator.
- Offer detailed and constructive feedback after the classroom observation and the lecture on your observations, so you might write a detailed teaching letter for the doctoral student's job application (if you are so inclined). Ask them, as well, for feedback about undergraduate student reactions to the course content and schedule for your future reference.