Questions tagged [teaching]

This tag is related to the role and duties of a teacher, an academic instructor, tutor or a teaching assistant.

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180
votes
11answers
27k views

How to deal with a student who most likely has a mental condition, and keeps arguing with me in class?

I am a TA for an introductory computer programming course at a university in the US. There is one student in particular who, during lecture, will argue with me about every point I make, which eats up ...
165
votes
13answers
37k views

Grades are too high for the department - what should I do?

I recently taught an undergraduate seminar course, in which each student has to read a research paper, summarize it and present it to the class. In the first lesson I explained to the students the ...
152
votes
14answers
31k views

How can a TA help a student who is certain she sucks at programming?

I am a TA for an undergraduate Signals and Systems class (Electrical Engineering). As part of this, I lead a lab session, where we teach students how to code up various signal transforming operations ...
150
votes
14answers
22k views

Teaching a class likely meant to inflate the GPA of student athletes

Premise My department recently finalized the faculty teaching assignments for the Fall 2019 semester (starts at the end of August 2019). As these assignments were being discussed a few weeks ago, my ...
149
votes
12answers
43k views

Our teacher is encouraging us to use cracked software

I'm taking a course named Numerical and Computational Methods Based on Mathematica (Or in Chinese: "基于Mathematica的数值计算方法"), but Wolfram Mathematica is a bit expensive for me to afford. On the first ...
147
votes
11answers
34k views

I am uncomfortable about students taking pictures of the blackboard, because I don't like appearing in them

It seems to be the trend that fewer and fewer students take notes in class. Lately, and particularly this semester, for some reason, I have been noticing that several students take pictures of the ...
145
votes
22answers
75k views

A student in my course does well on exams, but doesn't do the homework: Go easy on them, or make them “pay the price?”

I have a student in my course that does well on the exams, and his answers to the exam questions show a deep understanding of the material. However, this student has not been handing in the assigned ...
143
votes
12answers
51k views

How to deal with a very weak student?

I am teaching an honors class for seniors (at a very good university, top 5 in my field). Most students are fantastic. They are very interested, they often surprise me with insights in class, and the ...
131
votes
15answers
23k views

Is it ethical to profit by having my students buy my textbook?

This question was suggested to me by How can I sell my text book to my students in e-book format? which asked about the practicalities, but attracted many comments about the ethics. So this question ...
122
votes
13answers
34k views

Is it ethical/acceptable to give a lighter penalty to students who admit to cheating?

I am at the moment dealing with an academic dishonesty incident in a class I'm teaching (a few groups of students submitting identical code, when the class policy forbids getting help from another ...
118
votes
17answers
104k views

Knowing that most students submit assignments right around the deadline, is it advisable not to set deadline that is very late at night?

Like many on this site, I use a Moodle-type online Content Management System to give assignments to my students, and receive the finished work for grading. This is in a traditional context where the ...
117
votes
14answers
28k views

How to react when encountering students who have previously failed my course?

Context: I am an assistant professor of mathematics at a small liberal-arts college in the US. I did my graduate work at a large public university, and there I rarely encountered students who had ...
113
votes
13answers
45k views

How to deal with arrogant e-mail of a student

I have sent the solutions of some assignments to the students of my class. One of my students sent me a message that reads as follows (not greeting or anything, no closing, just the following): ...
112
votes
12answers
64k views

Only one student answered an exam question - and I strongly suspect he cheated

Today we (professors + teaching assistants) proctored a midterm exam for a class of about 80 students. There was undoubtedly a "hardest" question on the exam, since nearly the entire classroom of ...
109
votes
9answers
30k views

Is it reasonable for a professor to ask students to stay 30-45 minutes past scheduled class time every week?

I'm currently in a class in my major that meets for 50 minutes 3 times a week. Meanwhile, I'm a member of a campus club, unrelated to my major, which meets right after this class one day. My ...
105
votes
23answers
39k views

How can I prevent students from writing answers on an assignment, then claiming I didn't see their answer?

What is a good way to prevent students from writing an answer after you hand back a graded assignment (exam/homework) and claiming that you did not see their answer? It is clear to me that this ...
104
votes
22answers
28k views

None of 25 students at question session before exam has a question. What should lecturer do?

In a comment on another question Josef shared an anecdote. And just another anecdote: A few weeks ago, there was a question hour at the last lecture timeslot before the exam. About ~25 of more than ...
103
votes
14answers
29k views

What to do if most of my students have switched to a better lecturer's class?

I teach a certain course which is part of the obligatory undergraduate curriculum. I teach two groups out of four; the other two groups are taught by two other lecturers. In one group I have about 20-...
101
votes
7answers
32k views

Students bringing babies to class

I'm a student; recently, in one of my classes, a fellow student brought their baby in a stroller. She may have asked the professor beforehand for permission to do this. The baby cried, made loud ...
95
votes
15answers
21k views

How to tell an over-confident student they still have a lot to learn?

In one of my classes, I had a student who generally understood stuff faster than the others. In tutorials, he would ask a lot of questions, mostly of the kind "I tried this method instead of what ...
93
votes
11answers
38k views

“You are paid to answer my questions!” - how to handle silly questions?

How do I handle silly questions? By silly, I mean questions that are unrelated to the material of the course. First, I am a TA. Recently, a student asked me a very silly question at the end of a lab ...
93
votes
13answers
22k views

Techniques for good board handwriting

I'm a math TA and I find that my most consistent comment for improvement involved my board handwriting. Anybody have some tips or techniques I can use to make things a little neater on the board? ...
91
votes
18answers
22k views

How to quiet noisy undergrads students during lecture

I am teaching a class of about 100 undergraduates. The class meets for a three-hour block every week in a lecture hall which seats about 120. We have about 2-3 breaks every lecture, to give students ...
90
votes
4answers
8k views

Strategies for teaching with facial aphasia (inability to recognize faces aka prosopagnosia, face-blindness)

I'm a math grad student in my first year, which means that I have not yet taught a class (in my program first years grade or provide one-on-one tutoring for students who struggle in calculus). I have ...
87
votes
12answers
29k views

How should I deal with very negative feedback from some students?

I am a lecturer of a computer course in a university. Two months (almost 20 hours) of lectures have already finished. Very recently, I planned to get some feedback from my students on my lectures. I ...
87
votes
12answers
17k views

Should I tell students that it's my first time teaching the course?

I'm a TA teaching a class this fall for the first time. I've taught before, but never this class, and never felt an obligation to tell my students it's my first time teaching a given class. But, ...
86
votes
22answers
28k views

What is the point of a lecture when you have a textbook?

I never really understood the point of having a course with lectures when the course has a textbook. Sometimes the subject is so high-level or specialized or so modern that the contents are changing ...
86
votes
13answers
19k views

How to deal with a student who harasses the (inexperienced) teacher during class?

I am a young teacher at college. I have to go way too long, I know but I have the following problem. In one of my classes, I have this guy who pecks at me for everything I say. He is surely ...
86
votes
12answers
13k views

How to help reduce students' anxiety in an oral exam?

Oral exams can have various pedagogical benefits in certain circumstances, but can also make some students feel anxious. After watching several students nervous-sweat their way through such an exam, I'...
77
votes
15answers
20k views

Why do you need to study a subject at a university level to teach it at a high school?

If you want to teach mathematics at a high school for example, then why do you need to study it at a university? You will learn new stuff, but you won't teach anything of that at a high school.
77
votes
12answers
18k views

Is it reasonable to require students to bring a laptop to every lecture?

In the next academic year, I'll be teaching a class on how to use a statistical software package (the R programming language). I foresee that each class will have two parts: a lecture and software ...
76
votes
23answers
28k views

Is it unreasonable to set assignment deadlines on Saturday/Sunday?

I read a similar question (Knowing that most students submit assignments right around the deadline, is it advisable not to set deadline that is very late at night?) about setting assignment deadlines ...
75
votes
12answers
21k views

My math students consider me a harsh grader. Is my teaching attitude wrong?

I am a math major grad student at a big public school, and we need to do TA every semester. I got assigned to lower level classes last couple semesters, and it's been quite difficult for me. Even ...
75
votes
9answers
9k views

What to do about top students making other students lose confidence?

About once a year, I end up with a section with a student who is well ahead of others in the course. Often, these are students auditing the course, but sometimes are senior students attending 100-...
75
votes
8answers
13k views

How to explain a bad grade to a delusional student?

I guess this comes up quite often in educational context. There is a student who attended a seminar where they were supposed to study an assigned research paper and deliver a presentation to the class....
73
votes
5answers
8k views

Handling Disruptive Student on the Autism Spectrum

I have a student who's on the autistic spectrum. He exhibits several disruptive behaviors in class, such as Inability to moderate his volume/interjections: he will shout out questions and comments ...
72
votes
16answers
16k views

Should I prepare new homework exercises each year, 20% of the final grade is homework?

This year I prepare a new course (in programming, but it could be any other course). I spend a lot of effort in creating homework exercises. This is fun, but also very time-consuming. I wonder if I ...
72
votes
11answers
14k views

Should I reward points for an incorrect answer if it is the result of misinformation presented in a TA's office hours?

So a TA came to me asking for advice. He gave wrong information in office hours leading a student to a wrong answer. The TA showed the student how to solve the problem via the wrong statistical test ...
71
votes
8answers
26k views

As a course lecturer, should I excuse late assignment submissions if I wrote the assignment deadline slightly wrong?

I am the course lecturer of an undergraduate course. For a recent assignment, I had written the assignment deadline as 23 November 2018 (Saturday). Unfortunately, 23 November is actually a Friday, and ...
71
votes
7answers
30k views

Dating former student?

Here's the situation: She was an undergrad, I was a grad TA. At that point, our interactions were totally professional and limited to the classroom. However, she and I both since graduated and left ...
69
votes
14answers
36k views

How should bathroom breaks be handled during written exams to avoid cheating?

It seems to me that it is impossible to prevent cheating (as in: communicating and getting help from outside) if one allows students to use the restroom during written classroom tests. Excluding ...
69
votes
10answers
8k views

Understanding an abnormal grade distribution

I have three years of experience teaching as part of a team (many teachers, some with more experience, agreeing on a syllabus and preparing the tests together), but this year is the first time I am ...
69
votes
7answers
11k views

How to care less about teaching?

Fifth year math grad student as of this Fall. ABD, currently on target for six years in total. I have very strong feelings about the way courses should be taught, graded, and organized. I have ...
68
votes
13answers
26k views

Our instructor threw together freely available YouTube videos and Wikipedia articles instead of lectures. What should I do?

I'm currently attending university online (at a notable public institution, not a crappy school—I feel compelled to mention this because one typically expects quality from good institutions). ...
66
votes
19answers
27k views

What's a good way to prevent students from saying I lost their paper?

As a teacher, I've often had students say that they turned in an assignment, but that because I don't see it, grade it, and return it back to them, that I must have lost their papers/assignments. I ...
66
votes
3answers
7k views

Teaching a blind student MATLAB programming

I teach a first year undergrad class in MATLAB programming, and one of my students is completely blind. Quite amazingly, the student memorises the whole chapter before class and regurgitates with the ...
66
votes
6answers
12k views

Is there a standard of professionalism in academia requiring me to hide self-harm scars if I'm otherwise comfortable leaving them exposed?

I'm a student intending to stay in academia, and I'm reaching the stage where I've begun to TA classes. If all goes well I'll be teaching courses for the rest of my career, so I want to make sure I'm ...
65
votes
17answers
20k views

In case of in-lecture quizzes, is it unreasonable to fail students who are late or absent?

I am teaching a large undergraduate class this semester. One day a week (same day every week) we have a quiz. The syllabus doesn't specify at what moment of the class period the quiz will be given. It ...
65
votes
18answers
11k views

As an international instructor, should I openly talk about my accent?

I'm an international, teaching at an American university, and I have an accent, which can be strong at times. I'm working hard at it, have always been, but still, the accent is there. This has never ...
65
votes
9answers
6k views

How to improve myself as a lecturer?

I am a new lecturer in the field of Computer Science. I got my MSc and I would like to go for a PhD. However, I would like to improve my teaching methods and way of thinking before I pursue this goal. ...

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