Teaching is an important part of the academic profession and provides excellent experience in public presentation skills. All graduate students are strongly encouraged to do some classroom teaching as part of their graduate training.
The Department of Mathematics provides significant support for new teachers. A training program must be completed in order to teach in service course recitations. This program involves practice teaching in a recitation, completing a Microteaching Workshop and having a recitation recorded for the purposes of feedback from the faculty.
Practice Teaching — The semester before actual teaching is to begin, the student attends an ongoing recitation for several sessions and then, mentored by the current recitation leader, conducts the class for most of an hour. The students in that class and the recitation leader then evaluate the performance. Those interested in practice teaching must sign up as early in the semester as possible: consult staff in the Math Academic Services Office. A successful practice teaching session is a prerequisite to participation in the Microteaching Workshop.
Microteaching Workshop — This six-hour seminar, spread over three days, is usually offered at the end of each semester and at the start of the fall semester. The first session is a discussion of issues and responsibilities related to recitation teaching and a critique of recordings of several recitation classes. In the remaining sessions, each participant is assigned a problem from calculus and makes a ten-minute presentation to the group. Constructive criticism follows. This presentation is recorded, then reviewed by a faculty member who writes detailed comments to the student. The student is given a copy of the recording.
New postdoctoral fellows and incoming instructors are also expected to take this workshop before they teach recitations.
- Recitation Teaching — Upon successful completion of the Microteaching Workshop, the student will likely be assigned to teach a recitation the following semester. An early recitation taught by the new TA will be videotaped and critiqued by members of the faculty.
Demonstrated proficiency in English is a prerequisite to participation in the teacher training program. Students must register in English language studies (ELS) courses recommended as a result of the English Evaluation Test. Anyone required to register for 21F.219 Workshop in Written Expression (ELS) may be expected to enroll in subsequent recommended ELS classes.