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LIst of expectations for instructorLIst of ideas on whiteboard

I often ask students at the start of the semester what I can do to make the class a success. They usually have no trouble coming up with a list, which I write on the board. Then I ask for a list of what they—the student—can do to make the class a success. At this point a few students look puzzled, but not for long. Most of the ideas are the same points I would make, but I think they have more impact when coming from fellow students.

As for their ideas for me, I try to accommodate them as best as I can. It's very helpful to know what issues are most important for them even if I can't always meet their requests. "Take things slow" is highly individual, and my job is to try to make the class work for most students. That may mean going slower or faster than any individual would prefer. Still, it's good to be reminded of this.

Last year one class asked that I "Be enthusiastic." I was really happy to hear that, and it makes perfect sense. If I'm not enthusiastic about what I'm teaching, why in the world should they be? So now I assume that every student wants me to be enthusiastic, and try to let that show every day.


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