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  1. #1
    jam937 is offline Registered User
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    Cool First adjunct instructor position - Need some advice

    I have just been offered and accepted my first adjunct instructor position. It is at a nationally accredited college. I am very excited to start my teaching career. They only allow me to teach one class my first quarter, but if I do well I can teach 2-3 next quarter.

    Here's what I know:
    The course is SQL databases and SQL programming
    I should get the textbook and syllabus next week
    There is no instructors manual or test banks
    I must come up with my own lectures, assignments and exams
    I should find out about the lab and virtual server environment soon
    The class is one night per week for 4 hours in the classroom
    There are 6-7 prerequisites before students can take this class
    There are 10-12 students in the class

    I'm looking for advice on how to structure and manage the classroom as 4 hours is a long time in one stretch.
    - Ask for cell phones to be put in silent mode?
    - Recap last weeks session?
    - Provide the answers from last weeks assignments?
    - Explain this week's topic at a high level?
    - Break my lectures into 15 minute chunks?
    - Ask for questions every 15 minutes or just as I go?
    - Show SQL demos during the class?
    - Throw in real world experiences?
    - Have students do lab work in class?
    - Bathroom breaks every hour for 5-10 minutes?
    - Bigger break half way thru the 4 hours?

    I am ready for your wisdom!!

  2. #2
    SteveFoerster is offline Resident Gadfly
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    In my opinion:

    Ask for cell phones to be put in silent mode? Not ask, require.

    Recap last weeks session? Definitely, especially since you can pretty much guarantee that attendance will be less than 100%.

    Provide the answers from last weeks assignments? Yes, as part of going over whatever parts of the homework students found troublesome.

    Explain this week's topic at a high level? And summarize. The saying is, tell them what you're going to tell them, then tell them, then tell them what you told them.

    Break my lectures into 15 minute chunks? That seems a bit short. I'd say each lecture and exercises component should shoot for being an hour, but there's flexibility here.

    Ask for questions every 15 minutes or just as I go? Let them know they can ask any time, but invite them periodically as well.

    Show SQL demos during the class? Definitely.

    Throw in real world experiences? Definitely, they'll welcome this.

    Have students do lab work in class? Yes, so you can assist them if they get hung up.

    Bathroom breaks every hour for 5-10 minutes? Yes, unless you're trying to brainwash them or something.

    Bigger break half way thru the 4 hours? A little bigger, have the middle break be no longer than twenty minutes, and place it adjacent to a lab session. For example, "Okay guys, take twenty minutes to run through the exercises, and then a twenty minute break, so be ready to start back again in forty minutes."
    BS, Info Sys concentration, Charter Oak State College
    MA in Educational Tech, George Washington University
    PhD in Leadership, U. of the Cumberlands (in progress)
    More at http://stevefoerster.com

  3. #3
    SteveFoerster is offline Resident Gadfly
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    Oh, and good luck.
    BS, Info Sys concentration, Charter Oak State College
    MA in Educational Tech, George Washington University
    PhD in Leadership, U. of the Cumberlands (in progress)
    More at http://stevefoerster.com

  4. #4
    DxD=D^2 is offline Registered User
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    In his heart, a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps. — Proverbs 16:9
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    Congrats on your opportunity! I can't wait to do the same one day! :)
    PhD Leadership - University of the Cumberlands ('19)
    MA Leadership & Organizational Studies - Azusa Pacific University ('17)
    MS Psychology - Southern New Hampshire University ('16)
    BS Psychology - Liberty University ('13)

    In his heart, a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps. — Proverbs 16:9

  5. #5
    Randell1234 is offline Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveFoerster View Post
    In my opinion:

    Ask for cell phones to be put in silent mode? Not ask, require.

    Recap last weeks session? Definitely, especially since you can pretty much guarantee that attendance will be less than 100%.

    Provide the answers from last weeks assignments? Yes, as part of going over whatever parts of the homework students found troublesome.

    Explain this week's topic at a high level? And summarize. The saying is, tell them what you're going to tell them, then tell them, then tell them what you told them.

    Break my lectures into 15 minute chunks? That seems a bit short. I'd say each lecture and exercises component should shoot for being an hour, but there's flexibility here.

    Ask for questions every 15 minutes or just as I go? Let them know they can ask any time, but invite them periodically as well.

    Show SQL demos during the class? Definitely.

    Throw in real world experiences? Definitely, they'll welcome this.

    Have students do lab work in class? Yes, so you can assist them if they get hung up.

    Bathroom breaks every hour for 5-10 minutes? Yes, unless you're trying to brainwash them or something.

    Bigger break half way thru the 4 hours? A little bigger, have the middle break be no longer than twenty minutes, and place it adjacent to a lab session. For example, "Okay guys, take twenty minutes to run through the exercises, and then a twenty minute break, so be ready to start back again in forty minutes."
    Steve covered it all pretty well. In my corporate role (and when I was an onsite sub at a tech school) I used to teach a lot of technical classes (A+, N+, medical software stuff) and the hands-on and real world experience to share were the most important. It is great to tell them how to do something but let them do it also. Ask for volunteers to demonstate, etc. As far as the cell phone - you control the class - require they be silenced. Set the rules on day one. Be firm but fair and you can always ease up later.

  6. #6
    fritzy202 is offline Registered User
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    I teach a class each spring that is 5 hours long, so I can relate to long classes. My state requires that each class hour consists of 50 minutes of lecture and a 10 minute break. I'm sure your class will also be structured to be part lecture part lab. My long class is 2 hours of lecture and 3 hours of lab per class. It's flexible and at my discretion for how to structure each class, but most end up being about 1 hour lecture and 4 hours of lab. Find out the requirements for your school on how to structure each class. Plan to include humor and lots of interesting real world examples to keep their attention span that long. I agree with the other comments about the cell phone and questions. I usually ask questions of the students, every few minutes, to keep them awake! I then ask them for questions after I cover a few topics. Congrats on your first teaching job. It is exciting and scary at the same time. I barely remember that far back, but even after 12 years I still get nervous and get butterflies the first day of each semester! Even with all the challenges I love teaching and can't imagine doing anything else. Good luck!
    Marianne

    CHIA - Stephens College - 5/13
    MHA - Bellevue University - 3/12
    BSHS - Excelsior College 11/10
    BSLS - Excelsior College 2/10
    AS - Excelsior College 4/09
    CPC - AAPC

  7. #7
    dlady is offline Registered User
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    I teach a lot of programming courses and two comments. First, 4 hours is a veeeery long time, I have never had to do that. Be careful with to many breaks as if these are 20~ishers you will have a hard time gettign the class going again. I would recommend breaking sections up, so in 4 hours maybe a 90 minute lecture with a 10 minute break, followed by a 20 minute break, followed by 90 minutes of lab time. By putting the lab time at the end, and including it as a heavy part of the grade, you can drive attendance, otherwise with the breaks many will leave after signing the attendance sheet. When I teach these at the local CC the classes meet twice a week for 90 minutes, and I do beginning of the week lectures and end of the week labs to keep things interesting.

    For questions, I pretty much make the entire lecture riddled with me asking them questions, otherwise everyone goes to sleep..

    Instead of a recap of the course before, I post the lecture notes on the course page. If you make it easy not to attend, guess what will happen...

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  9. #8
    jam937 is offline Registered User
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    I thought I would give a status update. Somehow I am now teaching 4 courses for the Fall quarter. Whew! They are at two different private, for-profit schools. I sent my resume about a month before courses started and both schools had lost instructors and were in dire need. The pay is shockingly low at 1400 per course for the entire 11 weeks. With 4.5 hours in class and another 4.5 per week on admin, grades, prep, etc. I figure its $14 per hour. When I do IT consulting I get 45-55 per hour! For now I am doing it for the experience more than the pay, but I couldn't do this permanently for 1400 per course.

    All the classes are 4.5 hours long and each is on a different day of the week. I was given the curriculum (syllabus, text, instructor guides, etc.) the day before I started. So I had virtually no time to prepare. I hope its not like that all the time. Two of the courses I have tons of experience, one course I have moderate experience and one course I have extremely little experience in the subject yet I am teaching it.

    I am doing 2.5 hours giving lectures with PowerPoint slides, 0.5 hours of breaks and 1.5 hours with students doing lab assignments. I ended up doing a 10 minute break every hour or so. The biggest thing I did not consider was standing on my feet for 4.5 hours straight. My back has been hurting. I need a stool to sit on I think.

    With all that said, I do enjoy it a lot more then my consulting work.

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