This course is designed for those teaching, or about to teach, for the first time as GSIs at Berkeley. It has two complementary functions. One is to provide a venue for mutual support, camaraderie, and problem-solving as we make our way week by week through our first semester of teaching. The other is to address, from a fairly practical perspective, ways of doing well the things we are called on to do as teachers. For example, what can we do to make it likelier that in-class discussions will be good? For that matter, what does a good in-class discussion look like? How do you structure a class session? How do you go about drawing up a good exam? What are exams for? What makes for an effective or an ineffective writing assignment? What should you say in comments on a paper? How much should you say? How do you design a syllabus?
The class will entail a modest amount of reading from week to week, some practical exercises, a teaching demonstration, a mid-semester evaluation in your class, and a “statement of teaching philosophy” (a kind of document that many institutions now require of applicants for faculty positions and so a good form to master).