During class, I asked my instructor about a certain thing that didn’t make sense to me. Basically, there was a problem that I couldn’t figure out how to solve using the methods we’ve studied. The instructor told me that the problem couldn’t be solved using those methods. As this aligned with my own suspicion, I took her word on it and moved on.

During the oral exam, I was talking about this, and said that the problem was not solvable. The examinator said that it is solvable using those methods, and he explained how.

My response was “ah, I see, that makes sense”, and then we kept on discussing.

But now, after the exam, I am thinking whether it would’ve been acceptable of me to just “put the blame” on the instructor by saying that I got the wrong information from her?

On one hand, that is the truth, and by telling them this, I might avoid being held responsible for a mistake that wasn’t entirely my fault.

On the other hand, and this is how I felt during the exam, it felt to me out of order to bring up the instructor in the exam. She wasn’t there to defend herself, so it seemed wrong to talk about her “behind her back”, so to speak.

I am a PhD student and will be teaching my first class in the fall. I would like to have an engaging class. Meaning that I would rather not just stand at the front of the class and lecture the entire time. I have had some teaching experience with smaller class sizes (up to 20) but am not sure how to handle a larger class (enrolment of 80+).

For smaller classes, I have used: in class discussions, games, breaking out into small groups, student-led discussions/debates. I feel these would not work for a large class.

What are your tried and true methods and ideas for engaging a larger class?

My class is a 3rd year class, expected enrolment of 80, and I will have access to an iClicker.

Added notes based on comments:

  • The class I am teaching is Adult Development and Aging
  • Based in Canada
  • I will have one teaching assistant (TA), with about 70 hours

I’m wondering if someone could offer some professional advice regarding how I should approach a situation at my university. Essentially, we had a paper due for an English class, and the instructor provided a rubric. This rubric consists of six categories that are each worth 0 points, followed by a holistic assessment category worth 100 points that is a sum total of the other six categories.

I emailed the professor voicing my concern that without a point distribution in place (0 points for each category), there is no way for us to determine whether the grading was performed objectively, or even how to interpret a grade in a certain category. I asked him for clarification, and he said that the maximum number of points any category can have is 16.67. This, of course, implies that the categories are equally weighed. So I told him that this is also concerning for two reasons:

1) Not all categories should be weighed equally (content is not nearly as important as mechanics, for example)

2) It doesn’t make sense to have a category worth “16.67” points max, since that implies you could earn a 14.17/16.67, and who is to say that 14.17 shouldn’t have been a 14.18?

He responded saying they aren’t weighed equally, which seems to contradict what he said before. Because if they are not weighed equally, then the maximum score any particular category can have (in the extreme case) is 95, with the remaining 5 points distributed among the other five categories.

So I’m not really getting anywhere with the professor; it doesn’t seem like he understands the implications of not disclosing the point distribution on the rubric. How should I approach this situation?

So I just read my evaluations for this past semester, and they are absolutely horrible. The worst I’ve ever gotten. I put so much effort into teaching, but almost nobody thinks I did a good job. Do you think this will prevent me from teaching next semester? I have a 9-month renewable instructor position that goes through the Spring but I’m really worried.

I am currently an adjunct professor.

I’m wondering how to best label this on my CV.

Specifically, should I use “Adjunct Professor”, “instructor”, “instructor of record”, etc. as my job title?

  • I think adjunct (unfortunately) has a negative connotation associated with it, so I’m worried that my experience will be devalued if I include adjunct in my job title/description.

  • Does using just “Professor” imply that I am a full -time tenured professor?

So what is the best way to go about titling my adjunct position at this institution on my CV?

I wrote a final exam in a course, in which the professor said that he would not test our memory and give all the needed formulae, so I didn’t concentrate on memorizing them.

Would it be appropriate to politely send the professor an email with some feedback / opinion about this situation? And if this would be appropriate, what would be the best way to express this opinion as neutrally and politely as possible? So that the professor wouldn’t think that I’m mad at him or something like that.

I am an assistant professor at an undergraduate college in India. I teach a rigorous compulsory course in microeconomics, requiring some intermediate-advanced math knowledge. There is no add/drop option at my University/college, nor is there an option to take a course in a later semester. I don’t decide the syllabus or the final exam–it is set centrally. We are a publicly funded University and have a diverse set of students.

General math preparation in my country is low, due to poor schooling standards and sometimes, students are not clear about basic concepts: for example, in a third semester intermediate microeconomics course, some of them don’t know how to write the (linear) equation of a budget frontier (something taught to them in the first semester). Unless they understand such things, it is impossible for them to grasp the rest of the material, since all topics are related. Is it my responsibility to explain concepts taught in introductory-level courses? I welcome all questions and have a generally amicable attitude, so students don’t feel intimidated in getting a clarification.

However, I do get frustrated sometimes when having to answer something very basic, that too repeatedly. I get glowing feedback for most of my courses, but despite being appreciated for my effort and the clarity of explanation, a group of students (around 20% of the class) repeatedly under-performs, which upsets me a lot. How much should I hold students responsible for their learning?

I’m a new full-time faculty member in the process of finishing my PhD. Because I have not yet graduated, Instructor is the only title I feel comfortable using until I defend.

A student has asked for a letter of reference to an REU program, and I’ve become concerned that a letter from an Instructor may not be as highly received as a letter from some rank of Professor. In particular the REU is a research position and Instructor doesn’t make it clear that I’ve been involved with research in any capacity. (I did in fact mentor 6 REUs while a grad student and several more independent study undergrads, and think that this particular student is a fine candidate.)

I should note that I was asked for a letter based on having this student in class, and I feel I can write a strong letter for this individual on their qualities as a student. Another faculty member (Assistant Professor) is writing a letter based on an extracurricular project.

Two questions:

1) Will my Instructor rank cause problems for this student? Of course my letter will be less highly regarded in general due to my newness, but does being an Instructor present an additional hindrance on top of that?

2) If so, is there anything that can be done in the letter itself to mitigate this? Or, should I counsel the student to pursue a different recommendation?