Why Taking Teaching Methodology Courses Is Crucial to Being a Good Colleague

I won’t repeat what I said before about the importance of having some training in pedagogy before you teach if you want to become a good educator. I now want to address the issue of how not knowing anything about the methodology of teaching makes one a bad colleague to one’s fellow educators.

What you always hear during methodology of teaching courses is that you have to make sure you don’t invade the students’ time. You have to arrive for your class when it’s scheduled (and not 15 minutes before) and finish the class when it should end (and not 5 minutes later.) If there is a break in a longer session you are giving, you need to leave the classroom. Students need that time to themselves without you hovering in the background.

Of course, teachers want to have 5-10 minutes before the beginning of class to connect the equipment, open the notes, arrange the materials on the desk, etc. However, you can’t do that at the expense of students and colleagues.

To give you an example, the moment I finish my lecture on Hispanic Civilization, I have the prof who teaches right after me enter the classroom, plant herself next to me and start placing her cell phone, notes and textbooks on the table. The same table where I still have all my stuff spread out.

I never detain students a minute longer than the scheduled class time. To the contrary, I always finish 1-2 minutes earlier to be able to gather my stuff, pack up, and leave in peace. If I have to break my lecture mid-sentence to stick to the schedule, that’s what I do. This means that there are still 10 minutes between my class and the next scheduled class after I go away. I need to be able to take a couple of minutes to get my things, log off the computer, talk to students who come up to me, etc. It’s important that I do it without an inconsiderate colleague breathing down my neck.

Dear colleagues: you only need to be in the classroom during scheduled class time. This is what you are paid for. Coming to the classroom Β early and staying there late doesn’t make you a better teacher. It makes you an inconsiderate professor and colleague.

12 thoughts on “Why Taking Teaching Methodology Courses Is Crucial to Being a Good Colleague

  1. I like a bit more flexibility than this. I have a class scheduled from 7 to 9 pm twice a week. We only need to meet for 75 minutes. I let students know in advance that the length of classes will vary, and that if we get 75 minutes ahead in total time we have met, we can cancel class on mutually agreeable dates. This term, because of Hurricane Irene, we have already cancelled a class, but making it up will be easy with this policy.


    1. That sounds like a really cool way of structuring a class. I think one has to be tenured to get away with something like this, though. Here, I get constantly told that I have to be in class between X and XX times, no matter what.


  2. Ah, how things have changed. One of my memorable professors at the University of Virginia 45 years ago would walk into the classroom at 11:03, not 11:00, walk to the podium, sigh audibly, reach into his tweed sport coat pocket, take out his folded typed copy of a chapter from the book he was currently writing, and begin to read. At 11:55, on the dot, he would fold the paper, return it to his coat pocket, and leave for his office. It was the same every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for 14 weeks.

    Today we have power points, overhead projectors and cell phones. What the hell is a prof doing with their cell phone on in class? Oh, and a semester was 14 weeks long, not 13 weeks. Of course we didn’t have as many distractions in those days because the bucolic University of Virginia was all male, including the faculty, and the women were at Mary Washington College, an hour and a half away. Nor were there distractions like students asking questions. One does not ask questions of a god, only repeat the received truth verbatim. πŸ˜‰


    1. I use a cell phone in class. And I hope my administrators aren’t reading this particular comment. πŸ™‚ Today, for example, I asked students to answer questions in groups. The classroom is set up in a way that precludes me from walking around. So I read a few of the comments on this blog. πŸ™‚ It surely beats just standing there like a monument to myself. πŸ™‚


      1. You are not using a cell phone, Clarissa. It is a web enabled device that enables you to research up to the minute topics for potential class enhancement;-)


        1. Finally, somebody who really gets me! πŸ™‚ I’m a nicer, happier, kinder person since I’ve become a blogger. Which means that students benefit directly from my blogging. πŸ™‚


  3. I find this post interesting, because my first classes were today. I have my first class at the earliest possible time in the morning, so the professor was there early (I actually got there twenty minutes early). At the end of the lecture (before the end, actually), it was the kids who were getting up and talking, and the professor hadn’t yet stopped giving his lecture. Meanwhile, calculus let out on time without the random people getting up in the last five minutes, and when my class went to walk out of the room another class was trying to push its way in.

    I don’t know if it relates entirely to the topic at hand; I just found it odd.


    1. Today, I noticed that my Freshman seminar students were getting exhausted with a 1 hour 15 minute class. So I let them go early because there is no reason to keep them there when they are not absorbing any information any more. So if I see that the students are ready to leave, I prefer to let them go instead of keeping them there in suffering.

      I hope you enjoy your first semester of studies!!! I mean, I know you will be a stellar student. But I hope the profs manage to keep you challenged enough. πŸ™‚


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.