Surviving the Research to Teaching Transition

Starting a new faculty position is challenging, no matter what type.  There are multiple things that take time and energy: endless decisions about purchasing and organization, deciding how to be an effective mentor and advisor, and learning the ropes at a new institution, to name a few. The transition to a new faculty position can be particularly difficult when changing gears from a research to a teaching focus, especially if you (like many researchers) have had little to no training or experience with teaching.  The metrics for success in teaching are very different from those in research.

During my training I never had a certain type of academic position in mind – I didn’t feel a strong pull in either the research or teaching direction.  Through a combination of circumstance and choice I ended up at a PUI (primarily undergraduate institution). The teaching load, although lighter than at some institutions (and in many fields) is a lot higher than those of my peers at R1 universities.  I was warned by multiple colleagues at teaching-focused schools that life would be different – and a lot harder – the first year of teaching after a career as a researcher.  Some things I was prepared for due to the timely advice of friends, but other things caught me off guard and some of them I still haven’t figured out. 

Some of the things I’ve found most difficult

  • Getting used to a rigid schedule: One of the many nice things about a research-focused job is that you largely make your own hours and schedule, and rarely come up against hard and fast deadlines: the occasional conference or invited talk, or a paper revision (which, let’s be honest, you can easily get an extension on!).  Not so with teaching. There are multiple weekly deadlines – eager and attentive students waiting to be taught the world’s secrets, who (understandably) get irritated if you try to reschedule or just don’t show up, and also have expectations about turnaround times. It all means that you have be on time, and ‘on’, a lot more often. I’ve had to learn to keep a much more regular schedule than I used to, and to stop procrastinating.
  • Giving up most of my ‘luxuries’: I work a hell of a lot more during the school year than I used to during my research positions. That means that a lot of things that I knew were luxuries (long hikes, artistic endeavors) and things that I didn’t realize were luxuries until I had no time (cooking fresh food, exercising) have completely fallen by the wayside.
  • Balancing my career and ‘family’: Luckily for me my ‘family’ consists of canine companions, which are a lot more forgiving than human companions.  Nonetheless, working extremely long hours means that they get a lot less attention than they are used to – and unlike with people, I can’t tell them why (and tell them that, hopefully, it’s a relatively short-term issue).
  • Being in a new place with no time to build a social network: Perhaps more so than some I require a strong social network to be happy and productive.  Arriving only two weeks before the start of teaching didn’t leave me a lot of time to build a new support system – and my department is both small and older than me.
  • Having to basically abandon research (for now):  I know that in the summers and during future teaching semesters I’ll have time for research – in fact, it’s required by my job and I’m excited to have graduate students. But for now, with trying to juggle teaching three new classes, setting up a lab, and settling into a new place, there just isn’t time for research.  I didn’t realize how much I loved it until it was gone, so to speak.

So given the challenges inherent in switching your focus, how do you keep sane while doing a good job in the first year or two?  I’ve talked to a variety of people at different stages in teaching-focused careers and compiled a list of some pointers that have helped.

Survival mechanisms

  • (Mostly) wait to start prepping until the just before classes start: If it’s your first time teaching, it’s a giant waste of time to spend days agonizing over every detail of your semester’s schedule.  It’s hard to guess how fast you will go through the material, and what topics you will have to spend more time on.  So much depends on the particular pool of students you’ve got that semester.  Building an arsenal of backup plans/approaches is way more effective than having a single rigid course plan.  An exception to starting prep early is choosing books – I was caught unawares (and I shouldn’t have been) when two months before classes began I needed to order the books I wanted to use.  If you get to choose your own books, contact publishers well before when you need to tell the local bookstores, so that they have time to send you instructors’ copies for you to peruse.
  • Implement a work/life balance schedule early: Carve out particular times to accomplish specific tasks such as grading or dealing with paperwork. The feeling of accomplishing discrete tasks is always good for maintaining motivation.
  • Don’t always be available: You don’t want to give your students the impression that you are always accessible (even if your gmail window rarely gets closed like mine, you don’t want to be getting frantic calls/emails at late hours/last minutes before deadlines). State right in your syllabus that you can and will take up to 48 – 72 hours to respond to emails – this gives you the weekend free from the pressures of student expectations.
  • Limit time spend prepping for class sessions: It’s true what ‘they’ say… preparing lectures takes as much time as you give it, particularly if you’re prepping classes for the first time. I’ve gotten my average prep down to 3-4 hours per one-hour lectures, which I’m quite proud of but still adds up to a huge portion of the week.  Of course I only figured out the minimum time required to make a decent lecture after a few duds that I underprepared – luckily, students don’t mind getting let out early.  Related to that..
  • Don’t beat yourself up when something doesn’t work: Some lectures or lab activities are going to be complete flops. Luckily most schools don’t expect you to be a perfect teacher when you first arrive – they want to see improvement, and dedication to being a good teacher.  Some failures are inevitable, but your students will forget them (a lot faster than you will!).
  • Develop a network of teaching colleagues: Chatting with colleagues from different fields can give you ideas about new course exercises or strategies, or a new perspective on a persistent problem with getting across a complex concept.  And there’s always comfort in swapping stories/complaints.  Many colleges have learning centers where groups of faculty chat about teaching, and social tools like Twitter can also be a great place to find a network of fellow academics.
  • Figure out the one or two things you can’t live without: I’ve given up a lot of the things I used to see as critical to my day-to-day life to survive this crazy semester (see above).  But there are a couple of things that I know that I can’t live without and be happy – and I think that everyone must have them.  Maybe for you it’s running or knitting or World of Warcraft – whatever it is, don’t give it up! (And definitely incorporate it into your schedule – it’s just as important as scheduling your work tasks).
  • Remind yourself that it gets better: Know that the experience gets easier with time and logged hours.  You will figure out what works and what doesn’t for you and your students, and by the second (and particularly third) time you teach a class the amount of stress and effort required will decrease substantially.

Preparing for a (possible) teaching career

Ph.D. programs, at least in the sciences, are in the business of training students to do good research, and not much else.  Students leave most programs with little knowledge of if they like teaching or how to do it.  Of course, given the funding situation of your university, you might get a lot of experience as a course assistant – but grading and running labs is just a small part of being a teacher.  The process of designing course goals, choosing readings, writing individual lectures, and all the others details that go into running a class are hard to get from the position of a course assistant.  If you can take the time to teach a whole course during your training, or even take a semester or year to adjunct, it will make your application to any school that cares about teaching stronger – and chances are, it won’t set your research back as much as you might fear.

When I applied for all teaching and mixed teaching/research jobs my lack of teaching experience was a hole in my CV. During my graduate career I was an assistant in a grand total of three classes (i.e. one year), only one in which I ever lectured (once) and helped design assessments and discussions. However, I was able to show a genuine interest in teaching since I took campus-based teaching classes (and workshops, seminars, etc…) during both of my postdocs.  These didn’t give me any *real* experience, but it meant that I have a least a foundational understanding about how to be an effective teacher.  These types of classes are available at many universities, and can make a candidate with no real experience a lot more acceptable/competitive/attractive. They often require minimal time, so they won’t set back your research as much as teaching a full class will – this was important for me, since many postdoctoral advisors, who are training researchers, don’t see the value in spending a lot of time on teaching.  Perhaps that should be the topic for a future post!

33 thoughts on “Surviving the Research to Teaching Transition

  1. Wow. I could have written this post. I am in my first year in a TT job — small, teaching focused school, teaching several new classes, no time for research or exercise. I also moved here about 2 weeks before the semester started, so I’m trying to get settled in and build a social network (in a friendly department but where, like you, most of my colleagues are older than me).

    I just keep telling myself that it’ll all be easier next semester.

    Thanks for your post. It made me feel better to read about someone else’s experiences with all this.

  2. Here is a gratuitous self-link: Folks who are interested in doing research in the context of a teaching institution, and how to do research while also teaching, might want to check out my site,

    I disagree with some things about managing availability, when and how to prep for classes, and how to manage time to teach efficiently and leaving time for research and sanity. But, my whole site is about that, so I won’t flood your comments with it.

  3. I would really recommend Robert Boice’s _Advice for New Faculty_ for thoughts and research about how to balance teaching, research, and life. I sympathize with this post, but I’m not sure that exercise and eating well should be considered luxuries. Boice also has recommendations about how to get teaching prep down to approximately equal time spent in class and to moderate the tendency toward feeling “too busy.”

  4. Great post! I think most of your strategies are right on target. The only thing that really shocked me was your saying that teaching was more work than research. I never see my teaching colleagues on the computer at midnight, in the lab on Thanksgiving, or just gearing up for their busy season as summer approaches. Though I did spend some late nights creating my first set of lecture notes — I learned it Wednesday night, they learned it Thursday morning — that was a one-time effort for each class. After this first time through, you’ll be revising and fine-tuning instead of creating something from scratch.

    Some of the best advice I got my first year was to give my students in-class activities like interpreting a complex summary diagram or doing an online computer tutorial. That kept me from inundating them with information, thinking I had to fill every second of class time with my own voice.

    Several years later, we hired a new instructor who clued me in to pulling much of that stuff together into study guides/lesson plans so I didn’t have to reassemble it from my files each semester. If you’re teaching physiology, you’re welcome to any of the tutorials, practice questions, or study guides from my course website at .

    • Thanks for your comment! I certainly didn’t mean to say or imply that teaching is generally more work than research – either career can have a heavy or light workload depending on the situation and how much work you are willing to put in!

      My thoughts were meant to apply primarily to the very first year or two teaching new classes… after which hopefully we have more time to think about things like our hobbies (and most effective teaching styles and integrating teaching and research)

      I have just started in-class activities in one of my classes and they have helped a lot – both my stress levels and the students’ learning – I’m trying to think of ways to do similar things in my other classes. I really like the idea of having students interpret a complex figure, thanks!

        • It’s interesting to note that the “how to succeed as a new faculty” books all suggest that putting too much time into teaching prep is the most common new faculty mistake.

          • I think putting too much time in is a huge mistake, but just like grad students don’t know how to do research efficiently, new faculty don’t know how to teach efficiently.

            Like with any new skill, you get efficient more with practice. If you’re ever going to know how to build a kickass lesson in a short period of time, then you need first know how to build a kickass lesson, and that rarely comes overnight.

            Instead of merely advising ‘spend less time on it,’ it would be more helpful to show new faculty ways to teach well that are efficient. (That’s the goal of my ‘efficient teaching’ posts, by the way)

            For faculty at a research institution, the best careerist advise would be to spend as little time on teaching prep as possible, because teaching is irrelevant for retention and tenure.

  5. I had enormous help (informally) from faculty and others I sought out who had actually had some sort of teacher training – which I lacked. From those people, I learnt not only techniques I had not thought about, but also some of the language involved in pedagogical research, and from that I got to attend some science-teaching conferences both at home and internationally. There is a huge community of American science teachers who are involved in researching to improve teaching, The main people I was involved with were in chemistry education, eg, but groups exist in all disciplines (one of my colleagues, whose work i still edit sometimes even though I’m retired, is a biologist with many biology education colleagues, and I have also been to conferences with participants from most of the STEM fields).

    I gradually learnt to do some of this type of educational research of my own, specialising in ways of teaching compulsory chem courses to non-science majors who initially hated it. This lead to more publications and conference presentations than I ever thought possible in this area of research, and certainly more than my younger self would ever have thought about.

    This is a longwinded way of saying that well-structured pedagogical research is a valuable and increasingly recognised field of research. If you are in a teaching position and interested in investigating teaching/learning processes further, some of your research may well turn out to be pedagogical research. If so, I suggest you actively seek out people in your own field (not necessarily in your own institution – many of us are lonely and undervalued in our own departments) or start reading scholarly papers and then ask someone to translate the jargon for you until you become familiar with it. If you have done courses already, you may not need this step, you may already understand. This makes a teaching position more fun and interesting for you in the long term, and if you are involved and interested then your students will become more enthusiastic too.

    I note your comment about research – ME TOO – after I had come back from one of those conferences, which I found enormously fulfilling and stimulating, my brain was full and all I wanted to do was to get back into the lab, even if only for a couple of weeks, and deal with data rather than people.

    I fought hard to get my educational papers (refereed and in respectable journals) recognised under the ‘research’ and not ‘teaching’ section of promotions applications, but in the end I succeeded and I am proud that I have made it easier for some who followed (including my aforementioned younger biology colleague, whose expertise in this areas is greater than mine). So teaching is not necessarily irrelevant for promotion and tenure, and I would *hope* that if you have specifically gained a teaching position, then the teaching will *count* for these things. Anyway, you need to keep arguing that case and having ‘teaching research’ publications as well as on-the-ground evidence of positive outcomes can only help. (Aside – keep all evidence of successes, even unsolicited emails from students that are positive. You can sort them later, choose the best and say ‘representative samples of student feedback’).

    One more comment – yes preparing classes becomes easier and less time consuming after the first year when you have a basic set of notes and pracs,even if you decide to alter some of them because you also know what didn’t work ….. but easiness can have its downside … if you don’t become engaged in the process as well as the content (you mention that you are already doing this, so have a bouquet), then after a few years it can also become boring and the students certainly relate to those vibes.

  6. I’d guess that it took me 8-10 hours for a 50 min course prep during my first semester of teaching. Those were new preps. Teaching success for a new faculty lies in part in repeating a previously taught course. The worst part was the exhaustion that came with standing in front of 30 students for an hour each day. It was hard.

    Agree with some of your suggestions, disagree with others.

    – I think that a structural outline for the semester is very important, as is a clearly defined set of learning goals/outcomes.

    – Assessment is coming to a university near you – you may as well think about figuring out exactly what you want your students to learn, and how you want to accomplish and ascertain this.

    – Not every in-class activity is going to work great, but lab activities should be tried and tested beforehand if at all possible.

    – A ‘teaching mentor’ has been huge for me – if your dept. does not assign you one, it may be a good idea to pick out a good teacher whose style you can see yourself using and taking them out for lunch.

    – Setting expectations on the first day of classes is the most important factor for success, IME. I used to walk in, talk about the syllabus, and teach a little on the first day – this has completely changed.

    – The question “how much time do I need to spend on teaching?” can be easily answered with “As much as you need to get the evaluations that will allow P&T”.

    • yes.@ attheslac.. reinforcing one of those points that I forgot to mention… “- Setting expectations on the first day of classes is the most important factor for success, IME. I used to walk in, talk about the syllabus, and teach a little on the first day – this has completely changed.” …

      but expectations of behaviour too. I found that, in order to encourage students to ask questions and reply ‘in their own words’, I had to start this FROM THE VERY FIRST DAY also. And make sure any TAs followed the same philosophy. Lose that first lesson, and they revert to their default practices (TAs and students).

    • Setting expectations at the beginning is *huge* Having a clear agenda, high expectations, clear classroom management with a clear communication of behavioral norms, make all the difference in the world for the rest of the semester. You could totally botch it weeks in, and if you have buy-in from the first couple class session, then you’ll get far more slack from the students.

      Shortly before I arrived at my institution, a little battle was apparently just decided about whether peer-reviewed work on the schoalrship of teaching could be considered as ‘research’ in every department, and the “research on teaching is genuine P&T-worthy research” faction won. So, we have some junior faculty who have gone the route of d. and become scholars of teaching, which has indirectly helped a variety of others.

  7. Great post, and I really relate to a lot of your experiences. I especially like your list of survival mechanisms. Much of this list I learned the hard way. I agree with a commenter above that a good, strong syllabus is important, but there are ways you can include some flexibility for yourself your first couple times around. For example, call the schedule a ‘tentative’ schedule in the syllabus and list the topics that you aim to cover. If you don’t get to all of them, no biggie. Let your students know that you will update it periodically throughout the semester. You don’t have to plan out all the readings in advance. Have the first two weeks assigned, but then you can tell the class you’ll assign more as you go. Also, grade by percentages instead of points. Decide what you want exams, projects, and assignments, etc., to be worth as blocks. Don’t feel it necessary to list every assignment, because chances are you have no clue how many you’re going to assign or how much they should relatively be worth.

    Some of the mechanisms that I learned vary by class type. For advanced classes, you don’t need to do it all! Make the students lead class discussions or do presentations. This is a great learning experience for them, and it takes a lot of the pressure off of you. My first semester teaching I taught a senior seminar (12 students) and an intro level class (168 students). I had all I could do to prepare lectures for the intro level class. On the first day of my seminar, I had two students sign up to lead class discussions every day for the seminar. (To keep the class accountable for the readings so the discussions wouldn’t flop, each student needed to send me a short reflection before class, pose 2 questions on a discussion board (responding to at least 1 other student’s), and I said I was grading discussion leaders on their ability to keep the discussion moving). This meant that all I had to do was choose the articles and read them. The students thought it was a lot of work, but they ended up really enjoying the class and said they learned a lot. I prepped >10 hrs for each intro class and <2 for each seminar class. I needed to do that a lot more for my intro class. Show short you-tube clips and include a lot of class activities. You don't need to lecture the whole time. I wish I would have understood that my first year. No one will judge you for not lecturing the entire time, and pedagogically, you shouldn't lecture the whole time. (I knew that because I actually have formal pedagogical training, yet I still slipped into the role I had experienced in college during my science training).

    Anyway, I don't know where you fall in the STEM spectrum, but I found this site incredibly helpful. They have a lot of ideas on teaching (particularly earth science) which are helpful! If you're in the Earth Sciences, they also have some cool ideas and sample assignments and activities. It's a great resource.

    Good luck. Teaching is hard, but it sounds like you're off to a great start!


    • great advice Gracie … but note, some institutions such as the one I worked make it mandatory to hand out a course outline, including the percentage value of all assessments, within three weeks of the class. However, there was also a statement that this could be altered with the agreement of the class. So you need to know the rules in your institution or department. And Yes, always with senior classes you can be more vague and flexible, and they learn more if they do the work (I used to tell them that I had my degree, i didn’t need to learn it all over again).

  8. The most valuable survival technique I’ve learned is to recognize my own approach to Learning a New Thing. That is to say: I’ve been doing research for what, 15 years? I’ve got that down. Teaching? Totally new. Being the overachieving type who got the TT job to start with, I have to recognize IN MYSELF the instinct to throw myself rabidly and fully at this new unknown problem until it is solved.

    However, my duties are 40/40/20. I have to limit my time, my energy, my focus spent on teaching, or I am jeopardizing my job. So, as one of my mentors says: give it your best 80%. By all means, ask around for efficient solutions that include things like in-class paired discussions (that take the load off of you) or student-led classes (they loved that, and said it drove them to understand the material so much better). But first, realize your own contribution to the problem.

  9. Thanks for this post, and all of the great comments. I just finished my first week in a TT position at a small public undergraduate school. I’m exhausted, and wondering just how I’ll make it through the year. It is good to know that spending 4+ (let’s be honest, more like 6) hours prep for 1 hour lecture is normal. I wonder how many of the new professors work over the weekend, and if so, how many hours? I’m thinking between lecture/lab preps and grading I should be spending 8-10 hrs/weekend? Can’t wait for next year, when at least 2 of 5 or 6 classes (quarter system) will be repeats.

    • You are not alone! I think many (most? all?) new profs work on the weekend. I have been trying to to take one day completely off, and that means that I’ve been working 10-12 hours on the other weekend day. Sigh. I think having repeats are going to make all the difference in the world!

      • Yes, having repeats or doing the course again makes a HUGE difference!!!!!!

        Hang in there.

        Although I used to spend almost as much time making alterations and ‘improvements’, at least there was some leeway – if I had other things to do, then I could just fish out last year’s notes/pracs. You also get to know the story you are telling in each class, and, even better, you get to know the difficulties the students have with some important concepts and the second and third time around, you can plan to spend more time or have more student interactions when you know those things come up.

        As I said, hang in there!!!!! You are all doing OK.

    • You will be working all.the.time, especially if you are in a place that highly values UG education (sounds like it). I am in year 6 and still working almost every day, at least a few hours. It does get much better, though.

      Here’s some advice from what has worked for me, but buyer beware as the criteria for what constitutes ‘successful teaching’ are different everywhere. In no particular order:

      1) Focus on the core competencies that the students will have to learn. if your first go at it isn’t especially creative, but the students report high amounts of learning, it is not the end of the world. Powerpoint slides full of lists and other text are not good teaching (IMO), but if you need them to reliable get you through the material, so be it.
      2) Focus on reaching many students at a time. “One-on-one” attention is emphasized at my SLAC. The truth is, the more attention you spend to individual students, the less you can focus on the class. An effective handout or assignment where learning takes place for the whole group beats a perfect office hour with a student every time. After two or three repeats, you will have a nice library of handouts, chapter maps, case studies, learning objectives, that you will be able to re-use or edit.
      3) Protect your time. Don’t be a hero by taking on assignments you can respectfully decline.
      4) Work effectively – Leeckblok has helped me get it done for sure.
      5) Act confidently in front of your students. You can say, “I forgot to post the slides”, or “I have not posted the slides yet. They are coming but I wanted you to focus on what I say and write on the board for the time being.” Do NOT look for pity from your students. You will not receive it.
      6) During your course prep, focus especially on the first 5-10 minutes of each lecture. Include a little activity that will get the students’ attention – e.g., show an interesting image that you can use to tie things together at the end of the chapter.
      7) Make them enjoy themselves. Show your excitement about the material. Be kind.
      8) Grade promptly and reliably.
      9) Sleep during winter break.
      10) Illustrate to your students how much they are learning – remind them quickly on how much more they know now than at the beginning of the semester
      11) Remember to ask for help – if you are supposed to be evaluated this semester, it helps to have the evaluation happen early on and ideally, over two or three lectures. Demonstrate that you are adapting your style in response to your supervisors.
      12) Ask your students for their opinion. I hand out a page that asks student about their enjoyment of the course, the instructional style, their opinion on what i could do better, and what they could do better. Talk about it during the next class. It only takes 10 – 15 min in total but puts them in the driver’s seat. It also shows that you care and your evaluations will go up not only due to the advice you got, but also the respect you earned from your students.

      Good luck, and congratulations on landing the job!

  10. #5 (which has the connotations of also being honest – if you don’t know, or haven’t yet done something, or forgot, just say so and promise to find out/do it soon then make sure you do it.

    and #10 – YES YES YES.

    • re #5 – yes, for sure. this should have been a separate point, and the single best of advice I received in graduate school: 13. Do not be confidently wrong. If you don’t know, do exactly what d. says.

      great blog post!

      • Is it wrong to respond to a response to a response to a comment? Seriously, #5 – acting confidently in front of your students – is huge. It took me years to realize how much of an authority figure I was, and how when faculty act without confidence it results in the loss of respect from some students, who feel that the professor’s lack of confidence somehow is connected to a lack of ability. The most important part of the ‘act confident’ bit is that you need to be confident about times when you are not informed or not prepared to give an answer. With respect to course content, it’s always okay – and even awesome – to say that you don’t know the answer. (Then you can look it up with the student to find the answer, or do it with the class when there is time, or just do it yourself if you want.) Students have so much faith that their confident instructor is the master of the content, that not knowing an answer to a question is clearly no problem. If you don’t know something about course structure (what date is the exam? When will you get those graded assignments back to us?), on the other hand, then you will get less latitude. They, justifiably, expect you to be prepared to run a tight ship. The more confident you are, the more slack you’ll get when you really need it.

        • well if it is wrong, I am adding to the wrongness. Talking of honesty and confidence, It is also important to admit that you made a mistake – it happens. I used to say there was a mistake in each set of lecture notes (one per lecture, on average) and it was the students’ job to find it. Amazingly, even after several years of using similar sets of notes, this still seemed to occur. Also, it is easy to say something other than what you meant to say when talking, we all do it sometimes, so be honest about that too, and laugh along with your students.

  11. After reading this, I can understand why the new science classes professors lack so many teaching skills. The majority of students dislike these type of instructors. From research to teaching is totally different. Teaching skills, communication skills, and more than anything being able to work sorrounded by many people are some of the things they lack. Institutions should not hire these researchers just because they have a Ph.D. By the way, you sound lazy, or teaching is not your thing. The most affected people here are the students not the new lack of skills instructors. The instructors get paid not matter what, but students never get to understand the material well.

    • Teaching is definitely a skill, and new professors will need to develop that skill to various degrees regardless of whether we have pedagogical training or not. It’s going to take practice, and mistakes will be made. Yes, some students will suffer because a professor is teaching a course for the first time, but there’s really no other way for someone to learn. And teaching is just one of many, many other duties we have, even for faculty who aren’t doing a lot of research. Institutions don’t just hire PhD’s willy-nilly — they base decisions on a number of factors, including experience, how good a seminar someone gives (research and teaching), training, research ability, etc.

      You’re making a lot of generalizations in your comment — which “types” of instructors do you mean? New ones? Research professors?

      What makes the instructor sound lazy? I’ve heard this same advice from really top-notch professors, too. Until you’ve actually been in the position of developing and teaching new classes while starting as a new professor, you may not have any idea just how many demands on your time there are. Remember that anyone teaching your classes has also been a student, so they remember what it’s like, but the same is not true of students (most students have never had to teach a class). So many have a little bit of empathy the next time you see a professor struggling to do their best in a classroom for the first time. There are bad teachers out there, absolutely, and there’s a lot wrong with our university educational system, but I can assure you that there are no red flags in this post that indicate to me that the author is lazy, a poor teacher, or lacks the appropriate training to do her job well. You might want to read the comments, too, to get a sense of the experiences of other first-time professors.

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