Teaching is an important part of the academic profession and provides excellent experience in public presentation skills. All graduate students are required to complete at least one semester of classroom teaching as part of their graduate training, and we encourage students to do more.
The Department of Mathematics provides significant support for new teachers. A training program must be completed in order to teach in service course recitations. This program involves practice teaching in a recitation, completing a Microteaching Workshop and having a recitation recorded for the purposes of feedback from the faculty.
Practice Teaching — The semester before actual teaching is to begin, the student attends an ongoing recitation for several sessions and then, mentored by the current recitation leader, conducts the class for most of an hour. The students in that class and the recitation leader then evaluate the performance. Those interested in practice teaching must sign up as early in the semester as possible: consult staff in the Math Academic Services Office. A successful practice teaching session is a prerequisite to participation in the Microteaching Workshop.
Microteaching Workshop — This 6-8 hour seminar, spread over 3-4 days, is usually offered at the end of each semester and at the start of the fall semester. The first sessions include a discussion of issues and responsibilities related to recitation teaching and a critique of recordings of several recitation classes. In the remaining sessions, each participant is assigned a problem from calculus and makes a ten-minute presentation to the group. Constructive criticism follows.
New postdoctoral fellows and incoming instructors are also expected to take this workshop before they teach recitations.
- Recitation Teaching — Upon successful completion of the Microteaching Workshop, the student will likely be assigned to teach a recitation the following semester. An early recitation taught by the new TA will be videotaped and critiqued by members of the faculty.
Demonstrated proficiency in English is a prerequisite to participation in the teacher training program. Non-native speakers who receive recommendations to enroll in English Language Students (ELS) subjects based on the results of their English Evaluation Test are expected to do so before being allowed to teach. More information on these may be found on the CMSW English Language Studies page.