Classrooms are assigned well in advance of the beginning of each semester through the Office of the Registrar. Once you know where you will be teaching in a classroom or supervising a lab, visit the room.

  • ​Do the lights, windows, and window coverings work?

  • If you are in a lab, is the safety equipment easily accessible and up-to-date?

  • Will you have access to the teaching technology you need and does it work?

  • Have you asked the departmental or course administrative assistant about keys, photocopy privileges, and supplies?

  • What kind of chair arrangement is in the classroom? Can you move the chairs and tables? If so, what arrangement would be most conducive to student learning?

  • Where will you want students to sit in a large classroom?

  • Is the assigned room unsuitable for you or your students? If so, let your departmental administrative assistant know. Another, more appropriate room may be available. 

If you are comfortable in the space, you will be— and appear to be—more confident. If you will use a lectern, stand behind it to make sure you will be able to make eye contact with every student in the class. Then “break free” of the lectern and move throughout the room—laterally in the front, down the aisles, even behind the last row of chairs. Remember that this “real estate” is all part of the classroom; moving throughout the classroom can enliven a lecture and encourage student participation.

The OTLT Learning Spaces Team can help you learn how to use the technology in the room you are assigned, and are available to help if anything is broken or not Planning Ahead and the First Day of Class Good instructors walk into a classroom on the first day—and every subsequent day—having prepared ahead for class. Planning ahead includes research, talking with colleagues, formulating teaching and learning goals and objectives, creating a syllabus, and outlining the first day—if not the first several sessions—of the course working right. They can also work with you to make sure that any software you require for your teaching is available on the classroom computer. 

In addition to visiting and becoming comfortable in the classroom or lab, get to know your students before the first day of class.

  • If you receive a course list before the semester begins, read students’ names aloud several times.

  • During the first few class sessions, you undoubtedly will mispronounce some names. Don’t be embarrassed; just explain that it might take you a time or two to say names correctly.

  • As students pronounce their names, write phonetic spellings of names you find difficult.

  • Look at each student as they respond when you call roll. This will help you remember their names next time around. Consider doing icebreaker activities during the first week of class to learn students’ names and to build community in your class. 

  • If you have a small enough class, you can use a few minutes during the early sessions to engage in a quick conversation with each student. You’ll remember the conversation, which will help you remember their names.