Because so much time can be spent of preparing syllabi and lesson plans, a lot of practical things that are critical to a successful teaching and learning experience can often get overlooked. Here are a few items to take care of well before classes start:
• Get keys to the room(s) you will teach in, if necessary. ( I didn’t even think of this before my first day of teaching. Imagine my embarrassment when I couldn’t get into the room!)
• Order materials and supplies. Find out from the secretary or from other faculty in your area how this is done, and how it is paid for.
• Find out if there is lab/materials fee in your department. If so, how does it work? What do students pay for separate from any fee? What is paid for or supplied by the institution?
• Check out, clean and organize classroom or studio as needed.
• Upload course information on Blackboard or other similar site, if used by your institution. Be sure to make it available to students!
• Find out what the Add/Drop policies and procedures are at your institution, and any important deadlines related to that. Related to that are finding out what the maximum enrollment levels are for the class(es) you are teaching.
• Find out what policies your institution has for field trips. Some require students to complete a Field Trip Release form prior to going on an off-campus field trip.
• Find out how to access enrollment information for your class(es). The secretary should be able to provide you with this information.
• Find out how grading is recorded and submitted along with any deadlines at the the of the quarter/semester. Also look into the policy for awarding “Incomplete” grades.