- Get familiar with your classroom. Are there hidden lights and switches? Where do you want to sit or stand?
- Evaluate the seating arrangement: Can all students see and hear?
- Turn on the lights and regulate shades to control blackboard glare.
- Close the door to shut out noise and distractions.
- Look directly at students when you talk and try to make eye contact with each of them. Turn around frequently (after 1-2 lines) when you write on the blackboard.
- Speak loudly enough, but not too loudly. Encourage students to signal to you if they cannot hear you or other students. You may need to repeat what other students say.
- Speak more slowly than you think you need to, especially if English is not your first language. This will help you enunciate more clearly.
- Try to avoid mannerisms that will distract from what you are saying, and fillers such as “you know,” “like,” and so on.
- Feel free to stop and think in silence. Using “uh-h-h” or “um-m-m” will make you appear nervous and unprepared.
- Use gestures to emphasize important points. Standing near the board or screen and pointing to a key idea is one way of reinforcing it.
- Don’t read long passages out of a text. If students need copies of problems to be discussed, ask them to bring their texts to class or provide handouts for them.
Use of the blackboard
- Erase the board completely before starting class.
- Use the area systematically, usually from left to right. Plan ahead if something has to remain visible for the entire class.
- Write legibly, even if it takes longer. Learn to write in straight lines. Practice helps.
- Write large enough for all students to read the board easily and then stand aside so students can see what you’ve written.
- Give students time to keep up with what you’re writing. Watch them for clues to see if you’re going too quickly.
- Use consistent symbols and make sure your notation is consistent with the text and the lectures.
- Draw diagrams carefully. Be sure to label the axes on graphs.
- Learn how to deal with squeaky chalk. Use the edges rather than the point. You may also want to break whole pieces in half.