FAQ for New AIs at Princeton

How can I teach inclusively?

We all want our classrooms to be inviting places where diverse perspectives and backgrounds are welcome and enrich the educational experience. If you create a classroom climate that is supportive of diversity and promotes a sense of belonging, your students are more likely to succeed. See this list for some inclusive teaching tips you can implement right away, and consider attending a workshop in McGraw for more ideas.  You may also want to consult Claude Steele’s Whistling Vivaldi, which provides an important introduction to social scientific research on the impact of stereotypes and what we can do about them.

How can I figure out if my precept or lab is going well?

  • Ask students to write down a “muddiest point” from class or precept on an index card to learn what they’re confused about
  • Consider using an anonymous mid-semester evaluation
  • Invite an observer from McGraw to visit your class and give you feedback

How can I learn more about teaching?

McGraw offers a full range of programs to help you improve your skills in the classroom and help you prepare for jobs after Princeton using those skills by:

  • Helping you develop techniques to encourage active learning in your classroom
  • Visiting your class and reflecting with you on your teaching
  • Individually consulting with you about specific or general teaching concerns
  • Providing a context in workshops to develop and articulate your values as a teacher
  • Consulting with you as you develop and enhance your Statement of Teaching Philosophy
  • Supporting you as an international student making the transition to teaching in the American classroom
  • Offering you the Teaching Transcript to demonstrate your commitment to effective teaching in your academic job search
  • Introducing you to new classroom technologies and helping you develop pedagogically sound ways of incorporating them into your teaching
  • Engaging you in conversations about teaching with faculty and graduate students from across the university
  • Providing opportunities for professional development to help prepare you both for faculty careers and for careers outside the academy

How can teaching help me if I’m planning on a non-academic career?

Effective teachers are both leaders and listeners, with excellent communication and time management skills. Expertise in conveying complex information clearly, asking key questions, guiding groups through problem-solving to solutions, and giving critical and constructive feedback are not simply classroom skills, however—these are career skills desired by many employers outside the academy as well, and teaching can help you refine these important skills.

What important University Policies should I know about as I begin teaching?

For a full and updated list of policy documents, please consult the ODOC Publications Library

What can I do if I’m worried about a student?

You should speak to the course head about students you’re concerned about, and from there you should know that all undergraduates at Princeton are supported by the Residential College system including a dean, director of studies, and director of student life. You can report concerns using the Student in Difficulty Reporting System.

How can I get help for students who need academic support?

As it says on the Dean of the College’s website, “Every Princeton student, no matter how extraordinary, will need to ask for help at some point in his or her academic career. “ While some amount of support will be provided within the structure of a course, you may also wish to refer your students to the range of resources available to them, including support through the McGraw Center, the Writing Center, and the Residential Colleges.

How can I get help with classroom and teaching technologies?