Erika Romero

PhD Candidate and Education Blogger

How to Deal with Problematic Student Behavior

We’re almost a month into the fall semester at this point. It’s likely that you’ve encountered some problematic student behavior that is really frustrating you. Or maybe you’re feeling constantly low-key angry in class, but can’t put your finger on what exactly is bothering you. In either case, today’s post is all about figuring out what student behavior is upsetting you and coming up with solutions that will decrease your negative feelings.

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How to Get Students to Read

The fall semester has started, and you’re teaching a course that’s heavy on reading assignments. How do you get your students to actually do the reading? Literature courses are often general education courses, which means that many of your students aren’t used to heavy reading loads and have little to no interest in doing all the reading you’ve assigned to them. So, in today’s post, I want to offer three student accountability strategies that can help motivate your students to read their assigned texts. While the strategies might be quite common, I go into detail on how I design these activities for best effect.

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Time Management & Healthy Habits for Graduate Students (Who Teach)

Now that I’ve finished my series on designing your course materials and activities for the first week of class, I’d like to take a moment to provide some advice for those of you wondering how time management for graduate students who teach is even possible with all you have to get done. Plus, how you can keep up healthy habits while so overloaded with work. I realize that not all new college instructors are grad students. But, teaching assistantships are quite common for PhD students and even some MA students, so I want to make sure to offer advice to this large body of new instructors. Earning a graduate degree while living the rest of your life can be a struggle if you don’t go in with the right mindset and a plan. And even after years as a grad student, I’ve still needed to improve my own time management skills and self-care habits year after year. In today’s post, I’ve provided some time management tips and healthy habit tips to help you start your academic year off on the right note. FYI: If you’re a grad student but aren’t teaching as part of your responsibilities, many of the tips in this post are more general to the grad school experience.

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Creating a Student Self-Assessment to Understand Expectations & Prior Knowledge

We’ve reached the final blog post in the “Successful Start: Designing Your First Week of Class” series. Today’s post follows up on the workbook’s descriptions of various types of student self-assessment activities, the goals of these activities, and how to approach creating one. If you’re just joining us now, here’s the free 60+ page Successful Start workbook which you can use to create your materials for the first week of class. At this point, we’ve covered the syllabus, course schedule, icebreakers, and major class assignments and their instruction sheets. Complimentary YouTube videos for this whole series are also available, with the final video touching upon the benefits of having students complete a self-assessment during week one.

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Major Class Assignment Types and Why I Use Them

We’ve officially arrived at week four of the “Successful Start” series. So far, we’ve covered the syllabus, the course schedule, and icebreakers. Next week we’ll wrap up with student self-assessments. But today, it’s all about your major class assignments and how to introduce them to your students. In the workbook, I cover standard and nonstandard elements when creating your assignment instruction sheets. In today’s video (embedded in this post), I discuss how I introduce my major assignments to students during the first week of class (and why I do so during week one). In this blog post, I’m going over a few of the major assignment types I’ve used in my courses (examples included), in case you’re stuck on deciding what assignments to include in your courses (or don’t know where to begin). I’ve included my perspective on why I think these assignments work well for students and for instructors, as well.

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Icebreaker Activities for College Students

Today’s post will be a quick read, since I’ve already described in detail seven different icebreaker activities that I’ve used in my classrooms in the workbook that accompanies this five-part series. [For anyone who’s just joining us, we’ve already covered the syllabus and the course schedule elements of the first week of class.] Rather than go over the same icebreaker descriptions again, I thought I’d share a few personal experiences I’ve had with icebreakers instead. I’m also sharing a few additional icebreaker games that can be used with larger student numbers (75+). Let’s go break some ice!

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