VIGNETTE: So You’ve Landed the Job… (or Surviving Your First Semester)

Laura Hanzly

During my last semester at Virginia Tech, I was instructor for a course I had helped teach as either co-instructor or Teaching Assistant for the past two years[1]. Three months later I would be at a brand-new university and the instructor for two courses that were completely new to me. My time at VT had lulled me into a false sense of confidence and security in my teaching; I knew my lessons plans front and back and by the time I was instructor of record I also knew what wouldn’t work in the classroom. This was in stark contrast to my first semester as a newly hired lecturer fresh out of graduate school. I had almost no time to plan lessons before the semester began, was unfamiliar with the courses I was teaching, and most importantly had to find a way to deal with the realization I had no way of knowing what would and wouldn’t work for my courses.

To help deal with these feelings of being overwhelmed and imposter syndrome that may come with your first semester of teaching, I found mid-semester course evaluations vitally important. I already knew the benefits of mid-semester evaluations in terms of students having a voice in the classroom and feedback for teaching style and course design, but I did not realize how hearing students’ feedback would instantly reduce my imposter syndrome feelings and eliminate my constant second guessing of the lesson plans I created.

  1. How to cite this vignette:

    Hanzly, L. 2022. So You've Landed the Job... (or Surviving Your First Semester). In: Westfall-Rudd, D., Vengrin, C., and Elliott-Engel, J. (eds.) Teaching in the University: Learning from Graduate Students and Early-Career Faculty. Blacksburg: Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. License: CC BY-NC 4.0.


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Teaching in the University Copyright © 2022 by Laura Hanzly is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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