While the Bok Center's mandate extends chiefly to improving the quality of teaching and learning at Harvard, we also believe that the best way to improve teaching here is to prepare Harvard faculty and graduate students to become reflective practitioners for the duration of their careers.
The Job Market (i.e. Teaching Statements and Teaching Portfolios)
Thinking about how you will present your teaching experience and teaching persona on the academic job market can be useful not only as a way of preparing for a job interview, but also as a way of clarifying for yourself the kind of teacher that you want to be, and the kinds of things that you value in an educational setting—whether or not you are at the point of seeking, or even want to seek, a tenure-track position. While the Bok Center will always be less prepared than your academic supervisor to initiate you into the specific expectations around teaching statements and teaching portfolios which reign in your discipline, we are happy to offer general advice about how to talk about the things that you do in your classroom.
The Bok Center partners with the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) and the Office of Undergraduate Education (OUE) to celebrate the winners of their teaching awards for lecturers and preceptors, graduate student TFs and TAs, and undergraduate CAs.
Writing Letters of Recommendation
Writing letters of recommendation is a skill that will be of great importance throughout your teaching career, and should be viewed as an almost integral part of your teaching experience. Students in your sections or tutorials who have had a positive experience—in terms of what they have learned, or the work they have produced—are likely to come to you for a letter of recommendation. Indeed, an abundance of requests can be taken as an indication that you are a good teacher and have an ability to establish a rapport with your students. While there is no single "recipe" for producing effective letters, there are some general principles and practices which you can employ to give your students their best shot at success.