Teaching Teams

A key component of designing your course may be planning how the work will be distributed with the teaching team. Faculty may be supervising teaching teams involving Teaching Assistants, graduate student Teaching Fellows, and/or undergraduate Course Assistants. Successful courses have clear systems to ensure that all members of a teaching team are on the same page, and that the course engine is running smoothly. For graduate student TFs, learning to be part of the teaching team is a crucial part of their teaching and professional development. We have compiled some key tips for teaching teams:

  • Meet regularly to maintain pedagogical coherence across the course. We recommend that the teaching team for a class meet regularly to discuss course activities, plans for sections, and challenges that arise. Weekly team meetings may also be used for specific TF training, depending on the course content.

  • Clarify roles and responsibilities. Make sure the different roles of the team are clear for lecture, section, and other components of the course. This pre-term planner may be helpful for this purpose: who will be responsible for each feature of the course? How will you work together? How should TFs ask questions of each other and of the course head? (By email? Slack?). The following tools can help facilitate good communication within a team:

    • Zoom. Even as we continue to get used to being in person, Zoom remains be a useful tool for teaching team meetings, as well as office hours with students.

    • Slack. Some units / courses / departments are using Slack, a remote work platform.

    • Google Hangouts / Google Docs / Google Drive. This suite of google tools is available to everyone in the FAS via g.harvard.

  • Practice together. Use regular TF meetings to practice specific components of a course, or talk about challenging material.