Yale Center for Teaching and Learning

Chapter 2: Teaching a Successful Section

If you’re going to read only one chapter of this book, read this one. It covers some of the most fundamental aspects of teaching a section, from asking good questions to maintaining control in the classroom. Although some of the specifics pertain uniquely to being a TF, many of these suggestions will be useful even after you’ve moved on, whether to a faculty position or something else entirely. Teaching a good section, after all, is a matter of developing good communication and leadership skills. Those will come in handy no matter what you do after Yale.

Teaching a successful section requires balancing the needs and desires of three different parties: the faculty member who’s in charge of the course, you, and your students. You need to think about the relationship of your section to the course overall before classes start, but you can’t really figure that out until you know what the faculty member who’s in charge of the course envisions that role to be. So do a little bit of groundwork before the semester starts: talk to the faculty member, then cup your chin and ponder your role.