How to prepare for class without overpreparing

I’ll get right to the point, because I know you don’t have much time. A new semester is looming, and you are overwhelmed. It could be because you’re early in your teaching career and still feeling your way. Or it could be related to the impossible amount of work you are facing, as teaching loads grow ever heavier. But some of it arises from a common problem that you can help to alleviate yourself: You are overpreparing for class.

Almost 20 years ago, when I wrote a column about my first year as a full-time faculty member, one of the major realizations I reported was that I had spent way too much time preparing for class. These days I help orient new faculty members throughout their first year, and I have seen how many of them struggle with that same problem.

Faculty members overprepare for lots of reasons. You feel an obligation to give students the full benefit of the knowledge you have acquired. You want to ensure that they recognize and respect your expertise. You are nervous that you will run out of material before the class period comes to an end. Or perhaps you just want to make sure that the class will run as smoothly as possible, and so you attempt to foresee every potential problem in advance.

[ Read the original article at The Chronicle of Higher Education. ]

 For more information for instructional design resources for your courses, contact the University Center for Teaching and Learning’s Teaching Support unit.