Yale Teaching Center

Frequently Asked Questions

Teaching at Yale

What is shopping period?

At the beginning of each semester, Yale students have several weeks to “shop” for classes before they commit to a course schedule. During this time, you may experience a shifting population in your classroom and will need to plan accordingly.

How do I find a classroom for my section meetings?

According to Graduate School policies governing teaching fellows, it is the responsibility of the course instructor, not the TF, to secure classrooms. In practice, if you must find a room or book something extra such as a review session, the Registrar handles room reservations for undergraduate courses. Contact 203.432.2335 or e-mail us with your course info, the number of students, any technology needs, and the dates and times for which you require a classroom. For seminar rooms, lecture rooms, and classrooms in colleges or departments, you can contact the individual colleges or departments directly.

What is a dean's excuse?  How do they work?

A dean’s excuse is provided to a student by his or her residential college dean. The purpose is to let you know that the dean has authorized the student to contact you about making arrangements for handing in late work or making up a missed lab or exam. If you have questions about a particular student situation, you may contact the dean directly.

I think my student may have plagiarized. What should I do?

Keep copies of all the evidence and present this to the course instructor. He or she has the authority to make decision about how to handle suspected plagiarism.

What information about teaching fellows is included in the online course evaluations?

Evaluations of teaching fellows are part of the course evaluation process. Your evaluations can be accessed here.

Are postdocs at Yale permitted to teach?

The Provost’s Office recently issued a revised policy for teaching by Yale Postdoctoral Associates and Postdoctoral Fellows.

How can I find out who is signed up for my section?

To see who is signed up for your section:
— Visit the Classes*V2 website.
— Go to the specific course you are teaching.
— On the left bar select “Roster.”
— Toward the top select “Discussion Sections.”

To see how many students are signed up for your section relative to other sections:
— Visit Yale’s Online Course Information website (http://students.yale.edu/oci/search.jsp).
— Select “View Discussion Section Statistics.”
— Open the PDF file and find your course.

How do I make photocopies for my section?

Chances are you will have handouts for some or many of your sections. To pay for these, you should ask the course’s instructor for his or her copy code and the machines that recognize this code.

Where do I hold office hours?

This is up to you, unless there is a specific guideline provided by the instructor. Many TFs hold their office hours at local coffee shops, the Bass Library café, the Blue Dog Café, and other common areas on campus. You can meet students in your research lab, but be careful about limiting your availability or you might have more visitors than you expected.

How do I order desk copies of books used for the course?

There are several ways to obtain a desk copy. You can start by asking the department registrar, who will sometimes have a set of copies to loan out. In some case, a course’s head TF will handle this.

Desk copies come from the publisher. If you need to obtain a copy on your own, start by contacting Labyrinth and the Yale Bookstore for their assistance, since they deal with publishers regularly. They may ask you to write a letter in which you request your copies

Sample letter:

[DATE]

Cambridge University Press
Distribution Center
100 Brookhill Drive
West-Nyack, NY 10994-2133

Dear Sir or Madam,
This is [YOUR NAME], a teaching assistant from the department of [your department], Yale University. I am writing for a desk copy of a Cambridge University Press publication, Democracy and Development: Political Institutions and Well-Being in the World, 1950-1990, which is adopted for course use in my department. Professor [NAME], the instructor for the course, has ordered textbooks for students through Labyrinth Books [or the Yale Bookstore] in New Haven, CT.

Here is the detailed information: [INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION: BOOK TITLE, AUTHOR, ISBN, COURSE NAME, ENROLLMENT, INSTRUCTOR’S NAME, DEPARTMENT ADDRESS]

We are requesting that you mail a desk copy to Prof. [NAME] at the above address. Thank you very much. Please contact me with any questions [YOUR E-MAIL ADDRESS.]

Sincerely yours,
[Your Name]

What academic deadlines and holiday observances should I know about?

These are often included on the course syllabus. You can find academic deadlines online.

— Late September/early October: Jewish holiday (Rosh Hashanah)
— October: Jewish holiday (Yom Kippur)
— Late October: Parents’ Weekend
— Late November: 1-week fall recess
— Early December: Classes End; Reading Period Begins
— March: 2-week spring break
— March or April: Christian holidays (Good Friday and Easter), Jewish holiday (Passover)

The Yale University Chaplain’s Office provides a link to an online multifaith calendar with lots more information.

What is the Classes*V2 server?

Server address: https://classesv2.yale.edu

What it is:

It is an online tool that every class at Yale has access to. It has lots of useful tools: a means to e-mail all students at once, a place for students to submit their homework, a discussion board, etc. Every submission is time-stamped and identified by the student’s name.

How to be added as a TF on the Classes*V2 server:

If the instructor is computer literate, then ask him or her to add you as a TF for the course.

If the instructor is not computer-literate (or is too busy), then e-mail Gloria Hardman, who works in media services, and ask to be added as a TF to the course’s Classes*V2 website. Once you are a member, then you can add other TFs by following these instructions:

(1) From the left menu of your course site, click Site Info > Add Participants.

(2) If you know the TF's NetID, type it in the box labeled NetID(s). If you need to find a NetID, click Search Yale Directory and follow the directions. You may add multiple NetIDs in the box, with each on a separate line.

(3) Select TF from the available roles, then click Continue.

(4) Click Continue and then Finish.

 

Yale Teaching Center

I can’t make it to your workshops because of conflicting commitments. Is there anywhere I can get some advice on common teaching issues?

Yes! Check out our modules (link), which feature useful tips and strategies for everything from leading discussions in section to promoting diversity in the classroom.

What kind of background or teaching experience do I need to apply to be a YTC Fellow?

You are eligible to apply if you have had at least one semester of teaching at Yale. We provide all the training you will need to carry out your role as a YTC Fellow. Each year when we hire new fellows, teaching experience is just one of many factors we consider. These include passion for teaching, compatibility with the group, and whether we already have fellows representing your department.

What is a dean’s excuse?  How do they work?

A dean’s excuse is provided to a student by his or her residential college dean. The purpose is to let you know that the dean has authorized the student to contact you about making arrangements for handing in late work or making up a missed lab or exam. If you have questions about a particular student situation, you may contact the dean directly.

I think my student may have plagiarized. What should I do?

Keep copies of all the evidence and present this to the course instructor. He or she has the authority to make decision about how to handle suspected plagiarism.

What information about teaching fellows is included in the online course evaluations?

Evaluations of teaching fellows are part of the course evaluation process. Your evaluations can be accessed here.

 

My Teaching Center

How can I prepare for an academic career while I’m in graduate school?

In addition to the many workshops and training opportunities offered by the YTC, each fall we collaborate with Graduate Career Services to offer a series of workshops called “The Academic Job Search.” In late summer, we offer an intensive version for scientists called “Academic Job Search Training Lab.”

Can I get some help with my teaching statement?
Yes, we are happy to make an appointment with you to review your teaching statement and make suggestions. In the fall, we also hold drop-in office hours if you simply have a few questions.
What’s the difference between a teaching statement and a philosophy of teaching?
In practice, these terms are used interchangeably in job ads.