One of the most effective ways to improve your teaching is to take the time to reflect on your teaching experiences. Each time you finish teaching a class, take a few moments to consider what went well, and what you could improve for your next class. Aspects of teaching that you should consider include, but are certainly not restricted to, your time management, your interaction with students, your confidence in your own level of preparation, and your ability to encourage student participation, cover all material clearly, understand and answer student questions, and facilitate discussion.
You might find it helpful to keep a teaching journal where you can jot down notes directly after teaching, while the experience is still fresh in your mind. Not only will these notes be helpful when you are preparing to teach your next class, they will also help you to construct a teaching dossier.
A teaching dossier, or teaching portfolio, is a complete and comprehensive record of all your teaching activities and of all your accomplishments as a teacher. Of course, compiling a teaching dossier is useful for you to help you reflect upon and therefore improve your teaching. However, more and more universities are now requesting that applicants to faculty positions, as well as current faculty members, provide evidence of their commitment to teaching – a teaching dossier. Therefore, compiling a teaching dossier is an excellent investment in your academic future.
The Teaching Dossier section of “An Instructional Resource Guide for Teaching Assistants” provides helpful advice on how to build and structure a teaching dossier. This section of the guidebook clearly outlines the key elements that should be included in any teaching dossier and provides leading questions to help you consider and form your own philosophy of teaching.