How to Prepare to Apply for a Job in Academia Series, Part 2: Observe

Welcome back to the series on How to Prepare to Apply for a Job in Academia!  This series was created to give you a starting point as well as a roadmap for applying for jobs.  Because, trust me, it’s very overwhelming!  Here is what we cover in this 3 part series:

Part 1:  Be Observed

Part 2:  Observe

Part 3:  Roadmap to Success

In Part 1, we talked about how important it is to be observed teaching in the classroom.  If you missed the previous post, click here.

How to Prepare to Apply for a Job in Academia, Part 2: Observe | The Academic Society | for math and STEM grad students

Part 2:  Observe Others’ Teaching Practices

If you are in grad school for anything other than Education, you probably had never taught anything before starting grad school.


So that means your own experiences in front of a classroom is not enough.  It is wildly helpful to see how others in your field teach their classes.  Particularly, the people known for their teaching skills!


Like the people I mentioned in Part 1 of this series who will be observing your teaching.


Since you want to develop a relationship with them, you should definitely ask them if you can sit in on a couple of their classes to observe them.


This is especially helpful if they are teaching the same classes as you, or a class that you will be teaching in the future.


And what should you do while you observe them?


Take notes!  Notice how they interact with the class.  Get a feel for their flow and teaching style.


Use the same form that I mentioned in Part 1 and fill it out for them.


If you missed Part 1, click here.


Click here to get the Teaching Observation Form.

What do you do if you notice that your teaching is severely lacking compared to the teaching practices of the person you observed?


Ask them for more help.  I know that I love to talk about teaching.  They will be happy to help.


Ask them how they plan their classes.  Ask them how they choose what problems to work in class.  Ask them how they get students to participate in their lectures.


I have a method that I use that starts on the first day of classes to warm the students up and let them know that I want them to participate in the lectures throughout the whole semester.  I created a full email course that you can take to learn more.


Click here to take the FREE email course.

student engagement ecourse for math graduate students The Academic Society

I hope that you are enjoying this series so far.  There is only one part left.  But first, let’s recap.


What do we need to do before we start applying for jobs in academia?  Observe and be observed!  Click here to read part 3 of the series.


Here’s that form again, in case you missed it before.

Get the Teaching Observation Form

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By | 2017-03-23T15:42:38+00:00 March 21st, 2017|Career Development|3 Comments

About the Author:

I'm Toyin, a newly minted Math PhD just starting my career as a professor. I know, first hand, that navigating the real world after years and years of educational preparationcan be difficult. So I'm here to help!


  1. sule alli March 21, 2017 at 6:05 pm - Reply

    I wish I am in your field because your expression of methodology is quite friendly and easy to follow. I also wish I am one of your students but as a father, I am most proud of your knowledge and ability to keep things simple.

    • Toyin March 22, 2017 at 12:11 pm - Reply

      Thanks so much Daddy! Glad you enjoyed this!

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