Summertime Teaching

Summer is traditionally a more relaxed time for most of us. While successful professors adapt their teaching somewhat to that fact, it is critical that we maintain the high standards being increasingly demanded in an age of accountability. Other changes one might expect during a summer term include:.

  • Students visiting their families, who are not regularly enrolled in the institution, who might be somewhat unfamiliar with common practices;
  • Classes with fewer students than in the fall or spring terms;
  • Increased absences because of vacations, changes in employment, etc.

While each of these factors might be viewed as a threat, it might be viewed instead as an opportunity. Let's address each one from that perspective.

Students new to the institution provide an additional resource to your classroom. If they normally attend another institution, encouraging their sharing of perspectives common there can foster a richer learning environment for all. Proactively recognize that such students might require additional support to prevent their feeling isolated from other students.

With fewer students in the class, it is logistically easier to get to know each one on a more personal level. Be sure to conduct a voluntary/mandatory office appointment with each - as encouraged by the late Leo Buscaglia, professor of love-focused courses at the University of Southern California, and renowned author. Connecting in this way fosters an understanding of students' individualized learning goals, assignments which fit better with those goals, and potentially more rewarding learning for all.

Why not use students' being out-of-town and missing classes as opportunity to add a journaling component to your course, to submit assignments via email, and to complete assignments that have more genuine, primary research potential than the typical library-researched paper?

Invest the time be creative and do different things during the summer than you would in the very busy fall terms. Hold class outside a time or two. Take a break together to get an ice cream cone. Dress comfortably. Have fun. Most students will respond very positively, and remember your summertime class as a truly special experience!

Shop on line at or Barnes & Noble to get your copy of Dr. Lyons' book, The Adjunct Professor's Guide to Success: Surviving and Thriving in the College Classroom.


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