Political Science Education and the Profession

Preparing for the First Solo Teaching Experience: An Alternative to Learning as You Go



First-time instructors often lack necessary resources when preparing and teaching their first course, resulting in suboptimal outcomes for instructors and students. While pedagogical induction programs can assist first-time instructors, access to these opportunities are unequal (McCormack, Gore, and Thomas, 2007). Additionally, demographic and situational factors can hinder first-time instructors in the course of preparing their first class. Consequently, graduate students and junior scholars are more likely to learn as they go during their first teaching experience, making them more susceptible to negative experiences while balancing research and service responsibilities (Assuncao Flores, 2006; Gavish and Friedman, 2010; Meanwell and Kleiner, 2014). We present various considerations that first-time instructors can ponder before, during, and after course instruction that may greatly improve the experience. This manuscript is part of Strategies for Navigating Graduate School and Beyond, a forthcoming volume for those interested in pursuing graduate education in political science (Fall 2022 publication).


Thumbnail image of 29 Boyes et al. First Teaching Experience.pdf


Log in or register with APSA to comment
Comments are not moderated before they are posted, but they can be removed by the site moderators if they are found to be in contravention of our Commenting and Discussion Policy [opens in a new tab] – please read this policy before you post. Comments should be used for scholarly discussion of the content in question. You can find more information about how to use the commenting feature here [opens in a new tab] .