Instructors: As you start the new academic year—hopefully refreshed after a summer of recharging—think about sending your new students an e-mail detailing what you will do to help them learn, and what they can do to help themselves. Below we share a template that you can adjust for style or content, or simply use as is.
Welcome to my class! As we kick off this new academic year, I’m writing to tell you how much I’m looking forward to getting to know you all and to teaching you about business communication. I think you’ll find that the skills you take away from this course will make you not only more confident as you go into the workplace but also a more marketable employee.
However, I need your help to make this the best possible learning experience. Below are some strategies you can use to get the most out of our class.
Be present. Of course, I mean this literally—attend class regularly—but I also mean to tune in when you’re there. Listen, take notes, ask questions, and show you are thinking and understanding by nodding your head occasionally. I need to see more than a sea of blank faces to know whether I’m reaching you. When you’re checking your social media feeds instead of focusing on what I’m teaching, I become discouraged. I am here because I wholeheartedly believe that what I teach is relevant to your life. Help me by being engaged.
Join in. I know you don’t want to hear me drone on throughout every class session, so chime in! Raise your hand and participate when you have something to say—and be sure you have something to say by coming to class prepared. Do your reading and any homework I assign. I promise you it’s designed to help reinforce core concepts I cover in class. Also understand that when you speak up, you energize me. I’m only human, and when I think no one is tuned in, it’s harder for me to be enthusiastic.
Attend office hours. I want to get to know you! Much of what I enjoy about teaching is learning about my students, but I cannot do that in the classroom. You’ll find I’m quite approachable and helpful outside of class—and I keep a basket of chocolate on my desk for anyone who comes to visit me! In the privacy of my office where I can ask you more personal questions about your major and goals, we can work together to make the most of the course and your education.
Help me learn your name. As hard as I try, it’s difficult remembering all my students’ names, so please help me. When you speak, remind me of your name. If I call on you and do not use your name, tell me then and there: “I’m Janelle, Professor.”
We’re in this together, students. Let’s make the most of it!