Expanding your toolbox of instructional techniques will be beneficial regardless of the career you choose to pursue after graduate school. For those interested in teaching-related careers, developing teaching skills has obvious value, but for those planning to pursue jobs outside of academia, the skills you learn as a teacher are transferable to a variety of fields. Instructional techniques can broadly help cultivate important skills such as oral communication, active listening, managing teams, and problem solving.

Steps You Can Take

Take Workshops on Teaching

Each semester the GSI Teaching & Resource Center conducts a variety of workshops to help you develop your teaching skills and knowledge of pedagogy. If you are interested in careers outside of academia, you may be particularly interested in attending the workshop on The Transferable Skills of Teaching, which will help you to identify skills developed in teaching that are essential in a wide variety of careers. Selected handouts from this workshop are also available in the Workshop Handouts and Videos section of the GSI Online Library.

Read the Online Teaching Guide and Other Web-Based Resources

The GSI Teaching & Resource Center’s Online Teaching Guide and GSI Online Library offer graduate students a wide variety of general and discipline-specific teaching techniques that can help you develop skills for teaching in the classroom, as well as skills that are transferable to other career choices.

Teach Discussion and/or Lab Sections

Serving as a GSI or AI-GS will help you to apply your knowledge of teaching techniques to a real-life environment and to hone your teaching skills in the classroom. Consider speaking to the Graduate Student Affairs Officer (GSAO) in your department to learn about openings for teaching opportunities in your field. You can learn more about GSI positions in the GSI, GSR, Reader and Tutor Guide.

Use Online Media, such as Moderated Chats or Blogs, in Teaching

Using online media and technology in your teaching can diversify your teaching strategies, make you an attractive candidate for jobs that value innovative teaching experience, and help you become proficient in technologies that may be useful in careers outside of academia. For ideas about how to integrate the use of technology in your teaching, see the Teaching with Technology section of the GSI Teaching & Resource Center’s Online Teaching Guide for GSIs.

Deliver a Lecture or Research Paper in a Formal Setting

Delivering a lecture or research paper in a formal setting will help you to develop your oral communication and public speaking abilities—skills that are valuable in a variety of careers. Consider presenting a paper at a national or regional conference in your discipline, or see if there may be an opportunity to deliver a guest lecture in a course taught within your field. To prepare for and improve your public speaking, consider attending a Toast of Berkeley meeting. Toast of Berkeley is part of Toastmasters International, and meets weekly to help students, educators, and professionals develop confident and effective public speaking techniques.

Develop Skills in Guiding the Work of Teams

The ability to guide the work of a team and to foster productive collaboration among team members working toward a common goal is a skill that is important in a number of careers. Teaching at Berkeley will provide you with the opportunity to hone this skill by guiding students through group activities and team-based projects. Additionally, you might consider seeking out other opportunities where you can gain skills in guiding teams. For example, you may look into opportunities for mentoring teams of undergraduates working in a lab or another research environment, or you might look into leadership opportunities in your department that involve working with other graduate students on projects such as organizing an academic conference or establishing working groups on particular topics.

Complete Teaching Preparation Requirements

When you are a Graduate Student Instructor for the first time on the Berkeley campus, you will fulfill a set of requirements—the Teaching Conference, the Online Ethics Course, and the 300-level pedagogy course in your discipline—that will not only support you in your teaching but also help form the foundation of your teaching and leadership skills in future careers in or outside of the academy.