I had lunch today with one a former student of mine named Andrew. He'll be starting the philosophy Ph.D program in the fall at the University of Kansas, and is pretty excited about getting started both as a student and as an instructor. He asked me for a couple of pointers about teaching for the first time (he will be heading up some discussion sections of Introduction to Philosophy), so I gave him what I thought would be some useful advice about what seems to work in the classroom, and also about certain bad things and practices I've learned to avoid. Afterward, I thought it might be a good idea to ask the general audience here for advice for starting instructors like Andrew.
What advice would you give a first-time graduate student instructor? What should one try to do? What should one try to avoid? The subject is pretty open. What's the best way to cultivate a good relationship with the class? Should you lecture more? How do you deal with problem students? Should you be more authoritarian, or more "buddy-buddy"? There's a lot of ground here that can be covered obviously.
I've already emailed Andrew and told him I would post this question here, so he'll surely be checking in to see what advice people have to give him. If we have any other grad student readers, perhaps our collective suggestions can be useful for them as well (as well as for us!).