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One of the unique strengths that each of our graduate students enjoys on the job market is the depth and diversity of their teaching portfolios. Rather than serving as a grader or an assistant to a professor's class, the courses that our graduate students teach are emphatically their own: they design the syllabi, choose the reading lists, set the calendar, create the assignments, and do the grading.
We also guarantee each graduate student the opportunity to teach at least one literature class related to the student's area of specialization.
The English Department has a professional development and teacher training program for all graduate Teaching Assistants (TAs). The goal of this scaffolded program is to provide graduate students with the knowledge, skills, experience, and supportive mentoring environment to best prepare them to become teachers of writing and literature at the post-secondary level.
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First-Year Teacher Preparation
Fall: Prior to Fall of the first-year, students participate in orientations with the Writing Center and the Center for Teaching and Assessment of Learning to prepare for the upcoming year. Writing Center training prepares students to tutor one-on-one with graduate and undergraduate writers. Students tutor in the Writing Center throughout the first-year and are provided on-going professional development opportunities such as leading writing workshops. During the Fall semester, new students serve as apprentices to an experienced professor in the teaching of ENGL110: Seminar in Composition. Apprentices work closely with their faculty mentor and cohort to observe, teach, co-teach, lead groups, assess student writing, develop lesson plans, and more.
Spring: In Spring semester of the first-year, students continue to tutor in the Writing Center. Students are also placed as apprentices for a literature or other advanced undergraduate English course with an experienced professor. Throughout their apprenticeship, students help develop syllabi, lecture, lead class discussions, assess student work, and more. Apprentices learn strategies for teaching in their research fields and are supported through regular mentorship by the instructor-of-record. Students are also enrolled in ENGL688: Composition Theory and the Teaching of Writing. This course provides formal training in pedagogy and practical experience in developing teaching materials. In ENGL688, students develop their syllabus, assignments, and teaching philosophies in preparation for teaching their own courses in the following year.
Second-Year and Beyond
Your teaching load will be described in your admissions offer letter. Please also see the Graduate Student Handbook for a semester-by-semester guide of teaching schedules. Graduate students teach ENGL110: Seminar in Composition and are guaranteed at least one opportunity to teach a course in their field while in the program. This course is typically ENGL280: Approaches to Literature for Non-Majors. The course allows students to develop a custom syllabus on a topic of their choosing. Students may also teach special topics-based Honors sections of ENGL110 and have taught advanced writing courses such as ENGL301, ENGL302, and ENGL312 in the past. Opportunities to teach various English courses (for additional compensation) during Winter and Summer terms are also available.
Graduate students also have ample opportunity to expand their teaching qualifications through formal training programs in online-teaching and teaching multilingual learners. Students who complete these training programs are eligible to teach sections specifically for multilingual students, as well as online sections.
ENGL280 Approaches to Literature for Non-Majors, "Science and Literature" (Spring 2020) - Megan O'Donnell
ENGL280 Approaches to Literature for Non-Majors, "Monsters on the Loose: Recycling Monsters Across Genres" (Spring 2020) - Seda Oz
ENGL280 Approaches to Literature for Non-Majors, "Making and Breaking" (Fall 2020) - Michael Doss
ENGL280 Approaches to Literature for Non-Majors, " Tracing the Life of Objects in American Literature" (Spring 2021) - Helena Kim
ENGL280 Approaches to Literature for Non-Majors, "The Great American Author, Wanted Dead or Alive" (Fall 2020) - Joe Nash
ENGL280 Approaches to Literature for Non-Majors, "Relationships in Young Adult Literature" (Fall 2020) - Rebekah Phillips
ENGL280 Approaches to Literature for Non-Majors, "Whiteness and American Literature" (Spring 2021) - Jack Truschel
ENGL280 Approaches to Literature for Non-Majors, "Contructing Black Identity in American Literature" (Fall 2020) - Brett Seekford
Each year, the English Department awards one graduate student the Outstanding Teacher Award in recognition of exceptional and innovative teaching. Award applications are reviewed by a faculty committee. The award offers a $500 prize.