Most graduate students in the English Department will serve as a teaching assistant for part, or all, of their graduate careers. Teaching in the department provides a measure of colleagueship with other faculty and serves as crucial professional preparation for a career in the academy. The standard schedule for graduate students in the program is two courses per semester. Each semester, graduate students fill out a preference form to request to teach a variety of courses offered by the English Department. See below for the range of courses one might teach and how those teaching assignments are made.
English 1000: First year PhD students teach English 1000, and anyone who teaches two courses per semester should generally expect that at least one of these will be English 1000. In their first year, funded MA students receive teaching training through the Composition Program and through tutoring in the Writing Center during their first semester and teach one section of English 1000 in their second semester. In addition to the traditional sections of English 1000 (capped at 20 students), we offer a number of sections for international students (English 1000 IS, capped at 15) and for Honors students (English 1000H, capped at 20).
All students teaching or preparing to teach English 1000 for the first time receive extensive professional development support including participating in a week-long pre-semester orientation, taking ENG 8010 (Theory and Practice of Teaching Composition) in their first semester, participating in peer mentor groups in their second semester, and engaging in pedagogical workshops throughout the year. Additionally, MA students shadow an experienced instructor of English 1000 in their first semester.
English 2010 (Intermediate Composition): Usually 3-4 sections per semester, capped at 15. Students can request to teach English 2010 once they have successfully taught English 1000.
English 2030 (Professional Writing): Usually 3 sections per semester. Meets in a computer classroom, capped at 20 students. Students can request to teach English 2030 once they have successfully taught English 1000.
English 1160 (Themes in Literature), 1210 (Intro to British Literature), and 1310 (Intro to American Literature): These are the usual course assignments for teachers new to teaching literature. We typically offer between 8-10 sections of these courses per semester, with 30 students in each class. Students must take English 8020 (The Theory and Practice of Teaching in English) to be eligible to teach any of these courses. Preference will be given to 1210 applicants who have successfully completed an 8000-level seminar in British Literature and to 1310 applicants who have successfully completed an 8000-level seminar in American Literature. Assignments are made by the Director of Undergraduate Studies and Director of Graduate Studies. Priority is given to second-year PhD students and third-year students who have not previously taught one of these courses. Those teaching these courses for the first time will be asked to submit a syllabus for approval.
English 1100 (Reading Literature) is a large-lecture course that is pitched at freshman and sophomore non-majors. The course topic and readings are different depending on the faculty member in charge of it in a given year, but most often it presents contemporary literature as a way to get college students thinking about how and why they read literature. This course usually uses 2 graduate student TAs, who are asked to attend all lectures and read the assigned texts; facilitate a breakout session (of usually 30 students) one day a week; facilitate and monitor small group discussion during lectures; collaborate with the professor on creating course assessments (tests, exams, group work etc.); and grade the assessments for their respective breakout groups. Experience teaching a literature course is not required, but is preferred.
Teaching Assistants in Large Enrollment Classes: These are arranged by and with individual faculty members who are teaching larger courses at the 3000 and 4000 levels. Such assignments are contingent upon the class enrolling enough students to support a TA position, and are usually given to advanced graduate students in their particular field of study.
Creative Writing Workshops: Usually after one semester or more of teaching in the composition program, Creative Writing graduate students can teach introductory-level workshops (1510- Intro to Fiction, 1520- Intro to Nonfiction Prose, 1530-Intro to Poetry) and, at times, Intermediate workshops (2510, 2520, and 2530). These classes are capped at 15 and are assigned by the Director of Creative Writing.
On occasion there are sections of the Advanced workshops that are available to graduate students.
Film/English 1800 (Intro to Film Studies): Each semester the department offers 3-5 sections of Film/English 1800, some taught by English graduate students. The course focuses on introduction to terms and concepts for film analysis, including mise-en-scene, cinematography, editing, sound, narrative, genre, and other elements. Instructors organize a common screening on Monday evenings together with a course coordinator and teach independent sections of 30 students, using film clips and a film textbook. The primary criteria for selection are 1) graduate coursework in film and 2) teaching experience (especially experience teaching film).
Folklore/English 1700 (Intro to Folklore Genres): This class is capped at 30. Priority is given to graduate students studying folklore. Selection of instructor is made by faculty in Folklore.
On occasion there are upper-level folklore courses that are available to graduate students.