Master and Instuctor

So here’s my status as an MA degree candidate. My Master’s Thesis proposal was approved last week. I have two quarters to write it, with three thesis hours per quarter devoted to research and writing. Those are two of the four courses I need to complete my course requirements.

I will also be teaching English 101 this quarter. I am terrified, but I suppose it’s like meeting a big dog: I will show no fear. My main issue is trying to break down into lessons something I have done almost unconsciously for the past 10 years, perhaps longer.  I can write a simple essay very easily, as long as I have a topic. (My problem has always been coming up with a topic and an argument I’m happy with.) Now I have to decide what exactly students need to learn in bits in order to successfully combine the knowledge and be capable of writing a Freshman level essay.

I’m probably doomed.

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4 comments to Master and Instuctor

  • Brien

    If you can get a Freshman English class to coherently express an idea, opinion or argument, then you will have more than achieved your goal. I’ve read stuff written by college graduates that make my hair (all three of them) stand on end. I feel your pain – when I was working on my Masters in History (never finished), we had to come up with a syllabus for all of European History in a year. Holy crapola, Batman! Mine basically pretended the Victorian age never happened. Yep, all the sudden we had these industrial machines around and no explanation – I blamed it on aliens. Fortunately, no Freshmen were harmed in the making of my syllabus.

  • NtK

    When I taught CS for liberal arts folks, I just told them that I had a liberal arts degree and they couldn’t convince me they couldn’t learn basic programming.

    Half the class walked out of the room and dropped.

    I could work with the folks who stayed.

    Demand (nicely) that they succeed. Folks will (mostly) (eventually) appreciate that implicit faith.

    And one more piece of advice from my prof emeritus father (40+ years teaching chemistry):

    “if my students learn anything from me, anything at all, I feel like I’ve succeeded.”

    The last is probably the philosphy he germinated in the late 60s (and that era’s concomitant problems :), but even so I find it useful when I teach now.


  • midnightferret (http://www NULL.midnightferret

    Nice to see you around, Newton.

    Good advice from both of you. I was a pretty good tutor. I will probably be a pretty good teacher.

    I suppose I was simply hoping that I would turn into someone who “has it all figured out” sort of magically when I became a teacher. I’m not really surprised that this is not the case.

  • NtK

    The problem is that you likely won’t get any training in actually teaching. I’ve heard repeatedly from teachers I admire that they often learn more (while teaching) than their students do.

    So, apply that and you’ll be waaay ahead of the curve in no time. :)


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