Transitions, or the Anticipation of a Future Post about Teaching

I’ve spent a significant chunk of the evening thinking about how I could contribute to G Zombie’s Teaching Carnival, but because it’s the first week of class and because I’m learning the ropes at a new university, I’m pretty exhausted, but that’s pretty typical for me during the first week of class, especially in the fall. For this reason, my contribution to the Carnival might end up being a little disjointed. That being said, G Zombie’s suggestion has inspired me to dig around in the “teaching” catgeory of my archives to see precisely what I talk about when I think I’m talking about teaching. It’s probbaly not surprising that when I think I’m talking about teaching, I’m less focused on the process of teaching, of the specific narrative of a course, and often more interested in the “content” of the class (as my film class brainstorming posts illustrate).

So, perhaps this post will allow me some room to think about how at least one of my classes will provide an opportunity for me to reflect on my pedagogy in a more self-conscious way. In some sense, this process of reflection is determined by the shift in disciplines, in that I’m moving from teaching freshman composition almost exclusively for three years to teaching media studies courses. I’m also able to take advantage of a much different academic/research community. I think that regular readers of my blog can probably guess that I’m very excited about the courses that I’ll be teaching this year and the opportunity to learn alongside my students about DC’s fantastic media archives.

But one of the most interesting changes in my teaching practice will be the fact that I’ll have a teaching assistant working with me in the junior seminar, which is completely new to me. In fact, I’ve never served as a teaching assistant, which means that I’m still learning the basics, especially when it comes to asking someone to do a lot of the busywork (copying, making PDFs, etc) that I would normally do. Because I know it’s tedious work, I feel mildly guilty about asking others to do it. At the same time, I’m quickly learning that my TA can also teach me a lot about my classroom practice, in part by observing the dynamic in the class from a position slightly closer to the students’ POV. So, perhaps this post is actually a moment of anticipation, preparation for a future post or two (which is okay because there will be other Teaching Carnivals), as I learn to navigate this new pedagogical community.


  1. academic coach Said,

    December 1, 2005 @ 4:33 pm

    So how has it gone with the TA?
    I haven’t seen much about the use of grad assisstants by new profs. Would be a really useful teaching carnival discussion, I think, because many junior profs I’ve worked with have struggled with the relationships at first.

  2. Chuck Said,

    December 1, 2005 @ 4:51 pm

    The TA ended up having a family emergency and was unable to finish the semester. It was going well, in general, in part because I had some good advice from colleagues who had worked with TAs in the past (or who had been TAs themselves), plus the TA was quite helpful. I think you’re right about a future teaching carnvial post, but it’s probably too early for me to come to any conclusions.

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