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This post concludes my series on what’s coming in the third edition of Emerging. In my next series of posts I’ll focus once again on using the text to teach current events. I also hope to write a bit about textbook affordability, given that I will be serving on a university committee about the issue.
I’m really quite proud of the text we’ve put together. It’s been a strenuously long process, starting with the decision to move into a third edition and then reviewing what worked and didn’t work in the second edition, to thinking big thoughts about the kind of issues we felt demanded a place in the text and finding readings to help students think through those issues, to figuring out the details of the apparatus—revising the introduction, writing the headnotes, working out the assignments. There’s quite a bit of work involved in assembling a text and it is, without a doubt, a whole team effort.
One of the things that helped me get it done was working with graduate students in my program who teach using the text. I saw it as a chance to provide them with opportunities to work on a project like this, build on their CVs, and earn some much-needed cash in the process. That has me thinking about avenues for professionalization and mentorship in our graduate programs. And so I would like to wrap up by considering that issue.
In our program, graduate students with teaching assistantships are mentored in the classroom through a required seminar on pedagogy, a colloquium on teaching, and yearly orientations to discuss what’s going on in the writing program. But I think what’s more important is the mentoring that happens outside the classroom. When I was directing our writing program I would often get overwhelmed with email and would step away from my office. I always headed down to the large common office shared by our GTAs. It was a chance to decompress but I also thought of it as a chance to spend some time “in the trenches,” talking with students about what was going on in their classrooms and in their lives. It was always rewarding. There were times when I could help solve problems both pedagogical and personal and there were times when I could commiserate with the challenges of teaching FYC. I like to think that those moments functioned as an informal mentorship process as well.
What sort of mentorship processes does your program have? Are they formal or informal? How do you connect with graduate students to prepare them for the profession and/or for life?
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