Things I learned about teaching while I haven’t been teaching

Thursday, April 26th, 2012 by Rachel

Until this January, I taught every semester for the past four and a half years. That’s nine semesters in a row. Nine semesters when I was responsible for one to three classes, constructing syllabi, planning lessons, checking homework, taking attendance, holding office hours, holding student conferences, grading four to eight papers, helping students channel their inner creative writers, orchestrating mini-workshops, etc.


This semester (yes, I still think of my time in terms of semesters), I have been focused on perfecting my performance as a Real Housewife of Hendersonville. The house is clean. My flower pots are thriving. Our pantry is stocked. I make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich every day when I pack my husband’s lunch. Dinner is almost always on the table when I hear my husband click his garage door opener. I have hosted one party and several overnight guests. I go to bed early, and I’m up early. It’s a good life.


There are constant reminders everywhere that I am not teaching. The 90% of my friends who are still teaching. The TV. The Little Red Riding Hood centerpiece on my desk (a student gift). The books downstairs I’m not teaching out of anymore. I think about it a lot.


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There are too many numbers here.


Or, GCSU vs. NAU orientation/teaching

Friday, August 14th, 2009 by Rachel

GCSU’s teaching orientation was much different than NAUs. For one thing, when I arrived at NAU, there were 40 Eng. 105 instructors. Here—13. Just the size of the programs alone leads to different handling of a lot of the administrative kind of stuff. I don’t even have a copy limit (not that I ever ran out of copies anyway), and I was simply asked to use copies in moderation.


Some of you remember the crazy two weeks of NAU orientation. Here, orientation was squeezed into three days, two of which were half days.


I’m glad that I already have two years of teaching under my belt. Eng. 105 was a four hour course with a ridiculous workload for students (and me to grade!), but I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to teach such a variety of essays during my time at NAU, as the requirements here at GCSU are much less strict and I have a LOT of freedom. I’ve basically developed my syllabus on my own, minus a skeleton/recommended readings/etc. We aren’t even all using the same textbook. After the first year, teaching fellows can choose whatever they want! Super weird.


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