Blog 2.0: “College Life: Instructor Edition”
Are you one of the people described below?
You’re a grad student who (a) just received a teaching assistantship (a.k.a. GTA) but don’t have a lot of experience designing/teaching courses or (b) is swamped with course work and other student responsibilities and can’t find tons of time to work on course design and resource research.
You’re an adjunct who is (a) new to teaching or (b) bogged down with too many responsibilities that keep you from taking the time to work on course design and resource research.
You’re a college professor who is (a) looking for new teaching ideas, tools, and/or resources or (b) interested in learning more about what other instructors are doing in their classrooms.
If you fall into one or more of the categories above, the recent and future content of my blog is for you!
I invite you to read below about the journey I’ve taken with my blog so far and find out more about where it’s going next. [Below, I’ve bolded the information on what you’ll see on my blog going forward, in case you’re not interested in reading about the journey to get there.] While I teach English Studies courses (freshman composition, children’s and young adult literary adaptations, ya literature, children’s literature), most of my future course design posts won’t focus solely on English college courses, but designing college courses in general. So, though English department GTAs, adjuncts, and professors will find my blog posts as a whole most directly relevant in content to their experiences and desires/needs, other college instructors outside this department can benefit from my content that’s not specific to this academic area (here are a couple examples already on my blog: link and link).
If you’re interested in my blog’s niche, I suggest subscribing to my blog in some form, so that you don’t miss out on any new content. My recommendation is to subscribe to receive email notifications each time a new post goes up (see sidebar or footer), but if you have a WordPress account, you can also choose to just click the follow button at the top of my sidebar/footer. Or, if you use Bloglovin’, you can follow my blog through the link in my sidebar/footer.
Where I Started and Where I’m Going
I created my website last summer because I wanted to make sure that I had a strong, professional digital presence before I entered the academic job market. I wasn’t going to enter the market immediately after setting it up. Rather, I created it once I neared the end of my PhD comprehensive exams, so that I would have ample time to work out any issues with my website before entering the market.
I also started a blog when I created my website, because I wanted to make sure I had a more personal element to my site. Rather than just a place to list my various academic experiences and accomplishments, I wanted my site to include a section where I could make my voice heard and share what I was interested in as a student, teacher, and overall individual. I’ve learned a lot about maintaining a website and blog this past year, and now that I have more experience and am almost ready to go on the market, I’ve realized what I want for my blog and for my blog readers going forward.
In the past year, I’ve finished my exams, defended my dissertation proposal, and started writing my dissertation chapters. If I had to state my dissertation argument in one sentence, it’d be as follows: “Children’s and young adult literary texts are particularly pedagogically valuable when teaching concepts across various English Studies fields and therefore should be included in English college courses outside those that specifically focus on these two literary categories.” My area of specialization is children’s and young adult literature, and I love the courses I’ve taken on this subject as an undergrad and graduate student. The lack of these texts in courses outside the specialization (courses like rhetoric, composition, linguistics, TESOL, creative writing, etc.) is a big issue for me, as I can see how much my undergraduate students gain from reading, analyzing, and sometimes even writing, children’s and young adult texts.
My academic passion definitely stems from teaching rather than research, so it’s hardly surprising that my research argument is pedagogical in nature. But, while I’ll have plenty of pages to fill when writing my dissertation, I also want a less academic outlet for writing about and discussing pedagogical practices, resources, experiences, etc. Here, then, I’ve finally found what I want for my blog’s niche. Rather than simply posting about random topics connected to my experiences as a reader, writer, teacher, student, fan, I am going to narrow down my focus to posts about course and class activity designs (example), experiences with assigning specific activities (example), texts that I feel would fit well in the classroom (example), tools and resources that work well for teaching/assessing/organizing (example and example), etc. . As more types of related content are suggested/requested via any post discussions, these ideas will also be incorporated in future posts. My posting schedule will continue its pace of every-other Friday.
Note: Next week’s blog post is a follow-up to the back-to-school series I wrote last August. While those posts were written largely with college students in mind, there’s still plenty of tips relevant to college instructors in those posts and my follow-up. My second back-to-school post this year will be targeted to college instructors, though, and it will mark the official beginning of my blog 2.0 (though my posts this summer and some in the past are already in keeping with this focus, as is evident from all the links above).
I’m excited by this next stage in my blogging journey and I’m hoping that a College Life: Instructor Edition community will form here via the comment sections below each post. I hope you’ll join me on this new journey if you are a current or future college instructor (or if you’re just interested in the content). If you want to make sure you don’t miss any future posts, remember to subscribe to receive email notifications (see sidebar or footer). I look forward to sharing my teaching insights with you and learning from you in return. [I’m in my early years of teaching, so I still have plenty to learn from other instructors!]
What content are you most interested in seeing on my blog: course design guidelines, assignment ideas/experiences, teaching tools and resources, or book reviews?