PhD English 903.01/903.02: Teaching Practicum

English 903.01

English 903.01 is a teaching internship with a faculty member, which students must complete before they can be assigned to teach any of the 200-level literature, language, or folklore courses. English 881.02, 881.03, and 881.04 may be substituted for 903.01 by students whose teaching interests include basic writing, ESL, and/or business and professional writing. However, 903.01 will be a prerequisite for teaching the relevant 200-level courses (just as the 881 series is now a prerequisite for teaching the specialized writing courses). English 903.02 is taken during the quarter that the students teach their first 200-level course.

English 903.01 carries 3 credit hours and English 903.02 carries 2 credit hours, which count as part ofPh.D. coursework. The course may be repeated, but only five hours may be applied to the degree. In order to coordinate their teaching interests with scheduled courses, students planning 903.01 should also consult the undergraduate course offerings and faculty teaching them, available from on the English department website: _________________________.

English 903.01 and 903.02 provide an apprentice experience for Ph.D. students. For 903.01, each student will work closely with a faculty member on the design and execution of a particular course. (Faculty members in their first year will be exempt from taking on apprentices.) For 903.02, students will be mentored by the faculty member while teaching their own course.

English 903.02

Faculty and students will have considerable flexibility in constructing the day-to-day details of the apprenticeship, but a typical pattern would look something like this:

  1. Student and professor agree to do 903.01 in an upcoming quarter (usually two quarters in advance).
  2. Before the book order for the course is due to the bookstore, the professor and student meet to discuss which books they will use and why.
  3. At some point before the course starts, the professor and student meet to discuss the course syllabus. They consider such matters as the objectives of the course and how best to design the schedule of readings, the students' writing assignments, and the classroom atmosphere so that those objectives can be met.
  4. Before each class, the professor and student meet to talk about the session's goals and the pedagogical means they will use to meet them. In addition, they consider how the goals of the upcoming session fit in with the overall goals of the course. (For all class sessions but the first, this meeting might occur an hour or so before walking into the session.)
  5. Before each writing assignment (including exams), professor and student discuss what they want to achieve and how they might design the assignment to reach those goals.
  6. The professor must take responsibility for all grades assigned in the course, but the student may assist in grading by reading, commenting, and assigning possible grades to a subset of the papers or exams. Since the student is an apprentice and not a TA, however, the point of this work is not to lighten the faculty member's load but rather to provide the occasion for discussion of criteria for different grades, how to address students in commentary, and so on. In all cases, the professor must read the papers marked by the apprentice and assign the final grades.
  7. The student takes primary responsibility for some teaching, in the range of two to four hours of instruction over the course of the quarter.
  8. After the course is over, the professor and student read the student evaluations and discuss them as well as their own assessments of what worked and what didn't.
  9. The course is graded S/U, and the faculty member writes a graduate report. (The faculty member should also be prepared to write a letter of recommendation for the student's dossier.) The student writes a report on the apprentice experience, reflecting on how her or his thinking about pedagogy has been influenced by 903.01.

In general, the idea of the internship is to give the student the opportunity to work closely with a faculty member on everything from the design of a course to its day-to-day operations, from its goals and purposes to its grading and evaluation.

Students may work with a professor in any undergraduate course. No more than two students may sign up for 903.01 with the same professor and the same course in any one quarter. Students must take 903.01 before they are assigned their own sections of 200-level courses, but they need to take 903.01 only once as a general preparation for that teaching. In other words, students do not have to take a new 903.01 for every new 200-level course they teach.

English 903.02

When students are assigned their own 200-level class, they will enroll for two hours of 903.02 and consult with a faculty mentor (ideally the person whose class they observed, but possibly the course director or their adviser) on the preparation of the syllabus and other issues relating to the class. The faculty mentor will observe the class at least once and write a report for the Course Director.