I realize I’ve mentioned the fact that I’m teaching a class called ENG 100 this semester, but I’ve never taken the time to explain what it is. So here’s a short little explanation (and a tick towards the “write at least 4 blog posts a week” goal that I’ve set for myself) so you can understand what I’m really doing three mornings a week.
Technically, ENG 100 is listed as a Graduate Teaching Fellowship. That means I get paid $1,500 a semester to deal with freshmen. (Trust me, I earn every penny of that money.)
ENG 100 is not a remedial English class; it’s a supplementary English class, meant for people who struggle with writing. There are no grades, no exams, and no textbooks, either: the only coursework we have is what the student brings in to me. For example, if they’re working on an argumentative essay, they bring in the rubric, we go over the drafting process, and I see them once a week until the essay is due, and we celebrate them turning it in together. Once they get the essay back, we go over it together and make sure they understand all of the teachers’ comments.
This is my second year teaching ENG 100. I thoroughly enjoyed it last year, but I feel like this year is going to be a bit more of a challenge. We have several more foreign athletes this semester, and several of them are only at a very basic level of English proficiency. I’m basically going to be teaching about five kids how to speak English, and then how to write it (with all of its complicated grammatical rules and whatnot). It’s going to be difficult. I’m not an ESL teacher! I’m hired to help them improve their writing! If they can’t understand my instructions…
But I shouldn’t vent about that. It’s not their fault. The athletic department has really come down hard on their foreign exchange students this semester. We’ve never had so many before.
Anyway, I’m tutoring eleven different freshmen this semester, in 45-minute sessions once a week. I’m pretty much booked from 9 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays. (I work at CFA on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.) I’ve got a fancy file-folder that I use to keep track of all their papers, and I’ve got reporting sheets.
This year, we’re even implementing an online program called Hawkes Learning. It’s basically an online interactive textbook, which is super neat. I feel like it’s really going to be helpful with the foreign exchange students. Best of all, once they’ve bought access to it, they can use it for the rest of their lives! (Or until Hawkes shuts down. Which will probably happen first.)
I thoroughly enjoy working with my students through each part of the writing process. I love it when things finally click for them, and they’re just like, “OH! I GET IT NOW!” and then they never make that mistake in their paper again. It’s so much fun.
It’s frustrating at some points, but it’s really rewarding. I’ve had several students from last year pass me by on campus (or show up at my job!) and tell me they really benefited from my help. It’s the little things like that that get me out of bed in the morning. (Because you all know, it’s very hard for me to do that.)
I hope this explained a little more about what I do every day 🙂 Welcome to a Day in the Life of an English Grad Student!
And as always, keep reading.