Friday, October 04, 2013

Confessions of a (soon to be) Teacher

While I understand that this concern may only apply to five people in the course, I cannot help but say this is the thing foremost on my mind. When I first researched the TA position I now hold, I didn’t understand why they would require a semester in the Writing Center. Being that I’m in the middle of that position, I now completely understand why. I was ignorant to exactly what being a WC tutor was and how it would train me to become a composition teacher. I cannot begin to imagine how woefully unprepared I would have been had I not spent a semester in the WC.

I’ve known for several years that university teaching is where I wanted to end up. I knew that I loved English study and research; I also knew that university teaching is likely the path I would set upon. Now that I’m coming face-to-face with my potential future career, I can’t help but be concerned. Am I going to be a good teacher? Will students respond to my teaching techniques? Am I even qualified to command a classroom? These are all things that have been squatting in the back of my mind demanding my attention and consideration.

I must say that I am quite impressed by Weber State’s commitment to training their Teaching Assistants. I have had more than one professor tell me that, when they started TAing, they were tossed into a classroom on their first day and expected to perform as a seasoned professional. I appreciate that WSU recognizes that teaching is something that itself needs to be taught. Without the Tutoring Writers course – in tandem with the WC tutor position – I am unsure what kind of teacher I would make. Could I perform at the level needed to produce strong university level writers? Doubtful.

However, my biggest fear is that I may hate teaching. This is what I have been preparing for my entire college career. I decided in high school that I wanted to teach. I later decided that I loved the university atmosphere so much that I wanted to remain there for the rest of my professional life. I suppose I fear that it turns out like Math. Despite the common Humanities myth, I’m quite good at math. I’m a logical enough thinker that the mathematical system of equations and formulas makes perfect sense to me. However, I cannot stand math. The classes are boring and I find them lacking in passion and transcendental meaning. This is why I love English. It nourishes my mind and soul in a way that math never could. So, I suppose the tail end of this brain-dump expresses a fear that teaching may not fulfill me in the way I imagined. That being said, I hold out immense hope that it is everything I wanted it to be. That I can stand in front of the classroom and engage students into appreciating, nay enjoying, the writing and composition process.

So, that’s that. Also, as a California native, the snow is beautiful. I know that, come February, I’ll likely hate everything and spend my free time wishing I could be in the 75 degree weather of SoCal. But, for now, the snow is beautiful and the cold tolerable. 


Blogger A.K. Packer said...

Hi, Ashley!

Before Weber was a state university, it was a teaching college. I graduated from the U.of Utah, and there are considerable differences between the two institutions, not the least of which is dedication to teaching. The English Department wants to make certain we, as TAs, are prepared so we can create a positive learning environment for Weber students. The goal is to have excellent instructors at Weber who can prepare students for university success.

The very fact that you are concerned and thinking about your upcoming class load shows that you are on your way to becoming an effective teacher.

8:41 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home