MFA Update: TA-ing

I love being a teaching assistant.

Since my last update, I’ve started my work as a teaching assistant. I’m really enjoying it so far! I’ve observed class for two weeks now (though I am only there one day a week and the class meets two days each week), I’ve tutored two students, and I am really enjoying my TA colloquium class.

Having taken a seminar in teaching writing for my MA, I feel as though I have the foundation and vocabulary for diving in and assessing different pedagogical strategies with my fellow TA and the coordinator of the department who is running the course.

In class, I’m enjoying listening to the students discuss readings as a class and in small groups. I can tell from their responses that they work hard to develop a clear understanding of the texts they’re reading. Right now, they’re working on memoir essays. Today they have a workshop that I wish I could attend, because I like memoir essays. They’re fascinating and employ a number of creative elements that are also required by fiction.

I had the opportunity to talk to one of the students during my tutoring hour, and was more than impressed with the work already put into this assignment.

I ended up changing my tutoring hour; originally it was in the middle of the day, but I was one of five tutors in that time slot for writing, which I thought was overkill. Now I’m tutoring in the late afternoon, and I’m the only writing tutor at that time so there’s a stronger chance I’ll get to meet with students.

That is, after all, why I’m there.

There are other tutors in that time slot, but all for math. Listening to them work with their students, I can say with certainty that I would have made a poor math teacher. Writing is a great fit, as I knew it would be. I’m passionate about teaching and want every student I work with to leave having learned something new.

I’m looking forward to teaching a class, but I know that won’t be for a little while. I don’t mind that, especially as I still haven’t moved closer to school.

I was planning to stay overnight at a hotel, and thought I found a good deal…but I stayed there one night and the place left me feeling like I needed seven showers. So now, I’m back to driving up and back in one day. I know there are friends I can stay with if I get too tired or need to do something on campus the next day, and that’s a good option.

But I’m going to move up there. True, I only have to be on campus one or two days a week throughout my TA program, but if I live closer, I can observe more classes. The more teaching styles I can expose myself to, the better.

For the next couple of months, I will be working like a dog to bank some extra cash for the move.