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« Secret Lives of Search Committees - Part 6: career stage | Main | The Secret Lives of Search Committees - Part 7: AOS and project choices »

04/16/2018

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AnonGrad

I, for one, would be very interested to hear from your two friends here as guest-authors. Before then, I was simply wondering about a general point they both brought up (and perhaps others will have insightful things to say as well), namely that to be competitive for teaching jobs one needs to have a lot of teaching experience. That of course makes perfect sense, but I simply would want to have a better idea on what “a lot of teaching experience” means in practice. If teaching one or two courses is not enough, how many will be? Also, how do “teaching schools” look at summer/winter teaching and online teaching? Does TA experience have any weight at all? In other words, for example, would fantastic TA evals offset a rather low number of courses taught as main instructor?

Amanda

Interesting question. My guess is for teaching schools, TA experience doesn't mean a lot. I have found TAing is MUCH different from teaching your own classes. And it is much easier to be liked and receive high evaluations as a TA than an instructor. What might overcome this, is if you show in your materials that you are truly creative and innovative.

I have never served on a search committee, but if I was on a teaching school search committee it would be easy to hold lack of solo teaching experience against a candidate. It is easy to get adjunct jobs in the US, and if a grad student hadn't bothered to at least try teaching their own course, I would question their commitment to a teaching school. But that's just me.

Amanda

Oh, and I would add that if you have taught your own online classes that is a big plus.

Marcus Arvan

AnonGrad: from my own experience and talking with my two friends, my sense is that TA experience matters very little. We are hiring teachers, not TA's, and the fact is, as Amanda notes, that TA-ing and full-time teaching (especially at my university) are vastly different. This is a really important issue people need to understand. I'm going to write a new post in the series on it.

In any case, winter and summer solo-teaching are good. Online teaching is okay, but only if you have experience teaching solo in the classroom. In terms of how many solo-courses is good, the answer: the more the better. One or two solo-taught courses is really not enough. A lot of candidates for teaching jobs have experience teaching a fairly good variety of courses (e.g. 5-7+ different courses). This is what people who want jobs at teaching schools need to shoot for: MORE. Amanda is an excellent case-study. I'm sure she stood out in the pile of applications as (seriously!), like, one of the *only* people who went out of their way to get teaching experience in grad school. It matters.

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