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« How can we help you? (March 2023) | Main | Problematic job-market practices? »

03/03/2023

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Tim O'Keefe

What can also help is having teaching experience at a variety of types of institutions. So if your school allows you a little solo teaching, but your school is a top-flight R1 that is highly selective, has mostly high SES undergrads, and is largely white, you might want to seek out some teaching gigs at a nearby school that has a lot of first-generation college students and is more racially diverse, or a local community college. That way, when you're applying out, you can make a credible case that you have experience teaching the sorts of students that are at their school.

RH

Tim's advice is solid. I also think that this is where good VAP gigs can really help — they can operate sort of as teaching-oriented postdocs.

Bill Vanderburgh

In our recent searches (we are a teaching-focused institution, though a research-interested department) here are some things that have stood out in competitive files. (Don't do all of these, they are just meant to be examples! These are in the order in which they occurred to me. Hopefully the relative weights are obvious.)

Taking part in a teaching and learning institute or other teacher-preparation program. Many grad schools offer these kinds of programs. Ditto "inclusive teaching" programs.

Teaching in prisons, high schools, or other non-traditional venues that show your willingness to engage in pedagogical activities when they aren't available in your home department, especially with/for students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Being a tutor in a formal tutoring program, either at your own institution or in local middle/high schools.

Being part of a student-oriented club that involves some mentoring or teaching. MAP, WIP, even a book club might do.

Helping with recruitment activities. This can be as part of your grad program or with Admissions more generally. Could be working at Orientation, doing high school outreach, etc.

Progressively responsible TA experience: grader to recitation leader to head TA for a megacourse, or something like that.

Teaching your own course, from syllabus design to content delivery to grading. (Teaching from a standard syllabus is less meaningful.)

Teaching more than one solo course, preferably across widely different subject areas. (Show diversity and agility; though going to far with this can make you look scattered.) Do your best to get teaching in your AOS, too. Teaching at both the intro and higher levels is ideal, if you can swing it.

Make it explicit and clear in your cover letter, teaching materials, diversity statement, etc., that you are interested in a teaching-focused career.

Marcus and Tim mentioned this, and it rings true from our searches: Students whose home departments offered them no solo teaching sometimes found it at nearby colleges or online institutions. Beware that reputation matters somewhat here--diploma mills, unaccredited institutions, or suspect religious institution, might not count in your favor.

Carissa Phillips-Garrett

I want to emphasize the importance of getting varied teaching opportunities, both in classes and in types of students. Many places will want to know that you can hit the ground running from the beginning, and having experience teaching a diversity of types of students and types of classes is an important way to give them evidence that you can do that.

I would also encourage you to get involved with the American Association for Philosophy Teachers. I wish I had done that earlier, because it is a real community of other people interested in teaching. They run Talking/Teaching sessions on Mondays over Zoom, the Teaching Hub at APAs, a biannual big conference (the next one will be in summer 2024), and regional one-day trainings for grad students (that was how I first got involved!). At the big summer conference, they also run a summer seminar that is basically a boot camp for new teachers.

SLAC Professor

For whatever it is worth, most professors I know who teach (and hire!) at elitish Liberal Arts Colleges really do not want to read about education pedagogy. Of course we want to hear about what you'd do in the classroom, how you'd respond to various challenges, how you'd advise independent studies, and so on. But pedagogical theory? Not really so much.

Also, we *do* want to hear about your research! But you should be able to explain the significance of your research to those who aren't deep in the weeds of your specific sub-sub-subfield.

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