The English M.A. program puts a premium on preparing students to become effective classroom teachers. Second year students have two unique teaching opportunities.
The English M.A. program puts a premium on preparing students to become effective classroom teachers. Second-year students have two unique teaching opportunities.
Students can apply to become Teaching Fellows (TF), which enables them to design and teach a section of the First-Year Writing Seminar (FWS) in the fall and spring semesters of their second year. Teaching Fellows participate in a pedagogy seminar during their first year, attend a summer workshop, and receive extensive mentoring while they are teaching. (Note: Current Boston College employees are not normally eligible for Teaching Fellowships.)
Alternatively, students can apply to be Teaching Assistants (TA), in which capacity they support a faculty member teaching a lecture class in the fall and spring semesters of their second year.
ENGL 8825, Seminar in Composition Theory and Practice
Students selected to become Teaching Fellows are automatically enrolled in ENGL 8825, “Seminar in Composition Theory and Practice,” during the spring semester of their first year. This course provides instruction in the theory of composition pedagogy and gives concrete guidance in the teaching of writing. Teaching Fellows learn how to design a syllabus, assignments, and class activities that fit within the Writing Program’s stated outcomes. TFs will also visit current FWS classes, to get a sense of the teaching and learning atmosphere of the program. At the end of the semester Fellows submit a final portfolio that includes a syllabus and assignments for an FWS course, as well as a teaching rationale.
At the conclusion of ENGL 8825, the student is paired with a teaching mentor. During the summer between the first and second year, the Fellow works with the mentor revising the syllabus and assignments. The mentor provides regular feedback and support while the Fellow is teaching during the second year.
Summer Comp Camp
TFs are expected to work on syllabus revisions over the summer and to attend a one-day Comp Camp meeting that is planned for the first Thursday in August. This summer work is critical, as it helps TFs understand and practice individual class goal setting, lesson planning, and learn about the many campus resources and services available to support your teaching and students.
Status in the Teaching Fellow Program
The status of all Fellows enrolled in ENGL 8825 and the summer Comp Camp is provisional, and dependent on the student’s satisfactory completion of the seminar and the approval of the syllabus and assignments designed for the FWS class. If a student received a grade in ENGL 8825 below A- or if the FWS Director decides that the proposed course does not yet meet all the FWS guidelines, the Teaching Fellow will remain on a provisional status until he or she satisfactorily revises his or her course materials, under the supervision of one’s mentor and the Program Director. If the revisions are not made satisfactorily during that time period, the Teaching Fellow may forfeit his or her fellowship. We don’t anticipate that this situation will occur, but we feel it’s important to make the procedure and expectations clear.
Teaching Fellows will teach one section of FWS each semester of their second year. They also attend all FWS required meetings, which will include regular meetings with their mentor and a weekly 50-minute practicum. Each section of FWS meets for 150 minutes of class time per week; additionally, instructors conference individually with their 15 students at least four weeks of the semester. This makes teaching FWS a time-consuming experience, but a rewarding one that allows TFs to work intensively with a small group of students on their writing and learn how to plan and execute a course within stated guidelines.
The guidelines for each Teaching Assistant position will be defined by the individual faculty member with whom the student works. That commitment will begin in the summer before the fall of the second year.
Teaching Assistants do not enroll in ENGL 8825 or attend Comp Camp.
Teaching Fellows are paid a stipend of $6,000 per course.
Teaching Assistants earn $4,000 per course.
A maximum of 18 Teaching Fellowships and 4 Teaching Assistant positions are available each year, thus making the selection process competitive.
Students interested in becoming Teaching Fellows are strongly encouraged to apply to work as Writing Fellows (see below) during their first year as an M.A. student, as this provides excellent preparation for the college classroom.
Applications are due during the fall semester of the student’s first year. The specific deadline will be provided by Dr. Paula Mathieu, Director of the First-Year Writing Program.
The application consists of a one-page letter, stating which position you are applying for and briefly describing any experiences or skills that one might draw upon in the classroom. Especially relevant are any tutoring or teaching experiences one has had.
During the fall semester, the FWS Staff Director and staff will interview all interested applicants. They, along with the Director of the M.A. program and the English Department Faculty, will determine which applicants will be designated as Provisional Teaching Fellows and Teaching Assistants. The decision will be based on the letter, interview, coursework, and the perception by the faculty of the applicant’s readiness to assume the responsibilities of a writing instructor or teaching assistant. All candidates will be notified of the decision near the end of the fall semester.
Throughout the academic year, graduate writing fellows are paired with undergraduate courses and hold one-on-one writing conferences with students in the courses. The Writing Fellows do not attend class, but meet several times with the faculty member. Fellows also participate in a weekly seminar on writing pedagogy and conferencing strategies. The stipend for each Fellow is $1,250 per semester for an average of 10 hours of work per week. The weekly work load does vary and some weeks may be a few hours while other weeks may be 15 hours. For further information, contact Vincent Portillo, the director of the Writing Fellows Program.
During both fall and spring semesters, tutors are paired with students in ELL (English Language Learner) sections of First-Year Writing Seminar and Literature Core for six weeks during the semester. Tutors provide customized instruction in writing to students whose first language is not English. Before meeting with students, tutors complete a 10-hour intensive ELL tutor training exploring English grammar and syntax. Tutors will be compensated at a rate of $15/hour for both training and tutoring hours. The work load is typically 4 to 5 hours per week.
Contact Lynne Anderson, Director, Program for English Language Learners.
The Connors Family Learning Center (CFLC) has a large peer tutoring program with over 6,000 appointments every year. The center will have several openings for writing tutors in the upcoming academic year. Writing tutors work one-on-one with students from a wide range of courses and receive ongoing training; they are paid on an hourly basis ($9.50 an hour). The normal workload is 10 hours per week and does not vary significantly on a weekly basis. Working as a CFLC writing tutor is a great way to become part of the BC community and provide writing assistance across a range of disciplines. For further information contact Dr. Cecilie Joyner, Associate Director, Tutoring Services Connors Family Learning Center.
The Boston College Center for Teaching Excellence supports best and innovative practices in teaching by faculty and graduate students. The Center aims to sustain and further Boston College’s culture of distinction in all pedagogical methods, including the effective use of technology, to enhance faculty-student interaction both inside and outside the classroom.
The Apprenticeship in College Teaching Program is a free, non-credit-bearing program that prepares graduate students for teaching careers in higher education.