ENG 496A: Teaching for a Living

banner image 166wEnglish 496A  Teaching for a Living
Sect. 6, Tues. & Thurs. 9:30am-10:45, Psych. 205
Thomas P. Miller, tpm@u.arizona.edu, 621-6152
Office Hours: On Tuesdays 11-12:30 and Wednesdays 8:30-10
Modern Languages Building 473, and by appointment
Course page: http://www.tmiller.faculty.arizona.edu

  Syllabus | Assignment Page | Resources Page 


Course Description

This seminar is intended for those who plan on teaching after graduation. We will review research on the teaching of literature, writing, and language with an eye to developing a research-based teaching philosophy and portfolio with daily assignments and course units. Seminar participants will research instructional resources, curricular guidelines, state assessment programs, educational trends, and professional development opportunities for teachers. We will also work on developing websites and exploring career opportunities.

Course Texts

Smith, Michael and Jeff Wilhelm. Reading Don't Fix No Chevys. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2002.

Brandvik, Mary Lou. English Teacher's Survival Guide. Sommerset, NJ: Jossey-Bass, 2002.

Additional readings available through Electronic Reserves and on line.

Overview of Units

Unit 1: What is it like to teach for a living? (5 weeks)
In the first unit, we will read about schools, students, and teachers, starting with the first book for the class, Reading Don’t Fix No Chevys. You will visit schools to interview students and teachers, and you will write in your journal.  From your journal entries, you will write an essay that works from your readings, reflections, and observations to draft a statement of your philosophy of learning and literacy. 

Unit 2: What do you need to know about teaching language, writing, and literature? (4 ½ weeks)
In this unit, you will work on your teaching portfolio.  You will do research on line to gather instructional materials and resources that you can use in the classroom.  From these, you will develop an outline of a course, and you will plan a specific unit that integrates work with literature, writing, and grammar.  You will also draft a lesson plan and teach a twenty-minute segment from that lesson.  Our major resource for this unit will be our second course text, English Teacher's Survival Guide.  At the end of this unit, you will draw upon your first essay to compose a teaching philosophy that discusses your course and unit.

Unit 3: What are the benchmarks that you will have to work from? (2 ½ weeks)
In the third unit, we will expand our focus to include state standards and curricular guidelines.  You will lead a discussion of how these benchmarks are supported or contradicted by the readings and work we did in the last unit on how to teach writing, literature, and language.  You will then revise your materials to integrate work with the rubrics, guidelines, and outcomes statements from the relevant state standards and district curricular guidelines.  We will also work on developing our website skills in this unit.

Unit 4: How can you prepare yourself for the next step in your career? (3 weeks)
In the final unit, we will work on helping you get ready to apply for jobs, and become certified to teach, if you plan to do so.  We will also work on job search processes and materials, including letters of application, resumes, and teaching portfolios that include all your materials from this course.  For those of you who are interested, we will also work on applying to graduate schools and seeking funding.

Major Assignments

Unit 1: What is it like to teach for a living? (5 weeks)

Journal 1: What do you read on a daily basis? (A log of your reading hour by hour, due in class 8/23)
Journal 2: How do your readings differ from your students’? (A self-reflection drawing on your log and readings, due to Caucus 9/1 by 5:00)
Journal 3: How does it feel to teach? (A description of a school and class, drawing upon your five hours of required classroom observations, due to Caucus 9/5 by noon)
Journal 4: Who will you work with? (An interview of a teacher or student, due to Caucus 9/12 by noon)
Philosophy of Learning and Literacy (due to Caucus 9/19, responses due 9/21, and revision in class 9/25)

Unit 2: What do you need to know about teaching language, writing, and literature? (4 ½ weeks)
Journal 5: How do two readings relate to each other? (15 copies due in class on day of reading)
Class Plan: Prepare a lesson plan for one class in your unit (on Caucus 10/8, by noon)
Unit Plan: Outline of the activities and assignments for the unit (on Caucus 10/15 by noon)
Teaching Demo: Teach a 20 minute lesson from unit (scheduled for classes 10/2 through 10/23)
Teaching Philosophy (Due to Caucus 10/19, responses 10/21, and revision in class 10/23)
Exam on Methods of Teaching Language, Literature, and Writing (10/25)

Unit 3: What are the benchmarks that you will have to work from? (2 ½ weeks)
Discussion Leader: Relate theories of teaching literature, language, and writing to state standards (scheduled for one class in the unit)
Revised Unit Plan with Writing Assignments: Revise and expand unit assignments to address standards (due in class and on Caucus 11/6)
Exam on Grammar and Punctuation (11/8)

Unit 4: How can you prepare for what’s next? (3 weeks)
Self-assessment of experiences, skills, and goals (Caucus 11/9)
Resume: Resume for jobs or graduate schools (on Caucus 11/16)
Letter of Application or Personal Statement (Caucus 11/19)
Cover Memo and Teaching Portfolio (due in class on 11/29)


teaching grading table

Additional Requirements

You are required to attend class.  This is a workshop class that includes hands-on work with readings and writing, peer group work, and conferences.  Students who miss more than three classes may be dropped with an E.  Absences will also affect the grade you receive for your in-class work and assignments.

If you submit a major essay after the class when it is due, you will be penalized one letter grade for each day it is late.

In-class and out-of-class writing will be assigned throughout the course.  Students not in class when writing is assigned must still complete the assignment when due; however, assignments are due at the beginning of class and will be marked as late if you are late for class or miss the class.

You should retain copies of all the essays that you submit.  All writing done for the course should be kept for the portfolio in the third unit.

Drafts and assignments must be turned in with all essays.  Drafts should show significant changes in purpose, audience, organization, or evidence.

As with all students, you must uphold the Code of Academic Integrity (see http://dos.web.arizona.edu/uapolicies/cai1.html).  Prohibited behaviors include using sources without citing them appropriately, submitting assignments written by others, and handing in “work that has previously been submitted without fair citation of the original work or authorization by the faculty member supervising the work.”  If you have questions about using sources or other issues related to the Code, ask before you submit an assignment.

You must also observe the provisions on classroom behavior in the Student Code of Conduct (see http://web.arizona.edu/~dos/uapolicies/scc5308f.html).  The Code is based on the assumption that "the educational process is ideally conducted in an environment that encourages reasoned discourse, intellectual honesty, openness to constructive change and respect for the rights of individuals."  “Disruptive and threatening behavior” are specifically proscribed (see http://web.arizona.edu/~dos/studentbehavior.html; see also http://web.arizona.edu/~dos/uapolicies/scc5308f.html).

All students, faculty and university personnel are also required to observe professional standards in sending email, as detailed in the Uof A Email Policy (http://w3.arizona.edu/~records/efinal.htm). Misuse includes but is not limited to harassment, defamation, and obscenity.  Anyone may stop another user from sending him or her e-mail by making such a request to the other user.  Failure to honor such a request is a violation of the Policy.

Students with disabilities who require reasonable accommodations to fully participate in course activities or meet course requirements must register with the Disability Resource Center.  If you qualify for services through DRC, give your letter of accommodations to me as soon as possible (see http://fp.arizona.edu/affirm/uada.htm).

Course Outcomes

General Teaching Skills

    * Organize activities, assignment sequences, and courses to achieve stated outcomes
    * Diagnose differing learning styles, problems, and strengths
    * Plan lessons around varied modes of instruction to engage different learning styles
    * Create a workshop environment that engages students in learning by doing
    * Manage the workload to avoid burnout and sustain engagement in learning from teaching

Expertise with Teaching Writing

    * Foster students’ engagement in writing as a creative and recursive process
    * Help students work through that process to achieve specific outcomes by offering assistance with
          o Prewriting, including invention strategies and collaborative opportunities
          o Drafting, including planning and organizational strategies
          o Revision, including modes of developing paragraphs and essays such as argument
          o Editing, including work with grammar and style
    * Offer useful formative and summative feedback suited to various stages in the writing process and the developmental needs of individual writers
    * Help students locate, integrate, and cite sources in papers using research
    * Develop rhetorical awareness of how to write for varied purposes and contexts

Expertise with Teaching Language

    * Foster engagement with the cultural and rhetorical nuances of language in use
    * Explain sentence elements and the ways they affect style and readers’ responses
    * Able to distinguish more serious problems with grammar and usage
    * Able to provide individually adapted and culturally sensitive instruction on those problems
    * Help students understand the social, cultural, and ethnic sources of language variations

Expertise with Teaching Literature

    * Help students to see responding to literature as a generative and rewarding process
    * Provide help with close reading strategies to develop interpretations with specifics
    * Present the history of British, American, and world literatures in an engaging manner
    * Deepen students’ understanding of the rhetorical dimensions of formal elements
    * Help students appreciate the critical capacities of literature and the imaginative experience

Additional Professional Expertise

    * Draw upon relevant experiences to demonstrate the practical skills needed to achieve goals
    * Document those experiences, skills, and goals in an effective resume
    * Further substantiate that professional expertise with a teaching portfolio
    * Articulate your distinctive strengths in a persuasive manner in a job application letter
    * Research jobs, graduate programs, and other professional opportunities