My teaching assistantships at Auburn University worked to prepare me for becoming a teacher of record at the collegiate level. Though I have experience in secondary education, my lead teachers provided the support I needed to monitor and adjust my skills for the university classroom. These positions also allowed me the space to build meaningful, individualized relationships with my students.
I began my teaching assistantships with American Literature II in the fall of 2017 with Dr. Simkins. I then was placed with Dr. Ryan in a large lecture format. Finally, for the past year I have been assisting Dr. Chris Quals in the Department of Theatre with Introduction to Theatre.
American Literature II at Auburn Univeristy
For my first experience in a collegiate classroom, I was placed as the single TA in a 40 student class. In a move toward active learning, students in this class were split into groups to answer discussion questions and share, daily which made the atmosphere of the class very communal. I was able to observe how Dr. Simkins gently questioned groups of students to direct them to more correct answers and deescalated situations in classroom debate.
When I lead class discussion, I created discussion questions for students based on the book The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. I made the meme that is on the first page of the powerpoint for the day based on a popular meme format. On this day, too, in addition to student groups presenting their answer to their discussion questions, two groups were chosen to debate in front of the class with the audience acting as the judges.
Above: Hand-sketched Twitter profile for Cotton Mathers complete with tweets that reiterate he theme of his writing.
Left: Hand-sketched facebook profiles for Edward Taylor and Johnathan Edwards. Both circulated among students to draw distinctions between men with similar names.
Photos used with student permission.
American Literature I at Auburn University
In this class I was able to observe how to manage a large lecture class. On the other hand, the break out sessions that I lead, gave me the space to read against the American literary cannon. In smaller groups, my classes and I were able to engage with texts in order to read between the lines; we discussed the missing people and perspectives. It was also a challenge to answer questions such as "Why does this matter?" from students. However, through assignments such as the Social Media Authors, we were able to connect to popular culture and discuss how we are still utilize the ideographs of cultural memory.
Through the "Creating Cultures" extra credit assignment specifically, I offered the space for students to draw connections between American identity and memory through 20th and 21st century adaptations of the Salem Witch Trials in the media.