Hi Chelsea! I'm looking at PhD programs right now and having teaching opportunities is a pretty important element for me... I was wondering whether you are teaching/have taught your own classes, in addition to being a TA? Thank you in advance!! Hope you are having a wonderful weekend!
hello yes!! i’ve actually only taught my own classes so far - i’m desperately hoping for a TAship next quarter in the brit lit survey course, and i should be TAing in my advisor’s undergrad medieval manuscript/digital humanities course in the spring, which i’m really excited for. in my program, you’re either an instructor (the “professor”) for a composition class or you get tapped as a TA by a specific professor from the english department (or sometimes from a sister department like gender studies or history)
pros of teaching your own class: control over the syllabus and exam format, fewer students, something new and exciting every day. cons: more grading, more lesson planning, and, personally, i don’t want to teach comp, i want to teach english. also we get paid less for instructing than for TAing, which is bullshit, because it’s way more work.
pros of TAing: you get to work closely with a faculty member, the workload is less because you teach the same lesson to multiple sections so you only have to plan one lesson a week instead of 2 or 3, more time for correction (if a lesson or activity doesn’t go well with one group, great news, you get two more tries), teaching in the field you’re actually passionate about. cons: sometimes you have to teach stuff you don’t care about because the professor determines the content. also teaching the same class 3x can get boring.