Teaching as a team

The MMC 2100 teaching assistants meet for a team meeting before the start of the semester -- Karla Kennedy, Gordon Van Owen, Shannon McAllanan, Adam Bornstein, Meredith Cochie, Brittany Rajchel and Jay Lee

Even though teachers work with dozens and often hundreds of students, the experience can have some solitary aspects, as we typically are teaching on our own. It’s our course and our students, our lesson plans and our decisions.

One of the aspects I really enjoy about teaching MMC 2100 is that it’s a team effort. I chart out the course — textbook selection, class assignments and grading criteria. But typically seven to nine of us are teaching the course. This semester, eight of us are working together. I teach the lectures and one lab, and the seven teaching assistants teach the other 12 labs — and one of the TAs also is my lecture assistant.

With a team, we regularly talk about the course, the students, the assignments and the course goals. Through these discussions, we continue to consider how to make the course most effective for the students. These discussions help me think about “Why are we doing it this way?” and help me consider how to make the course work better for the students and the instructors.

Today was our end-of-the-semester team meeting. Everyone shared a highlight of the semester — from working with students to get their first byline to helping a student finally understand what an restrictive phrase is.

And as is the case with teaching assistants, many of them won’t be teaching with me next year. They are graduating and moving into media careers. Even if they aren’t going to be in the classroom next fall, I know that all of them have discovered an enthusiasm for teaching.

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