Teaching Internships: An Intern’s Perspective

Interested in teaching or in applying for the Two-Year College Teaching Internships? Read on for a first-hand account from MAWP student Steve Bogdaniec, who is currently student-teaching at Wright College through the program.

The Two-Year College Internship program offers placement at a two-year college for class credit.  I’m doing my internship right now (Autumn 2010) at Wright College, one of Chicago’s city colleges.  I was paired up with a great professor, Michael Petersen, in an English Composition 102 class with Shakespeare’s Tragedies as its theme.  (We’re covering Macbeth, Othello and Hamlet, as well as a brief section on the sonnets.)  The purpose of the class is to teach students how to write research papers, so in addition to teaching the plays, we cover proper citation, structure and content for college writing.

So far I have attended every class but one, taken lots of notes, participated in discussion, conceived of and delivered an assignment in proper MLA citation and given a period-long lecture on the core differences between Othello and Macbeth/Hamlet.  Students are responsible for having the second half of Hamlet read this week (10/11), and I giving my first quiz on this.  I have also graded the students’ first analysis paper along with Professor Petersen.  A large part of my role for the second half of the course will be interaction with students on their papers, both individually and in small groups.

Prior to this class, I had helped people with editing papers and understanding assignments, but had zero formal teaching experience.  Thankfully, this was not necessary!  I was a little nervous going in, but could not have gotten better support from Professors Petersen and Goffman, the second of which is the DePaul faculty advisor for the program.  Professor Petersen consults with me after every class, and often during it, ready to dispense advice and answer any questions I have.  We are required to submit teaching journals every couple weeks to Professor Goffman, and her feedback has been invaluable as well.  I particularly like the teaching journal as it helps me focus my attention and record my experiences as they happen rather than at the end of the semester.  I’ve found that the situation is ever changing, both with the students and myself.

As for what it’s actually like to stand in front of a room full of students waiting for you to speak, to stand behind a lectern instead of sitting in the desks, I can’t adequately describe it.  You can prepare as much as possible—something I heartily encourage, by the way—but you can’t know what it’s actually like until you do it.  Personally, I found myself to be exhilarated and strangely unafraid, conscious that I still had a lot to learn about teaching, but profoundly enjoying myself.  I wouldn’t have known this otherwise, and wouldn’t have the confidence that this program has given me!

Experience is important no matter what path you find yourself following, and this is great opportunity to gain actual teaching experience.  If interested, you will need to contact Professor Goffman (if you haven’t already) and she will have more information for you.  As for myself, I’m really happy with my choice so far, and am looking forward to the rest of the semester.

Thanks for reading!

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