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Going away to teach

Dianna L. Bourke dlb17 at PSU.EDU
Mon Mar 18 22:15:13 EST 1996


I think this is an amazingly astute plan. As long as you realize YOU WILL
2 new courses! I, too, took a part time teaching job (though at a community
college), as I was finishing my dissertation. Of course I had assumed I
would be finished by the time the teaching started, but I was wrong. Until
you have taught an entire course by yourself, you cannot know how much work
is involved. If you have no assistance it is even worse. Making up the
lectures, exams, lab exercises etc. all takes up a tremedous amount of
time. So does correcting exams, quizzes and lab reports. I had the same
problem my first year as a full time faculty. By the end of the school
year, I felt like a dish rag.

On the other hand, I think that teaching that course at the community
college was one of the most eye opening and valuable things I could have
ever done. It gave me a vastly different perspective on teaching that I had
gotten from my med school department training. I'm certain it played major
a role in my getting hired in my current school which emphasizes teaching
first, then research. It is ten times better experience than just being a
TA. Also, if you get a full time position there after your degree, it will
make your first year there much easier, because you can concentrate on
other issues rather than just getting through your classes. This is
particularly important if you are expected to write grants, be on
committees, etc.

The fiance thing is tough. I was separated from mine for two years while I
finished up and found a post-doc near him. Consider this experience a
worthwhile investment in the future. Even if you do not go there to teach,

, I
>feel that this semester of teaching will be good for several reasons:  1)
>because of funding I would have been a TA at my home university this fall
>anyway  2)  developing and teaching my own courses will be a much better
>experience than being a TA for the eighth semester  3)  the money is better
>4)  teaching this semester will  put me first in line for a permanent
>position after I finish and 5) I know I will be back at my home university
>in the spring to finish the thesis.  There are some drawbacks, such as 1)
>I should probably assume I will be too busy in that semester teaching to
>work on my thesis at all 2)  if I do get work done, I won't be able to
>discuss it with my advisor until I come back and 3)  I will have to endure
>greater geographic separation from my fiance (19 hours away instead of only
>So,  given that I have already made the decision, does anyone have
>advice/warnings for me? Is this a unique opportunity?   My advisor is
>backing me on the decision, as is my entire committee.  However, any
>additional information would be great.  Thanks for your help in advance.
>Marcy Brown
>Department of Biological Sciences
>Purdue University
>mbrown at bilbo.bio.purdue.edu
>"I see you over there, just clinging to the wall. Because they told you
>like ivy you were bound to crawl.  But you kept looking up, girl, and I
>know why.  You knew someday you were gonna touch the sky." John Hiatt

Dianna L. Bourke
Penn State Hazleton

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