Truman’s Master of Arts in English program offers incoming and current students the opportunity to apply for Graduate Teaching/Research Assistantships (GTRAs). These year-long teaching positions provide a full-tuition waiver for 18 credits of classes (9 credits in the fall semester and 9 credits in the spring needed to be a full-time student) as well as an $8,000 stipend, paid in monthly installments, Sept. 15 – June 15.
Yearly teaching assistantships are renewable on a competitive basis. Current teaching assistants will need to re-apply in January for positions for the following year. Since some graduate teaching positions will be reserved for incoming students, not all first-year graduate teaching assistants will have the chance to renew their teaching assistantships (GTRAs) for a second year. Therefore, current graduate teaching assistants are encouraged to apply for graduate administrative and editorial assistantships (GAAs), since this will diversify the professional skills they can offer future employers.
Since these positions are awarded on a yearly basis, students entering the program in January will not be able to apply for a teaching assistantship their first semester but can apply for a position for the coming academic year. A student may only hold one administrative, editorial, or teaching assistantship at a time.
- Pre-Teaching Orientation: Prior to the start of classes in August, English teaching assistants participate in an intensive five-day training and orientation workshop under the guidance of English Graduate Teaching Supervisor, Dr. Barbara Price, and attend a campus-wide orientation for new faculty and instructors that provides additional information about Title IX compliance, FERPA, attendance policies, and other university expectations, rules and procedures.
- Composition and Pedagogy: In their first (Fall) semester of teaching their own sections of ENG 190—Writing as Critical Thinking, teaching assistants take ENG 620—Composition Theory and Pedagogy. This 4-credit class provides ongoing practical support for the new teachers, informed by reading and discussion of relevant pedagogical theory. Teaching assistants in this class also engage in group grading sessions for each of the common ENG 190 assignments to ensure that grading is completed in a consistent and appropriate manner. As problems or concerns emerge in individual classes, they are discussed with the group and appropriate resolutions are suggested.
- Evaluation and Support: In their second (spring) semester of teaching, teaching assistants continue to receive support and additional pedagogical training via their enrollment in ENG 698—Evaluating College English Teaching for one credit.
- ENG 190—Writing as Critical Thinking: All English teaching assistants teach a section of ENG 190—Writing as Critical Thinking the fall and spring semesters of their first year. While first-year teaching assistants all teach from a common Writing as Critical Thinking syllabus, teaching assistants who have their assistantship renewed for a second year are allowed and encouraged to customize their syllabi by selecting a different textbook and/or developing a unifying topic, usually related to the teaching assistant’s own research interests. Not only does this provide more variety for our Writing as Critical Thinking students, it is also excellent professional development and experience for our teaching assistants. Teaching assistants who have their assistantships renewed for a second year continue to work under the supervision of the mentor faculty member and in close collaboration with the other teaching assistants.
- Other Teaching Opportunities: Second-year teaching assistants may be selected to teach a 200-level English course offering, according to their interests and expertise, and departmental need.
- Supervision: In addition to the pre-semester week-long orientation and the curricular support for first-year teaching assistants provided by ENG 620—Composition Theory and Pedagogy and ENG 698—Evaluating College English Teaching, the English Graduate Teaching Supervisor observes each teaching assistant’s classes on a regular basis, with more frequent observations occurring during the first semester.
- Office Hours: All teaching assistants hold regular office hours, commensurate with regular department and university norms.