Posted by Mary Cloonan, Programs Director

For many, part of their graduate assistantship involves teaching others.  Or perhaps you have survived the gauntlet of Student Teaching and are now an actual teacher. This can be invigorating for some and intimidating for others.  Suddenly being the person who has all the answers can make your brain shut down. Standing up in front of strangers and imparting information and skills can give anyone sweaty palms, and that can make wedging difficult.

Fear not! Join Emily Nickel and her compadres Thursday from 12:30-1:30 where they will share their insights and tricks to help make this smooth and joyful transition.  “From Mentee to Mentor” will pull back the curtain and hand out the paper bags (for deep breathing or other occurrences) to make you a confident and competent first time teacher.

The well-balanced panel consists of one current MFA, a recently graduated MFA, and a first-year teacher, who all taught in graduate school, survived and thrived and are still teaching. They will generously share experiences, mistakes, and advice to help ease the transition from student to teacher. During their panel, they will cover an array of topics that they have broken down into:

  • “Activating the Classroom.” Motivating your students during class and crit time.
  • “Professional Practice.” Discussing syllabi, teaching philosophies and grading.
  • “The Sensitive Classroom.” Dealing with disabilities, language barriers, or home issues.
  • “Do As I Say, Not As I Do: Teacher Mistake Stories.” Help avoid some of pitfalls.

And if after all of that you still have concerns or queries, they will hold a Q & A.

As educators and mentors, we all have something to impart or demonstrate, it is recognizing that gift in oneself and being willing and open to share it. This often requires patience countered with boldness to take the leap into the unknown of each individual’s mind. But as my mentor told me, as I was about to embark into a class full of first years: “Well, you already know more than them, so there’s that. You’ll be fine.” And I was.

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