The Composition Instructor's Survival Guide
The Composition Instructor's Survival Guide is written for the most overlooked segment of today's English departments: the more than forty thousand instructors who do the actual composition teaching, most of them for low pay, no benefits, no hope of tenure. It is the first book to speak for this largely silent group - to voice the anger composition instructors feel at their treatment, to articulate the reasons why composition courses and teachers deserve more respect, and, most important, to enumerate what composition instructors can do to make their jobs easier and more pleasurable.
In this book, twenty-three-year-veteran Brock Dethier addresses some of the dilemmas composition instructors confront: How can we respect ourselves and what we do in the face of scorn, even from our English department colleagues? How can we keep our eyes focused on the intrinsic rewards of our jobs when the tangible benefits elude us? How can we appreciate the advantages of being invisible yet struggle for recognition? How can we reduce the time, stress, and responsibilities of our jobs, but still provide students with worthwhile college experiences? How can we rise above the daily traumas of the job to remember that it's fun?
The first few chapters describe long-range, broad, often intangible goals instructors can work toward: building respect, learning to appreciate the intrinsic benefits of the job. The subsequent chapters are more specific and practical, with suggestions on dealing with common frustrations and creating a great class, even when all plans go awry.
Readers may come away from the book with ideas about new careers or about creating change in their present jobs, but they will almost certainly gain a greater appreciation for and sense of satisfaction from their work. Dethier provides moral, theoretical, practical, and bibliographical resources for beginning and experienced teachers; the last chapter alone outlines a dozen class activities that require little or no preparation, but are certain to educate and entertain.
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