No Fancy Name
Thursday, May 25, 2006
TA meetings, choosing books
On Monday and Tuesday of this week, the new crop of TAs (all 6 of us) met with the TA coordinator (aka mentor prof, aka super beloved guy, aka Dr. E) to talk about syllabi, book selections, and course times. All of us already knew each other, as well as the 3 returning TAs who were also there in an official supportive capacity. In other words, very low stress meetings, lots of positive reinforcement, just a general positive spin on the fact that we'll have 25-50 (depending if we have 1 course or 2, I chose 1) composition 1A students in just a few months.

This runs counter to one particular negative nelly prof who, when one of my fellow TAs told her she'd be part of the TA program in the fall, said "oh, that's going to SUCK for you." Way to be supportive, jerk. [Ok, I should stop here and note that I know that freshman comp classes are not the most fun thing in the world and that there are many aspects about them and the students that do suck, unless of course it's what you want to do and you enjoy it and you don't let the sucky students get you down, etc etc. I've finally learned this in my time on this earth: negativity is a self-fulfilling prophecy!]

Anyway, back to these meetings. Dr. E wrote his handout "Some Unasked For Advice" in free verse, and as he said that, R and I turned our pages sideways and went "aha! blades of grass" because a) we are geeks and b) we took his class. It was really funny.

That was the tone of the meetings: fun, supportive, informative, happy. We took home a stack of books because the next day we were going to vote on the handbook and the reader to use. He had already weeded the selections down to three choices for a handbook and three choices for a reader, any of which would have been fine.

It took us 20 minutes to come to a unanimous vote the next day, so quickly and efficiently it almost made me cry. So, for the handbook we're using the Troyka/Hesse Handbook for Writers, 8e, and the reader will be Patterns for College Writing, 10e. We felt the Patterns reader had a more diverse set of readings—diverse in terms of gender, ethnicity, subject, time period, etc.

So, if anyone has used the Patterns reader with comp 1A students and wants to offer advice, please do so!!

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