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Developing Authority in the Classroom as a Graduate Student Instructor: Practical Issues

Date: Tuesday March 24, 2009

For additional workshop details, please click here.


Moderator: Alison Caviness Gibson, TRC Graduate Student Associate, English
Panelists: Tristan Bridges, Graduate Student Instructor, Sociology and Studies in Women & Gender
Katherine Heller, TRC Graduate Student Associate, Mathematics
Carey Sargent, Graduate Student Instructor, Sociology

Without the title “Professor,” we graduate students often feel insecure about our authority in the classroom. We don’t always know all of the answers to our students’ questions, but we fear that admitting our gaps in knowledge will compromise our intellectual authority. We want to establish professional relationships with our students, but are (in some cases) only a few years older than them. In short, we want authority, but wonder what it looks like or how to claim it responsibly. So, how do we develop authority in the face of these and other challenges?

This panel discussion will focus on a variety of issues related to authority faced by many graduate students. We’ll discuss practical issues like what to wear to class; whether or not to share one’s personal life, political opinions, and/or religious beliefs with students; where to hold office hours; issues regarding age, gender, sexuality, and race; and Facebooking to name a few. A panel of seasoned graduate student instructors will share their experiences, including challenges that they have faced and how they have worked to overcome them. Intended audience: graduate students in all schools.

Sponsored by the Teaching Resource Center

For additional details, and to Register, please click here.

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