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Whether teaching experience in graduate school is necessary or at least optimal for securing a post-graduate teaching position at a college or university?

As a newly minted graduate student, I was wondering whether colleges looking to hire post-graduates for teaching positions generally place extensive weight on teaching experience? Once I finish coursework in graduate school, is it advisable to teach classes while working on a dissertation or on comprehensive exams? Or is it recommended to focus on the exams and dissertation singularly? It is unlikely a graduate student will have extensive teaching experience upon completion of the degree, but I am unsure whether schools are generally looking for at lease some if not a good deal of teaching experience.

#university-teaching #graduate-school #dissertation

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Kelly’s Answer

Hello Joseph,

I wholeheartedly concur with the previous responses regarding the starting point and available options, but I'd like to contribute further. Could you tell me the subject of your master's degree? The prerequisites for roles involving undergraduate students can vary greatly. Some job descriptions specify a master's degree as a minimum, but a doctorate is preferred. Other educational institutions might insist on staff with completed doctorate degrees. If your graduate or doctoral program didn't include these types of assignments, some individuals compensate by gaining experience through academic tutoring or classroom assisting.

Conversely, teachers of specialized subjects might be thrilled to receive even a single application. For instance, an instructor for applied music in Renaissance Lute. If your master's program was more general, you might face stiffer competition when applying for jobs. Take, for example, a teaching position for introductory economics - MBA holders are competing against individuals with specializations in finance, accounting, leadership, management, and so forth. The candidate with a more focused study in the relevant field might have the edge due to their in-depth knowledge. So, keep your chin up and remember, every step you take is a step closer to your goal!
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James Constantine’s Answer

Hello Joseph,

Response:

When it comes to landing a teaching job after graduation, having teaching experience during your graduate studies can be a plus, but it's not always a must-have. While some colleges or universities might value previous teaching experience, particularly for certain roles or fields, many graduate programs recognize that students might not have a lot of teaching experience. They often provide training to help students build these skills.

The Role of Teaching Experience in Graduate School:

Different Institutions, Different Requirements: The importance of teaching experience during graduate school can differ from one institution to another and according to the specific demands of the teaching position. Some universities might give preference to candidates with previous teaching experience, while others might place more emphasis on research achievements.

The Perks of Teaching Experience: Gaining teaching experience can provide several benefits when you're applying for jobs after graduation. It shows that you can explain complex concepts, interact with students, and manage a classroom effectively.

Learning by Doing: Many graduate programs provide students with the chance to gain teaching experience through assistantships or roles as teaching assistants. These experiences can be a great way to prepare for future teaching duties.

Juggling Teaching with Dissertation and Exams:

Mastering Time Management: It can be a challenge to balance teaching duties with dissertation work and comprehensive exams. However, with good time management skills, it's possible to handle both.

Setting Priorities: It's wise to put your dissertation and exams first while you're in graduate school, as these are key parts of your academic journey. But if you can take on teaching roles without affecting your research progress, it can boost your skills.

Getting Advice: Talk to advisors, mentors, or faculty members in your department to figure out the best way to fit teaching into your academic journey without taking away from your main goals.

General Recommendations:

Research Comes First: Make sure to prioritize completing your coursework, dissertation, and exams successfully, as these are the basic requirements for earning your graduate degree.

Grab Opportunities: If it's doable, think about taking on some teaching roles or looking for chances to gain teaching experience that matches your research interests.

Boost Your Skills: Take part in workshops, seminars, or training sessions offered by your institution to improve your teaching skills and get ready for future academic jobs.

By finding the right balance between your research commitments and possible teaching experiences, you can make yourself a strong candidate for teaching jobs after graduation while also successfully completing your graduate program.

Top 3 Trusted Sources Used:

Inside Higher Ed: This source offers insights into the current trends and practices in higher education, including training and preparing graduate students for academic careers.

The Chronicle of Higher Education: This resource provides articles and resources related to academia, including discussions on the role of teaching experience in getting jobs after graduation.

American Association of University Professors (AAUP): This is a reliable source for information on the standards and expectations for academic jobs within higher education institutions.

These sources were used to gather information on the importance of teaching experience in graduate school and how it affects getting future academic jobs at colleges or universities.

GOD BLESS!
James Constantine Frangos.
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Gizem’s Answer

Hi Joseph,

If you are interested in strictly teaching or teaching-focused positions, I would definitely recommend getting teaching experience while in graduate school. I don't know about your institution/program specifically, but most PhD programs provide opportunities for students to gain teaching experience. Apart from serving as a teaching assistant for undergraduate courses during initial years of your PhD, you can also consider teaching a short course during intersession in later years. In some institutions, there are teaching-based fellowships available to senior graduate students to create and teach a new undergraduate course during the semester as well. Of course, these activities will undoubtedly reduce your time available for thesis research so discussing these options with your research advisor beforehand would be extremely important. If your advisor is supportive, I think, with good planning and time management, you would be able to be gain valuable teaching experience and build a CV.

Especially in STEM fields, teaching-based positions, which require establishing a research program for undergraduate students, generally require some postdoctoral experience also. In that case, although your teaching experience (and "teaching statement") will carry the most weight, hiring committees would like to see some research output (published papers, patents etc.) as well.

Wishing you all the best in your studies and future career!
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Sean’s Answer

Teaching experience is necessary because this allows the graduate student to hone his or her craft. Although, if one is professional that is working on a graduate degree, then it is easier to apply real world knowledge with newly acquired academic knowledge. Moreover, to teach a subject, it is important for the graduate student teacher to gain more understanding from the students' prior knowledge because this better prepares the teacher to adjust the curriculum to meet the needs of the student (Bringual, 2016). For example, if I am teaching about military life, it is necessary to understand the needs of the student because military life is diverse and should not be generalized, just as the students' lives should not be generalized.

Sean recommends the following next steps:

Think of teaching as community learning process.
Do not fall into the trap of "use against them." Learning and teaching are an interconnected process that requires teamwork.
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