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About Bumblebee9

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  1. is good at putting all her eggs in one basket :(

  2. I like this. Now to win the lottery...and teach some students at Yale.
  3. Trying to stave off despair...it's too early for that!

  4. It might be, S. We should do coffee again sometime...
  5. The best way for me to quit obsessing is to ban myself from thegradcafe.com. I find myself coming here too often to check the results page, while I have way too much to do! I just noticed an early acceptance into the program I applied for on the results page, so now I'm freaking out--obsessing about the possibilities. Should have stayed off that page...
  6. Hi LongGone, I was in an MFA program and received a GA my first year and a TA the second and third years. Applying for GA/RA/TAs are a good idea. They get you further into the field, give you experience working in the field, help you make connections with the students and professors in the department, and help you make connections for the future job market and/or PhD programs. RAs generally help 1 or 2 professors with research, GAs generally do something for the entire department, but there are two kinds of TAs. The first kind of TA is an assistant in lecture courses (usually in literature/film). These aren't as "fun" because you are pretty much a grader, and the professor may give you one or two class periods in which you actually get to teach. It is a good place to start, however, if you don't have any teaching experience or if you don't want to teach composition. The other type of TA is the one I had. You are responsible for teaching one section of first-year/basic composition, with between 20 and 30 students depending on the school. You have complete control of the classroom--you are the instructor. Some schools call these Graduate Student Instructorships since you are the instructor and answer to no one on a daily basis. You make the syllabus, sometimes choose the textbook, create lesson plans, choose the major writing assignments, assign the homework, grade the assignments, have office hours (usually 4 a week), etc. Most schools require a short summer TA workshop and a first semester TA workshop to help you develop techniques and materials as you work your way through your first course. Where I went, students who spoke English as a second language generally taught ESL sections of composition. If the TA didn't have a good enough grip on English/composition the first or second semester, they usually worked in the Writing Center first, tutoring students one-on-one. TAing is a stressful job, especially when you are just starting your own master's level learning; however, the benefits usually outweigh the difficulties. You are usually still required by the department to take at least 6 credits a semester (2 courses--full time grad student). I taught 1 class and took 3 to 4 classes a semester (10-16 credits). The second+ semesters you teach, the job becomes easier because it requires less prep time as you develop effective lesson plans. If you are offered a GA/RA/TA take it! The process will usually involve a writing sample, general application, and interview (in person or via phone).
  7. Awesome articles. TAs in particular are vulnerable to negative student evals because they are new (and students can sense this) and young and idealistic. I've worked for 5 deans now, and they all said the same thing--except for the one at the for-profit professional school, but that one doesn't count--you should not have perfect evals. If you as a TA, adjunct, instructor, or professor have perfect evals, you are not doing your job. Your job is to get students to learn, which is often a tension-filled process that some students react negatively to. This is reflected in their evals. It doesn't mean anything. If you have consistently negative evals all noting the same weaknesses, that's another story. But very few teachers fall into this category. I, personally, have only observed one instructor in the last four years that could not handle teaching and was, in fact, making the students stupider when they entered the classroom because she was giving them misinformation and being clear as mud. This was a TA and still, after the head honcho observed her, she retained her TAship for the following year with a bit of extra training over the summer. She actually received pretty nice scores on her student evals because she wasn't making them do much work... Food for thought about how students try to "punish" and "reward" us. What are more important are peer, supervisor, and dean observations. These are the real people that can give you feedback on your instructional techniques.
  8. Closetgeek, Unfortunately, you need to do both simultaneously if you want all of your bases to be covered. I applied to one PhD program last year with somewhat awful materials because I didn't have much time to work on my SoP and writing samples while trying to finish my 200 page thesis on time. (If you can't tell, time management for research has always been a problem for me). The month after I submitted my PhD materials, I started applying for jobs--part time jobs because I knew I would accept a PhD offer if I was lucky enough to receive one or I'd be spending the next year preparing for the next application season and hoping to get in fall 2011. Well, the latter materialized, so in February, I suddenly found myself graduating with a masters in three months and with no job prospects. I peppered the job market with even more applications and actual started interviewing during school. I had a bit different problem. I knew early on that I was wait listed for the PhD program but unlikely to get in. My problem was that some jobs might want me to start before I'd actually graduated and completed my TAship. Balancing these issues is very delicate, but you should be upfront with people about deadlines. You don't have to tell perspective employers that you want to attend a PhD program--this will likely not get you hired since most employers are looking for long term employees. However, you can tell them during the interview that you are pursing a couple of options right now, and might not have an answer immediately or be able to begin working until May (or whatever the situation is). Either the employer would wait for you or they won't. I got six job offers this way--four part time jobs teaching that I actually took. People like it when you are upfront with them...
  9. Being in -20 degree weather right now (actual temp)--I say don't let weather stop you. If funding is more important, go with the funding factor. Yes, some places have really crappy weather, but you're not outside all the time. (I think I live in just about the worst possible spot right now for consistent crappy weather not related to national disasters). Usually, you'll live very close to campus, even within walking distance. Most universities in bad weather areas have completely enclosed walkways (above or underground) to get you from one building to another. Clothing is getting very high-tech... Plus its always nice to get a snow day or flooding day off every once in a while
  10. Expecting to hear next week or the following--the sooner the better for more reasons than one...

  11. Yes, it really depends on the field, the program, and even the size of the department. I'm applying to one program that requires applicants to have a master degree for a number of reasons. But the top reason: they are a very small department (subfield of English offshoot) and can be as picky as they want in searching for the most qualified candidates. Interestingly, their masters degree is terminal (more private sector-oriented than teaching degree) and does not automatically gain you entrance into the PhD program--usually does not. That being said, there are always exceptions to "the rules." If you've got a contact who knows all about your situation and encouraged you to apply, I'd say pursue this with at least a phone call.
  12. I agree with KRC--apply for the jobs you want because you are likely qualified. I experienced this same problem last year, when I needed something to keep me going until the next PhD application season. My terminal masters was enough to get me plenty of part time jobs teaching (usually very good money) and one part time job completely unrelated to my education that pays $13 an hour, full health insurance, and I can do basically whatever I want (grading) while I'm there. You can try to get a full or part time job in the business sector, though. The only concern about that is whether or not you get accepted to a PhD program. If you get accepted somewhere, you'll have to leave after probably 3 to 6 months of employment, which most businesses don't like--unless you get a temporary job. If you don't end up getting accepted, because let's face it, there are 100+ applications per spot and everybody is qualified at this level, you have a nice job to tide you over until next application season. Either way, you will find something that you'll be more or less happy with. Pepper the market with applications for jobs you are interested in or that you find appropriate enough to your educational background. No one can figure this out for you, though. I submitted somewhere are 60 applications an received 4 adjunct teaching gigs and my "health insurance job." I would suggest not limiting yourself to only $50,000+ a year jobs since these are tough to get right off the bat, masters or no masters. Occasionally, just keeping your head above water is most important.
  13. If it helps, I can throw in my experience with a master's degree and why I am seeking a PhD. With a master's degree, I have had tons of job offers--as part time and/or long term adjunct. I've been teaching at a university, professional college, and technical college (residentially and online). However, I've only had one fulltime permanent interview/teaching demo at a tech college. (I was passed over for a candidate who had been adjuncting there for several years--and rightfully so. They knew her and what she was capable of). I actually have too many composition/developmental writing courses right now, and working part time in a writing center--like most adjuncts. You are able to make a living this way. I've met career adjuncts all over the place. And you actually make good money...sometimes really, really good money. The problem: you are part time with absolutely no long term commitment. So, if the institution wants to cut classes or save a little money, adjuncts are the first thing to go. This could be a reduction in the number of courses they offer you per semester, or it could be a complete "See ya." There is no job security and no health insurance (usually--different if you work part "fulltime" at a state college). So, to create any type of stability, you have to work at two or three (or more) institutions just to know you will have SOME courses next semester. As an adjunct, you are also the last person to be scheduled for courses and writing center shifts, so you find out about next semester as early as three months ahead of time (if you're lucky) and as late a one week ahead of time. You also have to take or leave what they give you--which means all evening/night or early morning courses and shifts, usually. Some days I get up at 5a.m. and teach/tutor until 9p.m. Makes life difficult. At some point, most adjuncts give this up and work part time for a business of some sort (with stability and health insurance) and adjunct 2 or 3 courses a semester. Plus, you don't get to know your fellow instructors very well being a "gypsy scholar" as one of my professors put it. Getting a PhD is often the only way to become more competitive for those hard won fulltime jobs. I have a masters degree, teaching experience is just about every subfield of English, I'm published, and I continue to do independent research. But still, I'm no different from hundreds of other applicants with the same or similar experience. Getting a PhD doesn't guarantee fulltime employment in com-rhet, but it does give you more experience, better research abilities, and more connections. (In addition, I didn't feel like my education was done at the masters level--I'm raring to get back.)
  14. Yes, the writing sample is really important--I never said it wasn't. (Also note, there are some MA programs that only require a writing sample if you are applying for a GA/TA/RA). But often times due to the number of applicants, admissions committees weed out potential admits via the SoP, which is usually considerably shorter than the writing sample. I believe many institutions read through the entire application of each student; however, for those applicants that can't articulate what they want to study (in some form) and why they would be a great fit, their writing samples receive less attention from the get-go. Imagine, as a committee of six or eight people, reading 300+ applications, each 20+ pages in length, within two months--in addition to your regular teaching load of 3 to 5 courses and other committee work at the program and institutional level. Bottom line, you've got to impress with your SoP.
  15. I didn't apply to Ohio State, but I've also been told it's a great writing program (from one of my graduate school professors who went there). I know MN is difficult to get into because they don't accept many MA students: 1 last year and 3 the year before. My contact there spoke very highly of Iowa's program, where she'd gotten her MA/PhD, but the whole cornfield thing got me. She also talked up Washington.
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