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First Year Writing Courses: How Do You Do It?


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Hey all,

I'm a second year PhD student teaching first year undergraduate writing courses (just one per term, 15 students max). As a brand new instructor, I've had to teach an established syllabus this year, but next year I will have a lot more freedom. I'm wanting to get a feel for how other schools and instructors approach into writing and reasoning classes. We currently use They Say/I Say, Style, and The Little Seagull Handbook. The other departments like us to teach essays rather than fiction, but I don't have to do that next year if I don't want to. The class is structured as a workshop, with three or four fairly short writing assignments (focusing on summary, rhetorical analysis, and synthesis) that are drafted and revised in class over course of the term.

Here's the thing: I would like to tie the class to my own interests, so I can practice teaching the kinds of material I plan to teach in the future. I'm into fatness and disability in African American and Chicanx texts, and there's plenty of interesting material out there to get freshman thinking and writing. But my only teaching experience has been the past year, so I am hoping to get some intel on how others approach these classes to help me think outside my current institution's box. If you have any advice or experience to share, it would be appreciated!

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