(Yech! It’s hot. I’m hot. Not as bad as yesterday (90 degrees) when I was dressed up (yay boots! ugh sweat!), but it is still strangely hot for October. Bleah. In other news, the fire up here is contained, though I don’t know about the rest of the Southland. I’m debating whether to go to a cultural event tonight (heat=laziness) and I sent out 6 apps, I think, plus 4 or 5 yesterday, so I'm barely making it along my timeline so far.)
So I have been rolling along through my applications, doing the “easy” ones with early deadlines and leaving the ones with “extra” stuff for later. So now I’m calling on the internets for help again: “evidence of teaching effectiveness”??? What do they want for that? And is it going to be boring and annoying to put together? Because I don’t do well with heat and annoyingness; I may as well go to that performance tonight then instead.
I poked around a bit and some sources of online advice suggest a “teaching portfolio,” including everything from sample syllabi and course assignments to a letter by someone who has observed your teaching. Other web sites say “just bundle up all the narrative comments and statistical breakdowns of evaluations for the classes you have taught and send those in.” WTF!?!!? These must be for Fancypants McPanterson grads who have taught at most a couple classes. I have 6 years of evaluations from about 4 different departments doing vastly different subjects, some of which have nothing to do with my actual specialty and others that have nothing to do with the kinds of jobs I am applying for. See?:
(A view of my miraculous library cube/room --- have I mentioned how much I love librarians and my library? It's true! They love me so much they let me have a room with a door that locks --- better than some of the departments I've TA'd for, I tell you! This lets me go to the bathroom without packing up my laptop and every thing I brought every freakin' time. And yes, I have had thefts from the TA cubicle farm, so I am not merely paranoid. Well, I'm paranoid on top of being justified in this case.)
In the above photo, you will notice my zillion-pound stack of evaluations. If I have to send all that, I’m going to break my back down at the post office. Do you seriously want me to read through all that and summarize all of it? That looks like a fucking dissertation project right there. Hmm… just do the most recent class(es), you say? The problem with that is that our department loves its shiny and new students, only to cast them aside as they grow older and less cute. This leaves the school with large packs of semi-feral advanced grad students who scavenge on the edges of the campus, snatching at whatever leftover funding might be available in odd places while snarling rabidly.
Case in point: after much scrounging I finally managed to get one (1) TAship offer for this fall --- in the environmental sciences dept. Now, I think I can teach pretty much anything at the introductory level: it’s about being able to read better than the students and have discussion-leading skills, no? But I actually turned it down, despite it paying for my fees and health care and keeping my loans down and seeming interesting and fun, because I thought I needed to focus all my time and energy on the job market and finishing (hah!) the dissertation.
What all this means is that the most recent classes I have TA’d or taught are far outside my field, and the ones within my field are back from when I was not as good a teacher. (I should hope I have improved over time, at least!) So, what to send? How to reflect all this crap? Where can I find some magic job market gnomes to compile this information for me?
So, internets ---- what should I send to prove that I have not only taught, but taught “effectively”?