Publication Date


Degree Program

Department of English

Degree Type

Master of Arts


Foibles, Follies and Fantastic Occurrences: First-time Teaching and the Composition Classroom explores incidents that expectedly—and often, unexpectedly—occur in any instructor's classroom, but especially focuses on the first-time instructor. Following the author's journey from graduate student to graduate assistant to teaching assistant, the thesis describes the steps along the way to teaching that many who have written about the subject leave out—how to negotiate the days before classes begin, what to do to appear older than the students themselves, how to create an interesting and creative syllabus. Once classes begin, instances involving student competition, peer review, responding to student essays and handling student excuses arise and are confronted and reflected upon by the author. In order to negotiate these instances, specific events that occurred in the author's classroom are used as examples. Added to these examples are insights from other instructors, pedagogical practices, scholarship from wise and experienced writers and teachers and suggestions on ways to handle such occurrences in the future. The author calls specifically for more conversation on the subjects that bear little scrutiny in the academic world—those events that embarrass, fail, intimidate and confuse. With more conversation on classroom problems of any kind, teachers might learn from one another's experiences and find new solutions. Moreover, new instructors will feel more comfortable with expressing concerns and realize that they are not alone in their fears about teaching. While each classroom is different and has its own set of circumstances, the insights offered by the author draw on myriad other teachers' experiences and proposals and are adaptable to many types of classrooms.


Creative Writing | Education | English Language and Literature