Lindsay Johnson - Success Story
Throughout the graduate program at Salisbury University, I have had the opportunity to work with enthusiastic professors and students who created a strong foundation and point of departure for my future career as an English teacher. The First Year Writing Program, headed by director Dr. Loren Marquez, focuses on improving the standards and program to benefit all students. As
Dr. Marquez’s assistant this year, I helped to prepare teaching assistant (TA) training sessions, lead instructional meetings and develop classroom materials. The encouragement of our director and the support of other professors to the First Year Writing Course provide opportunities for new instructors’ growth and learning in the classroom. Many faculty members, such as the director of the Writing Center, library instructors and English professors, come together in order to not only benefit those participating in the TA program but also every student as they navigate through English 103 at Salisbury University.
To benefit my future career goals, I participated in a practicum as a graduate student that allowed me to prepare lessons and teach in an upper-level literature classroom with the guidance of Dr. Gary Harrington. The course, American Southern Writers, focuses on prominent literary figures from the 20th-century American South. My involvement in the class centered on preparing lessons constructed through a combination of lectures and discussions for authors such as Zora Neale Hurston, Flannery O’Connor, Richard Wright and Tennessee Williams. The process of creating lessons, teaching in the classroom and working with Dr. Harrington instilled me with more confidence and experience; it also strengthened my personal abilities as an instructor.
The teaching assistantship and practicum provided irreplaceable hands-on experience not only teaching in front of students but also interacting with students as their instructor. After the completion of my master’s degree and with all of the experience I have gained while working at Salisbury, I plan to continue working at the collegiate level. I will apply for adjunct positions or administrative jobs that focus on first year writing and writing in the college setting. The instruction and leadership in Salisbury University’s English Department and First Year Writing Program encourage TAs to balance their time as both students and instructors. The invaluable experience of shifting between these positions impacted my understanding of what the teaching and writing processes should look like in a classroom to create an atmosphere for knowledge making.