Department of English Statement of Support for Non-Tenure-Track Faculty

On April 12, 2016, the University of Illinois Department of English issued the following statement in support of our non-tenure track colleagues:

We, the faculty of the Department of English at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, in continuity with resolutions we have passed in previous years, call upon the university administration to bargain in good faith with the Non Tenure Faculty-Coalition and agree to a contract along the lines that the NTFC has proposed. We believe that agreeing to such a contract is essential to maintaining and improving undergraduate education. Because our non tenure faculty are indispensable to the university’s commitment to excellent teaching and research, we express our support for the NTFC, including our support for the right ofnon tenure faculty to participate in a lawful work action without retaliation.

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More Alternative Paths to the Classroom

Ipic-circlesn October, we had a post on Alternative Paths to the Classroom giving information and deadlines on programs like Teach for America and City Year.  Another program, Bard MAT Los Angeles, is advertising directly on I-Link with an early action deadline of January 15 (they will continue accepting applications until March 15).  According to the website,

The Bard MAT in Los Angeles is a community-based credentialing and degree program offering advanced study in pedagogy and academic disciplines, close faculty mentoring, and support for new or early career educators who accept employment or service opportunities in California schools or community organizations. This two-year program includes a 14-month pathway that awards a credential in Social Studies, English, Science, or Math prior to the start of the second year.

For people who have decided late in their college career that they want to go into teaching, or who decided to delay getting a teaching credential until after graduation, programs like this provide a path to a career in education.

For those who are ONLY considering programs like this because they don’t have any better ideas, it’s an arduous and soul-draining path to a paycheck. Come talk to me about possible alternatives when you get back to campus: kwilcox@illinois.edu.

Alternative Paths to a Job in the Classroom: Why and Why Not?

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If you chose NOT to major in Teaching of English, and you’re now second-guessing that decision as graduation looms, several organizations can give you another path to a teaching job: an intensive summer-long training, followed by placement in a school for the fall. There is a competitive and lengthy application process for these programs.

Teach for America is advertising its Oct. 30 application deadline in signs around the English building, and the local chapter is holding recruiting events this fall.

The Indianapolis Teaching Fellows Program just emailed us to encourage us to tell students about their Nov. 9 deadline.

City Year Chicago, associated with Americorps, does not recruit as aggressively as TFA, but it’s a similar program with a Nov. 15 deadline.

Programs like these are controversial.  Detractors say that the quick training they offer cannot adequately take the place of standard credentialing and that placing under-trained teachers in classrooms further undermines the low-income schools and communities such programs are meant to serve. Supporters say that these programs serve a real need in bringing excellent teachers to the schools that need them.

Before you commit your time and energy to the application process, research the particular program that interests you and know both sides of the debate. As you should in any job search, use glassdoor.com, LinkedIn, and your own network to learn as much as you can about the organization.  Talk to classroom teachers and find out what they think.

Assess yourself, as well.  Teaching can be rewarding, but it is also grueling and all-consuming.  If your long-term plans don’t include working in the education field (that is, if you’re only considering these programs because you don’t have many other ideas), there are easier ways to earn an income while figuring out what you want to do next.  Make an appointment with Kirstin Wilcox, Director of Internships, at 333-4346 to discuss your options.