In a recent guest post on Daily Nous, a news website for and about the philosophy profession, Mercy Corredor ’15 wrote about the value of apprenticeships for graduate students planning to teach.
In “A Plea for More Teaching Apprenticeships,” Corredor noted that more is needed than simply “caring enough to put in the hard work and thoughtfulness that is necessary (if not sufficient)” in order to achieve teaching excellence.
“Good teaching is not just about caring. One can care plenty and not yet have acquired the right habits and grace…that allow one to feel at ease in the classroom and which are conducive to student-learning,” she said.
For those to whom these things do not come naturally, Corredor thinks observing excellent models, “up close and personal,” is essential. She pointed to the Hamilton College Summer Program in Philosophy (HCSPiP), directed by Associate Professor of Philosophy Russell Marcus, as one way to have such an experience.
Corredor, who is currently completing her Ph.D. in philosophy at the University of Michigan, was a graduate student apprentice in the program last summer, working with Ann Cahill of Elon University. “Working for an instructor [as a TA, for example] is worlds apart from working with an instructor with the aim of learning about the practice of teaching,” Corredor said.
In co-teaching with an experienced teacher, Corredor wrote, “each member of the dynamic has a distinct set of skills and perspectives that each can learn from.” She hopes that more apprenticeship programs such as HCSPiP will be made available, to the benefit of both graduate students and professors.
“Spending two weeks serving as an apprentice worked wonders for my teaching ability, comfort, and, above all, my passion for teaching. I suspect it would do the same for many others too,” she concluded.
Corredor plans to serve as the assistant director of HCSPiP next summer.