Graduate Student Employment: Assistant Instructorships and Teaching Assistantships
Lower Division Language Program: German
The Department of Germanic Studies at the University of Texas at Austin is highly committed to the professional development of its graduate instructors. During their career at UT, these instructors are thoroughly prepared to teach lower-division language courses, and may also apply to teach content courses as well.
Due to Texas legislation, graduate instructors working towards their masters’ degrees work as teaching assistants (TAs), apprentices for the assistant instructors (AIs, doctoral students). This is a unique opportunity for graduate instructors to learn from experienced teachers and explore their classroom personae at leisure while they are also adjusting to the demands of their advanced studies.
In order to prepare TAs and AIs for lower division language teaching, an intensive, week-long orientation program – run by the language program coordinator with presentations by advanced graduate instructors – introduces the objectives of the UT German language program and provides hands-on training in lesson planning, materials development and classroom management. During the academic year, bi-weekly coordination meetings are held, in which groups of instructors of each level of language teaching collaboratively design the content and grading of exams and discuss issues related to language teaching. These meetings ensure that the language program is coherent and allow the graduate instructors to have an active and regular voice in its administration.
Qualified graduate instructors may also serve as course coordinators who are in charge of a level of instruction for one or two semesters. This provides added experience in syllabus design, TA supervision, test development and program administration.
UT offers further unique pedagogical experience to its assistant instructors (doctoral students). AIs are very much encouraged to design content courses that relate to any area within Germanic studies for a freshman, general education audience. The instructors work closely with a faculty mentor to finalize the plans for the course (e.g., design the syllabus, select the appropriate texts, prepare lectures or presentations, classroom activities, etc.). This faculty mentor also visits the graduate instructor while the course is being offered, in part to offer suggestions for improvement, and in part to be able to address the AI’s teaching in subsequent recommendation letters. This practice distinguishes UT's AIs from those at other institutions who do not have the opportunity to teach their own content courses.
As an alternative to submitting ideas for courses that the AI designs, several syllabi for courses that have been successfully taught before are also readily available for interested AIs (e.g., Movies Go To War, Bad Blood, Bad Boy Brecht, History of American and European Detective Fiction, Texas-German Dialects, etc.).
The faculty's support for our graduate instructors is not limited to preparing them to teach in our program. Faculty mentors continue to work with AIs and TAs when they enter the job market, helping them compile strong teaching dossiers, and prepare model lessons for on-campus interviews. These mentoring relationships often extend beyond the students’ graduate years, as the Department's faculty members share their expertise and guidance even after the candidates begin their independent teaching careers elsewhere.
Lower Division Language Program: Other Germanic Languages
In addition to German, the department of Germanic Studies also offers teaching positions in Swedish, Norwegian and Dutch. These languages are taught in the accelerated sequence (604 and 612) and only AI positions are available for these languages.
Applying for a Graduate Instructor Position
Graduate students in the Department of Germanic Studies are considered for graduate instructor positions as part of the admissions process.
Graduate students from other departments interested in teaching either German, Swedish, Norwegian or Dutch are welcome to apply for the positions. Applications are accepted year round, and decisions are made according to available positions prior to each semester. You will receive notification as soon as decisions are made.
Please see here for eligibility requirements for AIs and TAs, as required by the Office of Graduate Studies (http://www.utexas.edu/ogs/employment/conditions.html).
To apply for an AI or a TA position, please submit the following materials via email, by mail or in person to Abby Black, Graduate Coordinator (email@example.com, 232-6354):
- Application Form
- Statement of Intent (one-page)
- Three Letters of Recommendation (references may send letters directly to the Graduate Coordinator)
- Teaching Evaluations, if available.
Salary and Benefits
Salary for AIs and TAs may change yearly. Information is available from the Human Resource Services (HRS) website (http://www.utexas.edu/hr/student/compensation.html).
Both 20-hour AIs and TAs are eligible for out-of-state tuition waivers and tuition assistance for resident tuition, as well as health insurance (http://www.utexas.edu/ogs/employment/tuition/).
For more information, please visit this Human Resource Service page (http://www.utexas.edu/hr/student/student_empl_benefits.html).
For questions, please contact Abby Black.