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ERIC Number: EJ776661
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-May
Pages: 9
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0098-6291
Teaching without License: Outsider Perspectives on First-Year Writing
Myers, Janet C.; Kircher, Cassandra
Teaching English in the Two-Year College, v34 n4 p396-404 May 2007
Of interest to instructors of first-year writing, this paper delineates the challenges faced by professors of first-year writing who lack formal graduate training in composition and rhetoric, and it explores the strategy that enables them to become excellent teachers despite such challenges. The authors present three personal anecdotes that are illustrative of the types of challenges they face as first-year writing instructors who have come to the course without graduate training in composition and rhetoric. These challenges respectively illustrate the following: a lack of agency in determining whether or not they teach the course, whatever their desires; a lack of specialized vocabulary for communicating with their colleagues who have training in composition and rhetoric; and a lack of theoretical background in the field in which they are expected to teach. Because of these challenges, they have both experienced numerous instances such as those described in the anecdotes in which they have felt alienated by virtue of their status as outsiders. Fortunately, however, they have discovered that reliance on a twofold collaboration, one that involves both formal and informal strategies, may allow instructors like them who are "teaching without license" to overcome the challenges associated with what they often lack: a sense of agency with respect to the course; critical content knowledge, including a specialized vocabulary; and the time, energy, and inclination to garner and maintain an appropriately sophisticated theoretical foundation in the field. (Contains 4 notes.)
National Council of Teachers of English. 1111 West Kenyon Road, Urbana, IL 61801-1096. Tel: 877-369-6283; Tel: 217-328-3870; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Higher Education; Two Year Colleges
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A