I'm the Teacher, You're the Student: A Semester in the University Classroom / Edition 1

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What is it really like to be a college professor in an American classroom today? An award-winning teacher with over twenty years of experience answers this question by offering an enlightening and entertaining behind-the-scenes view of a typical semester in his American history course. The unique result—part diary, part sustained reflection—recreates both the unstudied realities and intensely satisfying challenges that teachers encounter in university lecture halls.

From the initial selection of reading materials through the assignment of final grades to each student, Patrick Allitt reports with keen insight and humor on the rewards and frustrations of teaching students who often are unable to draw a distinction between the words "novel" and "book." Readers get to know members of the class, many of whom thrive while others struggle with assignments, plead for better grades, and weep over failures. Although Allitt finds much to admire in today's students, he laments their frequent lack of preparedness—students who arrive in his classroom without basic writing skills, unpracticed with reading assignments.

With sharp wit, a critical eye, and steady sympathy for both educators and students, I'm the Teacher, You're the Student examines issues both large and small, from the ethics of student-teacher relationships to how best to evaluate class participation and grade writing assignments. It offers invaluable guidance to those concerned with the state of higher education today, to young faculty facing the classroom for the first time, and to parents whose children are heading off to college.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
This charming book captures the author's reflections on teaching a U.S. history course to undergraduates at Emory University. With a friendly intimacy, he invites the reader into his classroom, offering a rare glimpse into one of the most closely guarded spaces of the academy. Course mechanics are presented sequentially, from preparing the syllabus to writing the final exam. Into this chronology the author weaves vignettes drawn from the classroom, relevant content from the subject matter to help frame his descriptions of the classes, and encounters with students in his office. An underlying theme is the effort to be helpful while keeping an appropriate distance from his students' personal lives. The true richness of this book comes from the generosity with which Allitt shares his thinking behind the ongoing process of evaluating and adjusting the course in response to the abilities and needs of the particular students while retaining his commitment to cover the full spectrum of content laid out in the syllabus. A wonderful model for anyone seeking guidance on the craft of teaching in higher education; highly recommended for academic libraries.-Jean Caspers, Linfield Coll., McMinnville, OR Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher

"An honest book, but not a bleak one. Allitt writes that he loves teaching and inevitably grows fond of his students over a term. Those feelings come through, as does his passion for American history. . . . Consistently engaging and enlightening."—Philadelphia Inquirer

"With a friendly intimacy, he invites the reader into his classroom, offering a rare glimpse into one of the most closely guarded spaces of the academy. . . . A wonderful model for anyone seeking guidance on the craft of teaching in higher education; highly recommended."—Library Journal

"A wonderful book. I heartily recommend it and tip my hat to the author."—Metromagazine

"A model for bridging the gap between being a teacher and a learner. It makes a significant contribution to the literature on teaching as a self-reflective model."—Teachers College Record

"Charming, and compelling."—Wall Street Journal

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780812218879
  • Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press, Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/30/2004
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 787,154
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Patrick Allitt is Professor of U.S. History at Emory University, where he holds the Arthur Blank Chair for Teaching Excellence. He supervises workshops for Emory faculty interested in improving effective teaching skills. His previous books include Religion in America Since 1945: A History and Catholic Converts: British and American Intellectuals Turn to Rome.
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Table of Contents

Ch. 1 The introductory course 1
Ch. 2 Getting ready 4
Ch. 3 Early class meetings 16
Ch. 4 The discussion and lecture routine 35
Ch. 5 Educators' excursions 53
Ch. 6 Technology and technique 70
Ch. 7 Papers and plagiarism 81
Ch. 8 Treats and tribulations 96
Ch. 9 Radicals and patriots 108
Ch. 10 The conscious professor 122
Ch. 11 Long dry spouts and levels unheard of 137
Ch. 12 Mid-term misconceptions 145
Ch. 13 A dry pleasure 157
Ch. 14 Vietnam as ancient history 171
Ch. 15 First drafts, draft dodgers, and deadlines 185
Ch. 16 From the Hitler-Stalin pack to the peace treat 202
Ch. 17 Inflated grades and sentiments 212
Ch. 18 Finals and farewells 225
App Syllabus, handouts, and exam answers 233
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