Date: Wed, 25 Mar 1998 21:54:45 -0500
From: "Bethany K. Dumas" dumasb[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]UTK.EDU
Subject: Teaching freshman comp

On Wed, 25 Mar 1998, frank abate wasked re freshman comp:

What's all that tuition for if not to get some of those highly skilled
people to actually
teach my kids? And why not freshman comp? There are few more valuable
life skills
than being able to write clearly, confidently, and gracefully.

It's a complex problem. I think it is true, as Lynne Murphy suggested,
that "almost none of us are actually qualified to teach freshman comp."
Further, to pay professor's salaries to teachers of freshman comp when
TA's, adjuncts, and instructors are so much less expensive does not seem
to make economic sense to very many people.

The fact is that you can't get TA's, adjuncts, and instructors to teach
advanced seminars in Milton, etc.

That's part of the rationale. Unfortunately, snobbery comes in, also,
probably because some of us who now teach advanced seminars in Milton or
680 seminars in discourse analysis, etc. served our time teaching 3-4-5
sections of freshman English at a time back wehn we weren't making much
money. I actually taught a 15-hour course load at one time, and two of
the sections were always comp.

That was not a good use of whatever talent and training I have. It is
simply not possible to teach 4-5 courses and do anything else at all.

Why don't we talk about what we think the high schools should be doing
that they are not? And why they are not doing it. Arguably, universities
should not have to be in the business of teaching native speakers of
American English to write English.