Education YouTuber & Blogger | English Studies PhD

A College Instructor’s Teaching Tips Blog (Finding My Niche)

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Blog 2.0: “College Life: Instructor Edition”

Are you one of the people described below?

You’re a grad student who (a) just received a teaching assistantship (a.k.a. GTA) but don’t have a lot of experience designing/teaching courses or (b) is swamped with course work and other student responsibilities and can’t find tons of time to work on course design and resource research.

You’re an adjunct who is (a) new to teaching or (b) bogged down with too many responsibilities that keep you from taking the time to work on course design and resource research.

You’re a college professor who is (a) looking for new teaching ideas, tools, and/or resources or (b) interested in learning more about what other instructors are doing in their classrooms.

If you fall into one or more of the categories above, the recent and future content of my blog is for you!

Important Update: If you’re a new college instructor, there’s a free 60+ page workbook you can download that helps guide you through the process of creating your syllabus, course schedule, major assignment sheets, and more.

I invite you to read below about the journey I’ve taken with my blog so far and find out more about where it’s going next. [Below, I’ve bolded the information on what you’ll see on my blog going forward, in case you’re not interested in reading about the journey to get there.] While I teach English Studies courses (freshman composition, children’s and young adult literary adaptations, ya literature, children’s literature), most of my future course design posts won’t focus solely on English college courses, but designing college courses in general. So, though English department GTAs, adjuncts, and professors will find my blog posts as a whole most directly relevant in content to their experiences and desires/needs, other college instructors outside this department can benefit from my content that’s not specific to this academic area (here are a couple examples already on my blog: link and link).

If you’re interested in my blog’s niche, I suggest subscribing to my blog, so that you don’t miss out on any new content.

If you’d rather watch videos about teaching-related topics instead of reading blog posts, I also have a YouTube channel that goes alongside this blog. Here’s an example of the types of videos I create for my channel:

Where I Started and Where I’m Going

I created my website in August 2017 because I wanted to make sure that I had a strong, professional digital presence before I entered the academic job market. I wasn’t going to enter the market immediately after setting it up. Rather, I created it once I neared the end of my PhD comprehensive exams, so that I would have ample time to work out any issues with my website before entering the market.

I also started a blog when I created my website, because I wanted to make sure I had a more personal element to my site. Rather than just a place to list my various academic experiences and accomplishments, I wanted my site to include a section where I could make my voice heard and share what I was interested in as a student, teacher, and overall individual. I’ve learned a lot about maintaining a website and blog since I started this site, and now that I have more experience and am almost ready to go on the market, I’ve realized what I want for my blog and for my blog readers going forward.

In the past year, I’ve finished my exams, defended my dissertation proposal, and started writing my dissertation chapters. If I had to state my dissertation argument in one sentence, it’d be as follows: “Children’s and young adult literary texts are particularly pedagogically valuable when teaching concepts across various English Studies fields and therefore should be included in English college courses outside those that specifically focus on these two literary categories.” My area of specialization is children’s and young adult literature, and I love the courses I’ve taken on this subject as an undergrad and graduate student. The lack of these texts in courses outside the specialization (courses like rhetoric, composition, linguistics, TESOL, creative writing, etc.) is a big issue for me, as I can see how much my undergraduate students gain from reading, analyzing, and sometimes even writing, children’s and young adult texts.

My academic passion definitely stems from teaching rather than research, so it’s hardly surprising that my research argument is pedagogical in nature. But, while I’ll have plenty of pages to fill when writing my dissertation, I also want a less academic outlet for writing about and discussing pedagogical practices, resources, experiences, etc. Here, then, I’ve finally found what I want for my blog’s niche. Rather than simply posting about random topics connected to my experiences as a reader, writer, teacher, student, fan, I am going to narrow down my focus to posts about course and class activity designs (example), experiences with assigning specific activities (example), texts that I feel would fit well in the classroom (example), tools and resources that work well for teaching, assessing, and organizing (example and example), and more. As other types of related content are suggested/requested via any post discussions, these ideas will also be incorporated in future posts. My posting schedule will continue its pace of every-other Friday.

Note: Next week’s blog post is a follow-up to the back-to-school series I wrote last August. While those posts were written largely with college students in mind, there’s still plenty of tips relevant to college instructors in those posts and my follow-up. My second back-to-school post this year will be targeted to college instructors, though, and it will mark the official beginning of my blog 2.0 (though my posts this summer and some in the past are already in keeping with this focus, as is evident from all the links above).

New to Designing and Teaching College Courses?

Here’s a blog post series and video series that can help you with the following tasks:

There’s a free workbook that goes alongside the series. It’s in my resource library, along with over a dozen other free resources that you can download.

Here’s the introductory video for the series:

Final Thoughts

I’m excited by this next stage in my blogging journey and I’m hoping that a College Life: Instructor Edition community will form here via the comment sections below each post. I hope you’ll join me on this new journey if you are a current or future college instructor (or if you’re just interested in the content). If you want to make sure you don’t miss any future posts, remember to subscribe to receive email notifications. I look forward to sharing my teaching insights with you and learning from you in return. [I’m in my early years of teaching, so I still have plenty to learn from other instructors!]

>>If you want to make sure you don’t miss any future content on my blog, here’s the link to subscribe to my blog’s email newsletter. As a subscriber, you’ll receive access to my resources library, which includes all my blog-related PDFs.<< 

Comment Below: What content are you most interested in seeing on my blog: course design guidelines, assignment ideas/experiences, teaching tools and resources, or book reviews?

Looking for a blog that's about teaching tips, tools, ideas, and resources for new college instructors? You've found it! There's even a free resource library for you to explore and download from! #education #highered



  1. cynthia jones

    Great video on small group ideas!

    • Erika Romero

      Thanks! Small groups are such a great way to get students engaged with the material.

      • cynthia jones

        May I ask whether you upgraded to a paid Kahoot account in order to access the poll feature that you mentioned in your Class Discussion You Tube video? I tried one in preparing for the first day of class and was unable to create and save it on my free account.

        • Erika Romero

          I only have a free account for Kahoot. I signed in, used the survey feature to create the activity, and saved it for later use. Once I sign in to my account, I see it under “My Kahoots.”

  2. College Planning

    Thank you for sharing this informative article about Education. I hope there are a lot of educators who could read this and be guided.

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