Bookquick/“I’m the Teacher, You’re the Student: A Semester in the University Classroom”

What is it really like to be a college professor in an American classroom today? An award-winning teacher with more than 20 years of experience answers this question with an enlightening and entertaining behind-the-scenes view of a typical semester in his American history course. The result—part diary, part sustained reflection—recreates both the unstudied realities and intensely satisfying challenges that teachers encounter in university lecture halls.

From the selection of reading materials through the assignment of final grades, Patrick Allitt reports with insight and humor on the rewards and frustrations of teaching students who often are unable to distinguish 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.

With sharp wit, a critical eye and 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 evaluating class participation and grading writing assignments.

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

—University of Pennsylvania Press

Originally published on September 9, 2004