I'm the Teacher, You're the Student
A Semester in the University Classroom
"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
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.
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.