?

Log in

My Future as an MFA gradute - Writing MFA, Hopes and Hopefuls [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Writing MFA, Hopes and Hopefuls

[ userinfo | livejournal userinfo ]
[ archive | journal archive ]

My Future as an MFA gradute [Nov. 24th, 2008|12:20 am]
Writing MFA, Hopes and Hopefuls

writingmfa

[no_no_]
[mood |curiouscurious]

I've been looking into my future.

Three possibilities: Apply for fellowships, apply for random adjunct creative writing teaching positions (what are my odds with no publications?), apply to teach English in a foreign country (preferably somewhere tropical like coastal Colombia for example, do I need to know the language spoken in the country I teach in?).

I have loads of questions concerning all of these possibilities. Do any of you know anything about these? Have any of you had experience dealing with any of these? I'd be grateful for any advice.

Those of you who already have your MFA--what did you do once you graduated?

Thanks guys.
linkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: lind_saay
2008-11-24 01:11 pm (UTC)
Oh God, I don't want to have to think about this. I'm applying to MFA programs next fall and that's scary enough for me.

ESL -- You don't necessarily need to know the language that's spoken, especially since many countries have multiple languages and therefore not everyone speaks the same one. It is, of course, incredibly helpful. My friend is currently applying to be an English teacher in Japan -- he has very basic knowledge of the language (about what you would get from taking it in high school for a couple of years) but is by no means fluent.

Adjunct -- I go to one of the more prestigious of the SUNY schools (State University of New York) and a few of our adjuncts who teach Intro to Creative Writing don't have publications. I'd say you're much more likely to be hired to teach College Comp at a school like mine, or CW at a community college.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: no_no_
2008-11-25 08:10 am (UTC)
I'm thinking a community college. But I don't have much teaching experience either so I'm wondering what my odds are...

I know enough Spanish to get by--I spent some time in Colombia and Guatemala last winter. I know Asia is always looking for English teachers, but I'm thinking Central or South America.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: lind_saay
2008-11-25 02:57 pm (UTC)
Join the Peace Corps. There are a lot of resources available for Peace Corps volunteers, both during the commitment and after.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: no_no_
2008-11-28 09:23 pm (UTC)
Ha ha! Thanks for the suggestion, but as much as it would be nice to have relief of my loans, there are aspects of the Peace Corps I don't particularly like--like how much it ties you to the government and all that.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
From: sixcylinders
2008-11-24 02:32 pm (UTC)
Are you in your last year too?

I've received loads of advice from my profs about these things (we even had an "after the MFA" workshop) but some more specifics would be helpful--do you have experience teaching?
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: no_no_
2008-11-25 08:05 am (UTC)
I was a graduate assistant for a literature class and an intern for a creative writing class. I didn't teach the classes. It was more like shadowing the professors, grading papers, filling in when needed, etc. I wasn't interested in teaching Freshman Comp so I never applied for a TA position. So...not much teaching experience at all.

I do plan to talk with my adviser. I also like hearing what people out there have to say, what experiences they've had and whatnot.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
From: sixcylinders
2008-11-25 02:44 pm (UTC)
Aw, that sort of sucks. One of the things I like about my prog is that we get plenty of teaching experience (I'll have taught five classes by the time I'm done).

Despite your distaste for teaching comp, that's your best bet for getting adjunct positions. Everyone I've known who has adjunct has usually cobbled their career together out of teaching comp courses. Even tenure track jobs at community colleges (even sometimes at universities) often require that you teach comp. The problem with teaching at CCs is the heavy classload you'll have--most I've seen advertised are 4/4, with at least half of those in comp. The chances of getting a tenure-track job without publications at a non-community college are really, really slim.

I don't know what the situation is for someone without teaching experience, but we were told that many graduates of our program go on to teach in prep or boarding schools. They don't pay as well as public high school jobs but you usually get free room & board and there's a high rate of job satisfaction. You'd get these jobs by going through placement services, usually.

One thing I'd keep in mind is that there's really no reason to settle for part time/retail work with an MFA. After all, an undergraduate English degree qualified me for an office job with benefits, at least. It was soulless, but I had the time an energy to write both in and out of work. A lot of my former classmates have gone back to jobs they had before they were here. I can't think of anyone who's working retail or, say, doesn't have health benefits, so it's not that dire. Anyway, good luck!
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: no_no_
2008-11-28 09:28 pm (UTC)
Thanks. Yeah, I figured the adjunct teaching thing was a long shot, but there are other options in using my degree (fellowships and teaching English in another country). I do want to get certified to teach yoga and set up shop somewhere too--it just might happen sooner than I planned.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]From: no_no_
2008-11-25 08:07 am (UTC)
Oh man... I'm trying to run from jobs like that.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: sibyline
2008-11-25 12:37 am (UTC)
i'm getting my phd. :) hurrah academia....
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: no_no_
2008-11-25 08:11 am (UTC)
...not sure I really want to go in that direction, but is certainly in an option.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: franklymydear
2008-11-25 03:57 am (UTC)
I taught English in Japan for a year after I graduated (with a creative writing BA)! I went with one of those private chain-school companies, and only needed to have a bachelor's degree and a birth certificate, basically. But I wish I had done a CELTA or some kind of ESL teacher training course beforehand, because the company was too corporate and McDonald's English for my personality and I felt as if I was pretty much going in cold. Were I doing it differently, I would have tried to be a JET (teaching in the public school system) or a smaller program, but you pretty much need some certification to get in a good one, I found anyway.

But it was an awesome experience, got to travel a lot, got paid a comfortable salary for someone who doesn't have expensive tastes or massive debt, and definitely wouldn't trade it.

Also, most people who are teaching English in Southeast Asia never pick up the native language and don't have huge difficulties because of it, though it can make things awkward making travel arrangements and trying to experience the country instead of just the expat culture.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: no_no_
2008-11-25 08:06 am (UTC)
Thanks!
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
From: sixcylinders
2008-11-25 02:45 pm (UTC)
you pretty much need some certification to get in a good one

I've known two people who taught with JET, and neither had certification of any kind.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)