I am currently a graduate student, who will (hopefully!) graduate in the next year (or two..). I have slowly come to realize that I enjoy teaching, and consequently want to do more of it! My main reasons are such:

  • to gain experience
  • to bolster my CV
  • to learn to be a better teacher

That last point is particularly important to me, because I feel I have received insufficient training in how to teach mathematics well.

Now, I have done the usual TA thing. For the past year, I have also been an adjunct instructor at a local four-year college, so I pretty much know what it's like to be "fully responsible" for a course. What I am looking for are challenging opportunities which allow me to do some - or all - of the following:

  • teach fairly sophisticated math to bright high school students / undergraduates
  • engage them in innovative thinking/research
  • be consistently mentored/evaluated throughout the duration of this experience

Again, the last point is rather important to me. So my question is:

Do such programs exist?

I am sure they do, but when Googling, I invariably come up with graduate summer schools, or "local" opportunities. (By "local" here, I mean those which are only eligible to students in that particular school's graduate program.) So I am hoping someone (or several people) here know more about it than Google does.

I know that most opportunities for this summer have probably already expired, but I want to stress I am not only focused on summer sessions. In particular, I would gladly forego my usual TA appointment for a semester, to be a part of a more difficult and rewarding experience somewhere else.

Finally, I am on the fence about whether this question should be CW or not; as of now, it isn't. If people feel it should be, I will change it.

Thanks in advance.


closed as off-topic by Joseph Van Name, Alexandre Eremenko, Mark Wildon, Dima Pasechnik, Kimball Mar 26 at 1:30

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "This question does not appear to be about research level mathematics within the scope defined in the help center." – Joseph Van Name, Alexandre Eremenko, Mark Wildon, Dima Pasechnik, Kimball
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • $\begingroup$ I think this is a good question in the wrong place. My (very limited) view of the world says that most programs that are trying to encourage or motivate young students do not have mentors for the teachers as well. I suggest you contact people who conduct excellence in math programs, and also contact successful teachers of such students, and ask them if there is any overlap. Also ask if they would be willing to mentor you. You may get some response here, but I think you can find a better forum for this. Gerhard "Ask Me About System Design" Paseman, 2012.03.27 $\endgroup$ – Gerhard Paseman Mar 27 '12 at 16:33
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    $\begingroup$ If you are aware of a forum better suited for this question, please let me know. As it stands, I believe this is the best place to ask this question. For if I was aware of programs with mentoring, etc. in the first place, I wouldn't have asked the question! $\endgroup$ – Steve D Mar 27 '12 at 16:42
  • $\begingroup$ This should be a CW question since there is no right answer. $\endgroup$ – Benjamin Steinberg Mar 27 '12 at 19:18
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    $\begingroup$ I think this question is better asked at academia.stackexchange.com $\endgroup$ – Joel Reyes Noche Mar 28 '12 at 0:54
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    $\begingroup$ Thanks Joel, I did not know about that site. I have crossposted it there: academia.stackexchange.com/questions/918/… However I still think there can be good answers here. On the other hand, 3 anonymous people have voted to close this question already, so let's see how long it lasts. $\endgroup$ – Steve D Mar 28 '12 at 2:17

Many small liberal arts undergraduate colleges in the US have temporary adjunct positions often or usually filled by new Ph.D.s. These colleges generally focus more attention on teaching than do research universities, and consequently have infrastructure for mentoring and improving teaching. Many have special fellowships whose goal is specifically to mentor young postdocs interested in a teaching career. At my school, these fellowships require teaching only six courses over a three-year appointment, a generous arrangement.

The US National Postdoctoral Association maintains a list of such teaching fellowships, although I am uncertain of its comprehensiveness. One can also find specific school fellowships by web-searching "postdoctoral teaching fellowships in mathematics."

I suspect analogous summer teaching opportunities would be less useful in terms of development, but perhaps(?) easier to secure. There are many summer math programs for high-schools students; teaching at one of these would be quite enjoyable. I can only mention examples (again, in the US) rather than point you to a comprehensive list: Hampshire College Summer Studies in Mathematics, Cornell Summer Math Institute Awesome Math at Cornell/UTDallas/UCSantaCruz, Berkeley Math Path Summer Camp, Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth, etc.

  • $\begingroup$ Cornell's SMI is an amazing program, but it is targeted at students preparing for graduate school. The age range is comparable to an REU (or even a year older). $\endgroup$ – Matt Noonan Mar 27 '12 at 20:08
  • $\begingroup$ @Matt: Thanks for the correction, I meant "Awesome Math," which I now see is at UTDallas, UC Santa Cruz, and Cornell. $\endgroup$ – Joseph O'Rourke Mar 27 '12 at 20:40
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    $\begingroup$ Thank you for the wonderful answer! The National Postdoctoral Association seems to be almost exactly what I was searching for. $\endgroup$ – Steve D Mar 28 '12 at 0:24
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    $\begingroup$ I've talked to several people who had the opportunity to take part in REUs as grad students. They all seemed to find it a valuable and fairly unique experience. $\endgroup$ – Thierry Zell Mar 28 '12 at 0:31
  • $\begingroup$ @Thiery: Is it common for grad students from other institutions to participate in REUs? So someone from Michigan can be a part of an REU in Minnesota? $\endgroup$ – Steve D Mar 28 '12 at 2:18

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