VIII. Teaching Fellowships

Teaching fellowships are part of the financial package offered to all students in GSAS and offer crucial experience in one’s graduate career. EALC and HEAL PhD students are guaranteed three semesters of teaching in the G3 and G4 years. There are also many teaching opportunities for students in the G5 and higher years. Teaching fellows (TFs) teach part-time (nominally 16 hours per week) as part of their progress toward the doctorate degree. They ordinarily must be full-time, resident students and be in satisfactory standing. The University and the Department place great emphasis on proper training before a student goes into the classroom. In addition to guidance provided by the instructor in a course, teaching is supervised and regularly evaluated by the faculty and staff at the Bok Center. Please refer to the GSAS Handbook or the Department’s own TF Handbook for more information (see below).

Applying for a Teaching Fellowship

All students in satisfactory standing in the G3 year or higher are eligible to apply for a position as a Teaching Fellow (TF). In March or April, the Graduate Coordinator will distribute the applications and will include the deadline for receipt of applications. On the application form, students are asked to indicate their qualifications and experience. Courses available for teaching fellows may be department courses, courses in the General Education curricula, or in the Department's Undergraduate program. The Tutorial positions offer the opportunity for intensive one-on-one or small-group interaction with undergraduate concentrators in East Asian Studies, including advising writers of junior and senior theses. While the Tutorial is separate from regular TF positions, there is a joint TF/Tutorial application. Completed applications are reviewed by the Graduate Program Committee, which makes provisional assignments of teaching fellowships. Instructors are notified and asked to confirm assignments for their courses. Once assignments have been confirmed, students receive a formal offer letter from the Department.

While ideally students are assigned to teach in courses close to their area of specialization, it sometimes happens that a teaching assignment is made outside that “comfort zone.” There are advantages and disadvantages to pushing one’s limits in this way. If you are unsure about your suitability to teach in a certain course, feel free to contact the professor. If you anticipate wanting to teach for a professor at some point in the future, you should also feel free to contact the professor early on to express your interest. Bear in mind that the final decision on teaching assignments must be approved by the instructor in the course and that some professors may prefer to hire students whom they have taught in a seminar or other course.

Other Teaching Opportunities

It is sometimes possible for students to be hired as TFs in language courses, most commonly in the Chinese program, where it is an important source of opportunities. Native and non-native speakers alike are welcome to apply. Only applicants who have received a passing grade in Chinese Linguistics 200, Introduction to Teaching Modern Chinese Language, will be considered. Applications for teaching classical or literary Chinese (wenyan) should be made to the Preceptor in Classical Chinese. Additionally, qualified students in advanced years may be considered to teach Manchu A/B, Mongolian A/B, or Uyghur A/B in years when those courses are offered. Interested students should contact Professor Mark Elliott.

In searching for TF positions, do not forget to look outside the Department. EALC and HEAL students often find employment teaching in other departments or for non-EALC faculty in the General Education curriculum. By the same token, the Department welcomes applications from qualified students in other programs. Among recent EALC TFs have been PhD students in History, Religion, Inner Asian and Altaic Studies, and Sanskrit and Indian Studies. RSEA students are not normally hired as TFs.

Teacher Training and the EALC Teaching Practicum

Learning to teach is an integral part of graduate training, and the Department takes great pride in the quality of the instruction provided by its graduate students. Ample campus resources are provided for pedagogical training of all sorts.

Teaching Fellow (TF) training Harvard-wide is expertly handled and evaluated by the faculty and staff at the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning. The Bok Center has a wide array of programs and publications, many of which are available online. Attendance at the Bok Center Fall Teaching Conference at the start of the academic year is required of all new TFs. In addition to the Fall Teaching Conference, the Bok Center runs seminars for GSAS graduate students on a variety of topics, including leading classroom discussions and teaching portfolios, as well as seminars aimed at international students who have not taught before in American classrooms.


EALC additionally participates in the Pedagogy Fellows program with the Bok Center, employing one graduate student each year to serve as the EALC Pedagogy Fellow. The Pedagogy Fellow receives additional pedagogical training through the Bok Center and works to support the teaching work of other TFs in the department. The Pedagogy Fellow, together with the Director of Graduate Studies and other faculty members, organize and teach the EALC Teaching Practicum (EASTD 304), a course intended for graduate students who are first-time teachers. The Practicum covers both teaching and professional development, introducing topics such as managing the classroom, effective grading and feedback methods, as well as how to balance teaching with research. The course is primarily intended for students currently in the fall semester of their G3 year, although G2 students are also welcome to enroll in the course.