I have extensive experience teaching both within the university and outside of it. I have six years of experience as a Graduate Student Instructor at UC Berkeley, where I received an Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award in 2021 as well as the Certificate of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. I’ve taught sections for a wide variety of courses, from Intro to Sociology and Intro Methods to upper level courses including both those focused on particular topic areas (i.e. Urban Sociology or Sexual Cultures) and the department’s year long Introduction to Sociological Theory.

I also have experience in more independent teaching and course design. In 2020-2021, I twice taught a new writing course offered alongside Sociological Theory. This gave me a chance to collaborate on a new writing-skills curriculum and to focus on close one-on-one work with students in a way which time constraints make difficult in other teaching roles. And in Fall 2021, I was selected to teach my own seminar, “Polarization in Context” (syllabus), which tries to engage three questions: 1) what does “polarization” mean sociologically? 2) why and how does it matter? and 3) how do our answers to the first two questions change our understanding of current events and public discourse?

Outside the university, my experience has been very much at the extremes of scale: on the one hand, I worked as a freelance tutor for other graduate students, helping them not only with individual papers and assignments, but also with scheduling and workload planning. On the other hand, I was a writer for the educational YouTube series Crash Course: Sociology. Working with another writer, an editor, and a consultant, I not only wrote individual episodes, but helped make larger decisions about the overall curriculum the series covered. The series had tremendous reach (the first episode now has over 2 million views), and succeeded in translating complicated sociological concepts into everyday language.

In all these cases, the philosophy underlying my work remains the same: I work to meet students where they are and, as much as possible, find a way for each individual to meet the particular challenges facing them. Whether that means working with a student on reading skills, helping them to grasp course concepts, pushing them to take their work to the next level, or instead looking at a whole course and ensuring that it makes what is exciting, important, and interesting about sociology accessible.

© 2024 Steven Lauterwasser

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