New to teaching? We've got you covered. The resources below are all designed to assist new GEL instructors as they learn about the program, design their first syllabus/lessons, and begin teaching.

GEL Handbook

Your best resource for all GEL-related matters is the File GEL Handbook In its pages, you will find information about the purpose of the GEL course, tips on how to build your syllabus, and various other resources. 

Sample Syllabi

It might seem like a challenge to make your first GEL syllabus if you're new to teaching. Remember that a GEL syllabus should include units on four genres (nonfiction, poetry, fiction, and drama), 

Below are a few sample syllabi that you can use as models as you build your own syllabus. Feel free to borrow and adapt from them, as needed.

PDF icon The Alienated Self and Other
PDF icon Crises and Catastrophes
PDF icon Reading and Writing out of Place
PDF icon Literature and Media
File Spring 2021 Syllabus-in-Common: History, Community, and the Making of our Moment

Sample Major Writing Assignments: Critical Analysis

File "A" Grade: Edna St. Vincent Millay
File "A" Grade: Nella Larsen
File "A" Grade: Nella Larsen (2)

Sample Major Writing Assignments: Creative

File "A" Grade: Shirley Jackson

Sample Major Writing Assignment Instructions

Coming soon!

Lesson Plans

Below you find a list of simple lesson plans that can help you get started.

The lesson plans gathered here are designed to be simple and easy-to-adapt so that you can implement them seamlessly in your GEL classroom. Feel free to take these templates and edit/adapt them to work for your course texts/themes!

File Close Reading for Literary Devices
File Characterization T-Chart Exercise
PDF icon Characterization Worksheet
File Fishbowl Exercise
File Narrative Voice Free Write Exercise
File Poetry: Reverse Interpretation


When will I be paid?
You will be paid on the first business day of the month, beginning September 1. If September 1 falls on a weekend or holiday, expect to see your paycheck reflected in your bank account on the next business day of the month. Each semester will consist of five equal payments. If you are teaching for the entire academic year, please note that your final paycheck will be deposited into your account on the first business day of June.

How much will I be paid?
Please refer to your signed contract for how much you can expect to be paid during the duration of your contract. It will be listed on the first page of your contract.

What are desk copies, and how can I get them?
Desk copies are your teaching copies of your textbooks. Each semester, first time GEL TAs will teach a text-in-common, which the English Department will provide for you. You will be responsible for obtaining the rest of your desk copies. Desk copies are complimentary from the company, and you should absolutely not pay for any desk copies as an instructor. Instead, please look at who published the textbooks you have chosen. The publishing companies will have webpages dedicated to desk copies requests, and you may make requests there. Please allow for six to eight weeks for shipping time due to the high volume of requests during the year.

I want to teach a book that is not on the GEL Book List. Can I still teach it?
The GEL program requests that for your first teaching semester you choose books that have been approved and are on the GEL book list. The textbook committee meets during the fall semester, and you may make textbook inquiries at that time.

I have a question about health insurance/taxes/benefits.
The GEL program can only answer the most basic questions regarding health insurance and benefits. If you have any questions, please contact the benefits office at: Please note that due to high volume, it may be 1-3 business days before you receive a response.

I have a question about my visa/immigration paperwork.
The Department of English and the GEL program cannot legally answer any questions related to immigration or visas. Should you have any questions about your visa or any other immigration-related status, we strongly encourage you to contact the International Students and Scholar Services at: Please note that due to high volume, it may be 1-3 business days before you receive a response.