New TA Q&A

CATEGORIES: Foundation Courses
TJ Benson
Ellis Deputy











TJ Benson, MFA, CWE

Ellis Deputy, MA, ENGL

What do you wish your students knew about you? 

TJ: That I learn from them as well.
Ellis: I try to tell my students this, but I hope they know that I’m on their team and want them to succeed.


What one word would your students use to describe you? 

TJ: My students would describe me as ‘eclectic’. I am always pulling references from different fields in my classes.
Ellis: Supportive


What’s something your students have taught you this semester? 

TJ: My students have taught me patience.
Ellis: My students taught me that I’m actually a pretty capable teacher after all, despite what my stupid brain says.


What one teaching tool will we always find you with? 

TJ: Reverse Outlining samples of a new genre I am introducing to the students.
Ellis: I’m always carrying a notebook with detailed lesson plans in it.


If you could share one sentence of advice with newer teachers, what would it be? 

TJ: Trust the intelligence of your students.
Ellis: I’d advise them to not be so hard on themselves. Your students are smart and eager to learn and so are you!


What’s something you are passionate about (outside of ISUCOMM)? 

TJ: Music.
Ellis: I’m passionate about web accessibility and baking the perfect cheesecake.


What are you excited to teach in 150/250? 

TJ: Multimodal Argument Design.
Ellis: I’m excited to teach The Snack Persuasion, a multi-day epic snack rhetorical battle between students. One argument will reign supreme. One snack will emerge victorious. There might even be a smear campaign. We’ll see.


What is your most frequently used emoji?  

TJ: 😌
Ellis: 🫶


If you had your own late-night talk show, who would you invite as your first guest? 

TJ: I would invite June Jordan.
Ellis: I probably wouldn’t have a late-night talk show. If I found myself in a situation in which I either had to have a late-night talk show or face a slow and painful death, I would probably invite one of my cats as a guest.


If you had to sing karaoke, what song would you pick?  

TJ: ‘Yes and’ by Ariana Grande.
Ellis: Most of the songs I know are not in English. I sing, but those songs aren’t particularly karaoke-friendly. I’d probably panic and pick something like Happy Birthday.