Some of the responses to my last post got me thinking, especially one that asked for a book recommendation.
I understand the impulse, the desire to get one book with the answers, or at least a solid background. The thing is, composition studies is a huge field, and there's no book that's going to do that, any more than there's one book that will teach someone what they need to teach Shakespeare at the college level. And really, comp studies is a wider field than Shakespeare studies. I'm not even a comp specialist, just someone who tries to do my job, which includes about 50% comp teaching. (I did a certificate in teaching composition, way back when, which included 1 undergrad and 3 grad courses.)
But even if you asked a really great comp specialist, s/he'd have to know where you were starting.
Do you know about process research, for example? What do you know about brainstorming techniques, or responding effectively, or writing assignments, or any number of other things, because comp is just so huge.
That said, I do have a suggestion.
First, make yourself a list of things you think are important for teaching comp.
My list would include (with no attempt at parallel structures or anything, just brainstorming!):
What do I mean when I say "Writing well." What makes good writing?
What do my colleagues think counts as "good writing"?
Making effective assignments. (What do I mean by "effective" here?)
Making assignments that don't make me want to rip out my eyes.
Teaching writing processes for different learning styles.
Responding and grading effectively.
Organizing the flow of an assignment (readings, pre-writing, etc) over a period of time.
Organizing the flow of the course over the semester.
Helping students read effectively.
Helping students use outside information, ideas, materials ethically and effectively.
Making plagiarism so painfully difficult that students won't likely do it.
Figuring how much (if any) grammar stuff I need to teach my students (passive voice, dangling verbals, punctuating appositives, whatever)
How to help my students proofread.
Using short/informal writing effectively.
Figuring out how to use a textbook, if any, and choosing one (if I want).
Helping students read critically (especially other people's work).
Helping students revise.
Getting students to take revision seriously.
Second, use that list to make up a list of questions. For example, I might want to ask what the relationship is between reading students do in college and writing improvement.
Or maybe I want to ask how to organize a revision process into my syllabus.
Maybe I'm in a really practical mood and I want to learn how to respond more efficiently to student writing.
Once I have a good list, I'd prioritize. Figure out which answers are likely to help you most in your teaching.
Then, find someone on your campus, or from your old grad program, or at the R1 three hours drive away. On my campus, we have a writing person (well, there's a whole big fancy title) who's the only actual comp/rhet phud on campus, and she's friendly, so I chose her. At my former school, which was very tiny, I would have got together with a couple of the adjuncts who were friendly and great teachers. Now, I can also email a former student who's studying for a phud in comp/rhet. You should be able to find someone with more expertise than you have.
Then tell that person that you're working on teaching comp better, and that you'd really like to learn what's what about this question. What do they think? Can they recommend a resource (a book, an article or two, whatever) to help you learn more.
I've never had a comp person react negatively to my asking for help like this, or asking if what some specific thing I'd learned in my comp program was out of date now. BUT, I know that at some R1s, comp directors get abused a lot by TAs and others; they're treated really poorly. So, if you're at a place like that, make sure you approach the question with respect. On the other hand, if you're at a place like that, there are probably comp grad students, or grad students trying to teach comp, who are also trying to put things together, and you could try approaching them.