Heartburn in Hoboken writes:
I'm trying to decide between the fiction programs at Michigan and Johns Hopkins. Both schools offered me full financial support and a fellowship. At Michigan I don't have to teach the first year, but at Hopkins I have to start teaching (not TA-ing) immediately. I have no teaching experience.
--Would teaching seriously detract from my writing time?
--How much importance should you give teaching responsibilities in choosing an MFA program?
HiH, I think it's important to get some teaching experience at some point in your graduate experience. But there's plenty to be said for having additional time. Teaching one class will take up 20-30 hours a week. It gets easier the more you do it.
Look, I talk all about the plusses and minuses of this in the book, but the bottom line is: You either want to teach or you don't. If you want to spend that first year without teaching (and I get the impression that you do), go for it. I think that's a good idea actually.
You won't go wrong with either program. If I had to man-fact, I'd choose Michigan in a photo finish.