So You’re Going To Be A TA: What You Should Know.

Whether you’re a new TA or returning for another round, these tips (compiled by Dr. Masha Salazkina) are sure to set you off to a great start.

  • The first thing you need to do is to arrange to meet with the instructor as soon as possible. This initial conversation provides an opportunity for you to get to know each other, share your skills, share your interests and expertise, learn more about the course and the students you’ll be working with, and about the professor’s expectations.
  • Keep in mind that you are expected to attend your TA classes.  Arrive early to receive any instructions from the professor.
  • In terms of marking assignments, clarify the instructor’s expectations regarding the grading process at the beginning of the semester.  Make sure you know when and how the instructor is intending to return assignments as soon as you get student work, and when and how you are expected to get the marked papers to him/her. Do you email the grades and bring the graded assignments to class? Or give everything to the instructor beforehand for him/her to go over your grading?
  • Follow these tips for success to make your TA experience the best it can be!
    • Establish a good working relationship with your supervisor and your peers.
    • Establish a support group of peers who are also new to teaching.
    • Establish effective relationships with your students.

    Some ways to foster these relationships:

    • Be reliable. Know your marking deadlines and have work ready on time.
    • Establish your standards (within the instructors’ guidelines) and stick to them. Your goal should be to provide intellectual challenge along with instructional support.
    • Set a good example for the class. This means showing up on time, turning off your cell phone, sitting up in your seat and paying attention to the instructor. You might also inquire of the instructor as to whether or not s/he would like you to ask questions or offer your own observations to get discussions moving.

    To see the entirety of Masha’s TA guidelines which include information on pay, contracts, TA training resources, and a TA checklist, please visit our resources page. You will find the information under “Teaching Resources > Teaching Material.”  If you are a new student and do not yet have the password, please email us at gradaperture@gmail.com.