Preparing for Your TAship
Preparation, preparation, preparation.
It is the key to a successful TA experience. First things first. As soon as you are notified that you will receive an assistantship, contact your faculty supervisor or graduate coordinator to determine your assistantship assignment for the term. A clear understanding of your department’s expectations will help to guide your initial preparation and will also serve to prevent many problems later on.
Define Your Responsibilities
Generally, the immediate concern of new graduate teaching assistants is whether they will be Assisting a Professor who will do the teaching (e.g., discussion leaders, laboratory assistants, grader/office hours TAs) or Conducting a Complete Course (e.g., instructor of record). In some departments, teaching assistants are assigned complete responsibility for an introductory course from the first day of class to the assigning and reporting of grades. In other departments, all or most courses are taught by the regular faculty, and graduate teaching assistants assist with monitoring tests, grading papers, conducting lab or discussion sections, setting up and dismantling equipment, and/or teaching in the absence of the instructor.