Graduate student TAs are expected to take a leadership role in our department.  Undergraduate students will look up to you as role models- it is up to you to foster a positive, productive environment and work teams.  You may be an influential person for someone who decided to pursue costumes!   When undergraduates work with you in 101 class, on a crew or a shop project, they may ask you for a recommendation when they apply for jobs or other department responsibilities.

Teaching Assistants and Students

Excerpted from the University of Pittsburgh The Teaching Assistant Handbook

As a TA you have the opportunity to work closely with both students and faculty, providing each party with a unique combination of information based on your relationship to the other.  Your job is often that of facilitator who helps the faculty member manage a large number of students, and helps the student learn in a large class.   You can greatly enhance your students educational experience by:

  • Taking time to ensure the course organization and requirements are clear
  • Work directly with students as individuals or in small groups
  • Look for teaching points- show the class examples of good work, look for ways to develop a through line from theory to practice
  • Establish ways students may communicate with you outside of class
  • Provide the instructor with feedback- what do the students have difficulty learning?
  • Suggest improvements in the course or materials

Professionalism

As a TA, you have the responsibility to conduct yourself in a professional manner.  That often means remaining above the fray.  You must separate yourself from the criticisms that students sometimes level at professors through their teaching assistants.  For instance, you may be approached by disgruntled students who feel the professor is unfair or out of touch.  Avoid the temptation to agree, even if you think the criticism may be valid.  You are a liason- when appropriate, encourage the student to meet with the professor. On occasion, you may approach the professor privately.  If you feel the complaints are of a serious nature, you may consult the department Chair or a university ombudsman.  Remember that student information concerning grades is confidential.



Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.