A TA shares some tips from her first semester as a TA for a Professor:
1) The best advice received when I was a new TA was to do everything twice, especially at the beginning of the semester when I was entering grades, making lists of student names, or correcting papers. While I felt I was an accurate person, when a student has worked very hard to prepare a paper or take a test, I don’t want to have to correct their score after it has become public (especially moving their grade downward). Checking twice reduces the number of mistakes when grading papers, entering grades, and corresponding with the professors.
2) Professors want to know what is going on, so always cc them on emails you exchange with students. This keeps instructors up-to-date so they can begin to intercede directly with the student when appropriate. This also keeps you from being isolated by the student from the instructor.
3) Don’t be afraid of asking questions and making clarifications with your professor. Always check with your instructor before getting creative with your job. He or she often have a method for handling challenging situations and appreciate being consulted before you move ahead with your own ideas.
4) Have a separate calendar for TA responsibilities. Set this calendar up at the first of the semester with reminders about your responsibilities during the semester and refer to it when you set aside your daily time to be a TA.
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