Interested in contributing to the Diary of a New TA, but not sure what to write or talk about? Below, you’ll find a list of questions and topics from other TAs. If one of these inspires you, feel free to send us a response! (Also, if you have a question or topic you would like added to this list, please let us know at


Classroom Management

  • How do you teach and/or enforce academic integrity in your class? What if a student makes an honest mistake, like forgetting to include an in-text citation? How have you handled different situations in which you’ve encountered breaches of academic integrity?

  • What are some of the greatest challenges you’ve faced as a TA (an instructor of record, lab TA, TA for a professor, online TA, or international TA)? How have you handled them?

  • How do you maintain boundaries when students are close in age to you/your peers?

  • What are some teaching practices for working with international students?

  • What are some things to keep in mind when teaching freshmen?

  • What would be the difficulties faced when your class has a mix of undergraduate and graduate students. How would you deal with the different knowledge levels of the students?

  • What are some effective methods of dealing with disrespectful or angry students?


Workload Management

  • I’ve heard people talk about work/life balance, but what about work/work balance? How do you balance teaching with your own research/coursework?

  • What should you do if you’re consistently going over on your hours? I am required to work 20 hours a week but I am not paid hourly since I am a doctoral student.


Online Teaching

  • In the online environment, how do you form bonds with students without the face-to-face interactions?

  • How can I encourage students to be more active in participating in discussions through online posts?


TA for a Professor

  • If I begin working with a new professor and we don't get along, what are resources that are available to me?

  • How do you respond to a student who seems too dependent on the TA’s assistance such that they are using it as a crutch? 
  • How do you find a balance that is helping the student understand the question without giving them the answers?
  • If a student expresses anger or frustration with their teacher, when do you need to do something about this and what are the steps that you take?  


Lab TA

  • What are some activities or methods for helping students quickly and thoroughly understand lab requirements?



  • How are bad TA reviews handled? I feel like it’s impossible to please every student, especially if they get a bad grade.

  • What is the best piece of advice a professor or fellow TA has given you?

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August 18, 2015

Do you have questions? Suggestions? Something you would like to see on the blog? Let us know at