TA testimony

Teach, Grow: Abandoning Your Comfort Zone as a TA

Submitted by mnestel on March 3, 2015 - 11:33pm

TAs are usually focused on their students. “How can I help my students learn what they need to know?” is rightly the looming question TAs ask themselves. However, it is important to remember that teaching is also about your own learning and growth. Thinking about what you want to get out of teaching and pushing yourself to pursue that can make for a more meaningful and fruitful TA experience. In this post, a TA writes about her personal goals as a TA and the importance of challenging herself to step outside her comfort zone.

Engaging Students in the Lab

Submitted by mnestel on January 11, 2015 - 1:11am

Read one TA's thoughts on and strategies for engaging students in the lab. (A lot of these tips are great for other classroom scenarios in addition to labs!)

Teaching is not about putting in efforts in preparing every lecture or a lab session. All that matters is engaging the students in the class. Once you manage to get their attention, everything else just falls in place.

The Power of Positive Feedback

Submitted by mnestel on January 5, 2015 - 9:59pm

Positive feedback and encouragement at the right moments can be powerful motivators in helping your students learn. Check out one new TA’s experience with positive feedback below.

Not that I did not already know it, but positive feedback does wonders! Students responded to encouragement and trust by trying harder, engaging and writing better papers.

TA Really Stands for Technology Assistant

Submitted by jfishe10 on May 28, 2014 - 12:30pm

As a TA discusses in the TA Testimony below, it can be incredibly frustrating to have expectations of your role as a TA for a professor only to discover as the semester progresses that the needs of that professor are not what you had anticipated.  However, while your responsibilities and experiences as a TA for a professor will vary greatly depending on the expectations and requirements of the professor you are assisting, this does not mean the experience has to be completely out of your hands.

Strict or Friendly? A TA Finds His Teaching Style

Submitted by jfishe10 on May 28, 2014 - 12:30pm

As a TA for a professor, it can be difficult to figure out your relationship to the students. You don’t have the same automatic authority as the professor or sole instructor of the course, but you also obviously are not one of the students. So how should you behave towards the students? How strict or authoritative should you be? The answer will largely depend on your own teaching style and comfort level with the students. While some TAs choose to be more strict, others prefer a more relaxed attitude. For example, this TA found a relaxed and friendly style worked best for him:

Responding to Student Advances

Submitted by jfishe10 on May 28, 2014 - 12:27pm

What should you do if a student makes advances towards you? This TA found that holding a general class discussion about appropriate and inappropriate communication worked well to nip the problem in the bud. Also, note that the TA consulted members of her TA cohort for advice---if you are unsure how to approach a situation, your fellow TAs and/or your advisors can be a great source of suggestions and support.