TAs for Professors

What Training Didn’t Teach Me: A List of Tips and Tricks for TAs

Submitted by mnestel on July 29, 2016 - 11:15pm

Training to be a TA was very straightforward and covered a lot of topics. However, as the semester progressed, I found myself in situations where my training didn’t help me. These are the tips and tricks I discovered during the semester

- DO be professional. Clarify how you want to be addressed and maintain reasonable response time. For example, I have a one year old so my students knew I was unavailable to answer emails between 10 PM - 5 AM.

Making your TA Responsibilities Work for You

Submitted by mnestel on July 3, 2015 - 11:52pm

TAs for professors are sometimes assigned responsibilities other than or in addition to grading, record-keeping, and teaching. Whatever your responsibilities, being conscious of the opportunities they bring can help you make the most of your TAship, as the TA below describes.

For the past year, I’ve been a teaching assistant for a professor in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Following are some tips I’d like to offer as a teaching assistant for a professor:

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.

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:

TA Responds to Passive Aggressive Behavior

Submitted by jfishe10 on May 28, 2014 - 12:24pm

Passive aggressive behavoir can be particularly challenging to respond to. It may also seem less serious than outright aggressive behavior. However, if allowed to continue, passive aggressive behavior can foster an uncomfortable classroom environment for yourself and your students. See how one TA responded to passive aggressive behavior from one of her students below. Notice that this TA asked one of her mentors for advice on how to handle the problem. Don't be afraid to speak with your professors about how they might respond in a similiar situation.