TAs for Professors

Dressing the Part

Submitted by jfishe10 on May 28, 2014 - 11:28am

How you choose to dress on the first day is determined largely by how you wish to present yourself to your students. You can present authority, be relaxed, or find a median point between the two. For the first day, many experienced TAs recommend dressing professionally. Your students will be expecting this, and through years of conditioning will naturally defer to your authority and presumed expertise so as long as you perform the role of instructor in accordance with their expectations.

Choosing Your Props

Submitted by jfishe10 on May 28, 2014 - 10:58am
The tools you use to transport materials to and from the classroom as well as the supplies you use when interacting with your students can influence their appreciation of your role as the instructor. While some TAs are not particularly concerned with the supplies they use in class, others are concerned carrying a backpack might make them seem the same age as their students (often especially a concern for younger TAs). If you are looking for another way to enhance your professional appearance and subtly establish authority, you might consider the following supply suggestions from a TA.

What's in a Name?

Submitted by jfishe10 on May 28, 2014 - 10:52am

Deciding what your students should call you can be difficult. Below, we've listed the options and common thoughts on/concerns about these choices. Ultimately, go with what makes you feel most comfortable.

Mr./Ms./Mrs. Last Name

Many TAs ask their students to call them by their last name. This formal approach can help foster respect in the classroom, and often times younger TAs appreciate it as a tool for setting boundaries between themselves and their students.

General Thoughts and Tips on Conflict Resolution

Submitted by jfishe10 on May 28, 2014 - 10:45am

One of the many issues that new teachers most fear is that of how to deal with conflict in the classroom. It is the instructor’s responsibility to strive to create a mutually respectful learning environment. At times, however, situations arise which make this ideal state of affairs impossible. What should be done if a student becomes aggressive, either verbally or physically, or bullies other students or even the instructor? How can such a volatile situation be dealt with in a professional, cool-headed manner?