Questions concerning the use of graduate students as course instructors, usually under the supervision of a faculty member.

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60
votes
5answers
9k views

TA talks to others about students, what to do?

I am an undergraduate student at a university in the US. Unfortunately, I have a concern regarding one TA of a class I took this past year. This individual insults other students in the university ...
7
votes
2answers
173 views

How to find the right balance between a challenging and an enjoyable mathematics exercise session?

Next semester, I will be leading exercise sessions in a first year course of mathematics. More precisely, the course is Linear Algebra and the audience consists of young, first year undergraduate ...
1
vote
2answers
97 views

Paid leave for a graduate teaching assistant

For quite some times this question has popped up to my mind. In many jobs, you can take paid leave for some days. As a PhD student (F1-visa) in US, I am being supported by the department in the form ...
4
votes
1answer
102 views

Should I start working as a teacher at a different uni while I'm still finishing my PhD?

I am currently doing a PhD in maths, in the UK. UK PhD scholarship are typically only 3 years, and mine can't be extended. I do need every day of these three years to finish my thesis. For a small ...
9
votes
5answers
1k views

What is the difference between a teaching assistant and an instructor?

It seems to me that the terms "Teaching Assistant" and "Instructor" refer to a variety of positions. At some places, a teaching assistant is responsible for things like helping the actual lecturer by ...
0
votes
2answers
108 views

Can someone with a bachelor’s degree in political science and a Masters of Business Administration teach undergraduate courses in Political Science?

I've read that it's quite common among students to take a graduate program which is different from the bachelor's degree. I was wondering if it is possible for someone with a bachelor's degree in ...
0
votes
1answer
53 views

Getting to assist in the course of your choice during TAship

I am an incoming Graduate Student on a TAship. I have completed the course in my undergraduation and am currently working on a project in the same area. I wish to know what else can be done to ...
3
votes
1answer
350 views

Professor doesn't tell TAs what should be on exams until the day of the exam

As a TA I am responsible for preparing problems and solution sets for the exams. Last time we had an exam, the professor didn't tell us which problems he wanted to select for the exam until the ...
24
votes
3answers
4k views

As a TA, how should I address the professor's difficult curriculum?

This is my first semester being a TA for this course. However, the professor has changed since I took the course. The content seems to have grown in difficulty since I originally took the course, and ...
0
votes
1answer
228 views

TA-ship requirement for funded international applicants

As I have read from other questions in this SE site, for all international students who apply in PhD program, it is required that to be TA for that department they have applied to. And in the other ...
16
votes
4answers
3k views

How should I handle students who ask questions that are “beyond the scope of the course” as a TA

One of the most common replies I have gotten as a student in engineering is the phrase "what you are asking is beyond the scope of this course". But I always found it a bit funny coming from the prof ...
13
votes
4answers
2k views

Feedback for a student showing improvement

One of the students whose work I'm grading has just handed in a piece of work which is much better than what I've come to expect of them after several classes. I was just about to write some rather ...
14
votes
4answers
3k views

What should I do as a teaching assistant when I find cheating behavior from actual grading?

Update: I found 8 students cheating in today's quiz despite stern warning and personal threatening to kick them out of the classroom if I notice cheating behavior again. 4 of them also likely cheated ...
4
votes
1answer
167 views

What problems are caused by pedagogical blogging about a class?

I am a course TA and I instruct a class of about 20 undergrads. I'm planning to make a public pedagogy blog. I think there could be some potential problems with this. For example, if the students in ...
47
votes
10answers
9k views

What do I do as a depressed and incompetent TA?

My mental health is declining and as a result I haven't been a good TA. For example I let my students out of section early because I was too tired to present some of the material, and I did not ...
8
votes
2answers
949 views

Department not giving me TAships after a dispute with professor, what should I do?

I got in a dispute with a professor I TA'd for, and now my department is not giving me TAships. What should I do? I am required to teach more classes in my department in order to satisfy a ...
123
votes
8answers
13k views

Prof's neurological health is declining rapidly. What can I (TA) do?

I'm a law student acting as a teaching assistant/fellow for a tenured and notable law professor. Between last year when I took the course myself and now when I am a TA/TF, his mental acuity and health ...
1
vote
2answers
331 views

How does a prospective applicant fail to qualify for RAship, but fit the bill for TAship?

I wish to know how the Graduate Admissions Committees for top Universities in the USA decide about awarding Teaching Assistantship to a prospective student. If one had preferred both 'RAship' and ...
4
votes
2answers
304 views

As a TA, what should I do about an error in the professor's lecture that I repeated in the lecture notes?

Here is the somewhat awkward situation. I am a TA for a class that I have never taken before. The professor (probably) knows this, but I don't think the students have caught on, since it is a ...
30
votes
5answers
2k views

As an instructor, how to show my appreciation for my TAs' hard work?

As an instructor, I have been fortunate to have had some great TAs, who went above and beyond what was expected of them, and put in a lot of effort to ensure students' learning. I would really like ...
15
votes
1answer
342 views

What are positive and negative outcomes of requiring Ph.D. students to take a pedagogy course?

My mathematics department (where I am employed as faculty) is considering requiring its Ph.D. students to take a two-semester course in pedagogy and educational theory. All of them also TA lower level ...
71
votes
5answers
4k views

Strategies for teaching with facial aphasia (inability to recognize faces aka prosopagnosia, face-blindness)

I'm a math grad student in my first year, which means that I have not yet taught a class (in my program first years grade or provide one-on-one tutoring for students who struggle in calculus). I have ...
1
vote
1answer
107 views

Tools for managing and scheduling meetings with students?

My advisor has been very busy and a lot of us hardly get quality time with him. he also acknowledges this and says it is usually very difficult to manage appointments and other commitments. He has ...
2
votes
3answers
154 views

Do European PhD programs offer the opportunity to take on teaching assistantship duties?

I know that, in North America, the opportunity is given (and often mandated) to take on teaching assistantships while in a PhD program. I knew that, often, European PhD programs pay you to do RA ...
13
votes
2answers
217 views

Suggestions for working effectively with international students from a non-western culture

I am a Masters graduate student studying finance at a large public university located in a major city. Recently, I accepted a job as a teaching assistant. A significant number of students are from ...
57
votes
5answers
8k views

How to handle possibly subtly flirtatious emails from students?

I got a series of emails from a student. At first, I thought she was being over-polite. But now things are making me very uncomfortable. For instance, at every email she thanks me for giving her good ...
9
votes
6answers
1k views

What are the benefits of working as a teaching assistant?

I am a first-year international master student in a US statistics department. I am offered a 10-hour teaching assistant appointment next semester. I am considering taking it. I have no idea how to ...
10
votes
3answers
2k views

How should a teaching-assistant calm his anxious student down in an exam?

At the class quizzes or at the mid- or final exams, I can see that some students are too anxious and nervous. They are not really weak students but too much anxiousness brings their efficiency down ...
41
votes
4answers
5k views

How should a teaching-assistant deal with an angry student?

This happened two semesters ago, when I was teaching-assistant to a class of bachelor students. The lecturer had such marking weights, 30% for teaching assistant class including all the homework and ...
26
votes
4answers
2k views

How to express dissension as a grad TA while maintaining professionalism

I have a problem with the courses I'm TAing. I am a math PhD student at a large (supposedly good) state university where the lower-division math classes are taught in the "discussion section" format ...
-1
votes
1answer
115 views

Is it wise to do teaching-assistantship in a university I am not studying in?

The universities from which I earned my BSc. and MSc. degrees are not the same. Last week, a professor who knows me from my BSc. university called me and asked me to accept his teaching assistantship ...
21
votes
8answers
5k views

How should I deal with my groupmate's unprofessional behavior as a TA?

I have a colleague in my group who became TA for a course which we took together, which is taught by our mutual advisor. It is almost a policy that a student can't become TA unless he scores an A in ...
4
votes
4answers
330 views

What are the standard workloads for mathematics TAs at state and private universities in the US?

I am an international student, and now pursuing my Ph.D in pure Math in a not very good (ranking 70+) and relatively small state university in U.S. As usual, I am a supported TA, and I am wondering ...
1
vote
1answer
312 views

As a teaching-assistant, how can I avoid repetitive teaching?

As a teacher assistant, I am always thinking about preparing my students with up-to-dated teaching materials and examples; however, I can see many TAs in my department who teach the content they used ...
3
votes
3answers
177 views

Who pays for TAs?

A TA normally has a hourly contract for working with a professor. Who pays for this contract? The professor's external funding is for research, not education. If the department pays for that, how the ...
7
votes
4answers
829 views

Is it popular to request TA presence in the classroom for all lectures & is it right?

A Professor normally send his TA to conduct some sessions of his course (e.g., for problem solving). It is also possible to ask the TA to attend all sessions to keep the track of the course. This is ...
4
votes
3answers
171 views

How to grade students' lab worksheets to prepare them for a final lab exam?

I am a physics lab TA and I was recently informed that my engineering students will receive a lab final at the end of the semester worth 50 percent of their grade. The final exam is not personally ...
28
votes
2answers
4k views

Is it appropriate for a TA to say “My Students”?

I am a teaching assistant for the first time this semester. A couple of friends have asked how it is going, and I have used phrases like "some of my students..." or "my students are ..." when telling ...
11
votes
6answers
1k views

Is teaching a graduate course with 30 students an unreasonable expectation for a PhD student with a TA contract?

I am a PhD student in a social science field, and am on a teaching assistantship. My contract stipulates that TAs are to work no more than an average of 15 hours per week. For my particular ...
28
votes
3answers
3k views

What should I do if I don't know the answer to a question posed by a student?

If I am the TA for a class, what should I do if a student asks me a question which I can't answer? While "tell the truth and say you don't know" is one approach, are there other options?
13
votes
2answers
495 views

How to improve myself as a recitation (discussion,lab,tutorial) teacher?

This question is related to How to improve myself as a lecturer?. However, being a PhD student, my main teaching obligation is leading recitations, i.e. sessions for groups of ~20 students that take ...
10
votes
2answers
396 views

In a tenure-track position application; Is it appropriate to ask for recommendation letter from a professor for whom I only served as a TA?

When applying for a tenure-track academic position in the US right after my PhD (in the US too), is it a good idea to ask for a letter of recommendation from a professor in my graduate school with ...
3
votes
1answer
195 views

What to do in recitation?

Forgive me if this is not the right place to ask pedagogical questions, but it seemed the most appropriate. I am a TA for a programming/CS course. This is my first time teaching recitation and I'm ...
1
vote
1answer
275 views

From which level of education, is it better to choose teacher assistants?

I think that it is normal to choose teacher assistants for BSc courses from MSc or PhD students and TAs for MSc courses to be from PhD students; In case that the PhD or MSc students are not ...
8
votes
2answers
685 views

Is it acceptable that a teacher assistant encourage students to read his authored materials too?

During my leisure time, I used to prepare some pamphlets in the topic of courses I always wanted to teach. Each, full of examples and solved problems which I designed and solved myself, not ...
-1
votes
3answers
176 views

How is it common that universities provide assistantship positions for their graduate students? [closed]

Do a lot of graduate programs provide assistantships to their students (e.g. teaching or research assistantships)? How common is it for graduate students to be paid while going to graduate school?
1
vote
1answer
148 views

Do any schools offer teaching or research assistantships via distance education?

I would like to complete an MRes or PhD, but do not live in an area with any schools. I would rather not relocate. I see that many schools offer paid MRes or PhD programs entirely via distance. Do ...
4
votes
3answers
330 views

What is a TA called when he/she is in charge of organization?

I am a non-native speaker and writing my cv. In my subject (mathematics), there are small exercise groups where you have to grade the students' homework and discuss it with them; some are hold by ...
57
votes
9answers
6k views

Should I reward points for an incorrect answer if it is the result of misinformation presented in a TA's office hours?

So a TA came to me asking for advice. He gave wrong information in office hours leading a student to a wrong answer. The TA showed the student how to solve the problem via the wrong statistical test ...
1
vote
1answer
138 views

What is the history of teaching assistants (TAs) in France?

I know that in France, as late as the early 20th century, although I'm not sure if this is true now, a university student (undergrad or grad?) would take a nationwide concours exam to receive the ...