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Questions tagged [teaching-assistant]

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

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192 votes
11 answers
32k views

How to deal with a student who most likely has a mental condition, and keeps arguing with me in class?

I am a TA for an introductory computer programming course at a university in the US. There is one student in particular who, during lecture, will argue with me about every point I make, which eats up ...
homersimpson's user avatar
  • 1,701
191 votes
18 answers
56k views

What to do with a student coming to class in revealing clothing, to the degree that it disrupts the teaching environment?

Since semester started, a female student has been attending classes scantily clad or wearing clothes that are too revealing, like a sport bra without shirt on top, booty shorts, semitransparent silk ...
user avatar
159 votes
9 answers
22k 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 ...
Anonymous's user avatar
  • 1,572
103 votes
20 answers
30k views

Professor does not care about cheating, what should TA do?

I am a PhD student, working as a Homework marking TA in a school where cheating is extremely blatant. The university has an extremely strict policy against cheating. Hundreds of students in math ...
Radiant Dawn's user avatar
96 votes
11 answers
40k views

"You are paid to answer my questions!" - how to handle silly questions?

How do I handle silly questions? By silly, I mean questions that are unrelated to the material of the course. First, I am a TA. Recently, a student asked me a very silly question at the end of a lab ...
AJed's user avatar
  • 3,448
91 votes
10 answers
37k views

Is it ethical to tell my teaching assistant that I like him?

I, a twenty-year-old female, have come to admire the graduate teaching assistant for my summer course quite strongly. I'm extremely interested in what he has to say, I always pay attention, never use ...
apollogie's user avatar
  • 971
89 votes
17 answers
22k views

As a TA, how to react if I come across a Facebook group in which students insult me?

I am a PhD student in Europe and also TA for some bachelor's degree classes for my supervisor. Just by chance, I have found an open Facebook group (normally, the group aims to create an interaction ...
optimal control's user avatar
88 votes
12 answers
18k views

Should I tell students that it's my first time teaching the course?

I'm a TA teaching a class this fall for the first time. I've taught before, but never this class, and never felt an obligation to tell my students it's my first time teaching a given class. But, ...
bcf's user avatar
  • 1,093
88 votes
4 answers
9k 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 ...
user141592's user avatar
  • 8,347
80 votes
7 answers
14k views

Can't prepare lesson material. Should I cancel class?

I'm a grad student teaching assistant for a freshmen undergrad non major multivariable calculus class. What they didn't tell me is that the second half of the semester is not calculus but "finite ...
user71118's user avatar
  • 681
77 votes
12 answers
23k views

My math students consider me a harsh grader. Is my teaching attitude wrong?

I am a math major grad student at a big public school, and we need to do TA every semester. I got assigned to lower level classes last couple semesters, and it's been quite difficult for me. Even ...
initial_D's user avatar
  • 1,600
75 votes
11 answers
17k 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 ...
WetlabStudent's user avatar
73 votes
7 answers
12k views

How to care less about teaching?

Fifth year math grad student as of this Fall. ABD, currently on target for six years in total. I have very strong feelings about the way courses should be taught, graded, and organized. I have ...
dedekindpoetssociety's user avatar
71 votes
7 answers
35k views

What negative consequences could there be from dating a former student (as a young academic)?

Here's the situation: She was an undergrad, I was a grad TA. At that point, our interactions were totally professional and limited to the classroom. However, she and I both since graduated and left ...
user99632's user avatar
  • 665
70 votes
14 answers
20k views

How to deal with students staying hours past the end of office hours?

Background: I am a fourth year math graduate student working as a TA for an introduction to proofs course with a focus on analysis. I really enjoy the teaching component of my position as a graduate ...
AegisCruiser's user avatar
  • 4,527
69 votes
5 answers
18k 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 ...
Ami Chagol's user avatar
64 votes
19 answers
29k views

What's a good way to prevent students from saying I lost their paper?

As a teacher, I've often had students say that they turned in an assignment, but that because I don't see it, grade it, and return it back to them, that I must have lost their papers/assignments. I ...
jvriesem's user avatar
  • 5,119
62 votes
6 answers
16k views

How to toughen up against hostile students as a TA?

I did not have a good experience when I TA'ed the first time. I faced a hostile student who refused to accept that he was wrong and didn't give me a good reason why he should deserve more marks. He ...
Rapidturtle's user avatar
  • 1,789
61 votes
5 answers
14k 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 ...
user39427's user avatar
  • 509
59 votes
5 answers
16k views

Lecturer in a course I'm TA'ing refuses to give feedback on student assignments

I am a teaching assistant in an undergraduate bioinformatics course. A few weeks ago the students in the course handed in the final assignment (which is worth 80% of the final grade), which we (me and ...
user1614062's user avatar
  • 1,208
58 votes
5 answers
19k views

How to handle a student who will not accept that he is wrong?

I am a university marker TA, and after midterm exam I met with a student who would not accept that he was wrong. He thought his answers were correct but didn't explain to me why his answers were ...
Rapidturtle's user avatar
  • 1,789
58 votes
6 answers
15k 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 ...
enthu's user avatar
  • 7,538
57 votes
7 answers
14k views

Student wants to show everybody how much he knows

I have read this question, where the OP asked how to handle silly questions. In the excellent answer of Irwin, the 6th point attracted my attention: If it's a matter of the student talking on and ...
KKL's user avatar
  • 593
57 votes
10 answers
10k views

Can I learn the course material for the first time while I'm teaching it?

If I'm going to give students the course X in next semester. Should I have full understanding of the subject before I teach them or can I learn about the topics before I go to the class and then teach ...
CS Geek's user avatar
  • 839
54 votes
12 answers
15k views

What to do with students coming to office hours asking to check their homework?

As a teaching assistant (TA), how to handle the situation where a student comes to office hours asking to check their homework? I.e. the student hands in their solution to the homework and ask the TA ...
Franck Dernoncourt's user avatar
54 votes
10 answers
17k 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 ...
Jennifer's user avatar
  • 2,533
48 votes
9 answers
15k views

What should I do as a TA if the instructor is not teaching properly?

Some background: I’m a TA for a low-level course at a major university on the US east coast. This is my second time TAing this course: the first time, I did it under a professor who has taught this a ...
stackflack's user avatar
47 votes
14 answers
12k views

What are some good ways to keep students coming to lectures?

Having taught calculus for several semesters, I've noticed that the number of students attending lectures are gradually declining (especially for the 9am session). I would not be worried if they have ...
More water plz's user avatar
45 votes
12 answers
9k views

How to resolve grading dispute between TA and Lecturer?

On a math exam recently, the students were asked to use the definition of a limit of a sequence to prove that the sequence given by 3n/(3n+5) converges to 1. Given a positive number Ɛ, the definition ...
The Substitute's user avatar
45 votes
6 answers
37k 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?
M R R's user avatar
  • 3,399
44 votes
17 answers
14k views

Should a TA point out a professor's mistake while attending their lecture?

I faced the following situation a few days back. I am doing my teaching assistance work under a professor. I attended one of his classes as a TA during which he was teaching some technically wrong ...
hanugm's user avatar
  • 7,779
44 votes
5 answers
12k views

Is it ethical to give (paid) private tutorials for a student in a module I am TA'ing?

My TAing mostly involves helping students working on their programming assignments during classes. A student asked me to give him private, paid, tutorials for the module, being concerned that all '...
Three Diag's user avatar
  • 4,069
42 votes
9 answers
8k views

Establishing authority in the classroom

What is the best way to establish your authority as the instructor in a classroom? I am asking from the perspective of a graduate student who will be TA-ing a large class for the first time. But I ...
user2562609's user avatar
  • 6,968
42 votes
7 answers
12k views

My peers think I slept with my overly friendly TA - what do I do?

I am a female undergraduate student and in a bit of a situation here. Last semester, I had a male graduate teaching assistant for one of my classes, and I got the very strong impression for months ...
monsterdynamite's user avatar
42 votes
9 answers
12k views

Should Professors and by extension their TA's, hold student athletes to the same standard?

As a former student athlete at the high school level who played football, the academic requirements asked of me were no different than that of my fellow classmates. I never asked for any special ...
Bluebird's user avatar
  • 3,658
40 votes
11 answers
10k views

What sort of professional boundary should I set with other students when I am a grader for a class I will be taking?

Next semester, I am going to take a course in which I have some background knowledge. Given the relevance of the course in my research, the lack of available students with sufficient knowledge in the ...
Pierre Duluth's user avatar
40 votes
9 answers
10k views

What to do if you are assigned to TA a course you are not qualified to teach?

I am a PhD student in an Applied Math program. Recently, we received our TA assignments for the next quarter. To my surprise, I was assigned to TA a graduate-level class that I had never taken before ...
weighted sum's user avatar
38 votes
6 answers
11k views

Being TA for abusive professor

Over the course of my PhD, I've had the pleasure of being a TA for many courses under many different profs, all were great experiences. I learned a lot, did a lot of good work with the other TAs and ...
user230202's user avatar
38 votes
5 answers
10k views

How can I deal with students who try to steer a course (in the online setting)?

I am not a course instructor, but I am a teaching assistant for a large course in STEM in the large US school. I have been soliciting advice from students to improve the course and tutorial for the ...
Sin Nombre's user avatar
  • 1,029
36 votes
4 answers
13k views

Should I tutor a student who I know has cheated on their homework?

I am a Ph.D. student and I do private tutoring on the side for extra income. Recently a new student contacted me for help with a class, and I met them for one session, which went well overall. They ...
Kai's user avatar
  • 1,211
36 votes
14 answers
8k views

How do you enforce handwriting standards for homework assignments as a TA?

I am a TA who is helping to grade student homework assignments for an undergrad engineering course which involves a lot of mathematics. The homeworks all together count for miserly 5% and is only ...
Fraïssé's user avatar
  • 11.5k
36 votes
4 answers
22k views

As a TA, I had sex with someone who turned out to be one of my students, what do I do?

I'm a grad student and TA. I was playing pool on campus and met some people who happened to be in a frat. We played together and they invited me to their frat party. Long story short, I got really ...
user69598's user avatar
  • 379
35 votes
7 answers
26k views

How to prepare for being a TA (Teaching Assistant)?

I start my graduate program next week, which includes spending some of my time as a Teaching Assistant. It is my least favorite part of job, and I do not want to teach in my career after that. I don't ...
Jim's user avatar
  • 2,795
34 votes
9 answers
11k views

How can I motivate the teaching assistants to grade more strictly?

I am a lecturer in charge of a course with over 250 students and several TAs. The TAs are partly responsible for grading the homework assignments. Since these are assignments in programming, no two ...
Erel Segal-Halevi's user avatar
34 votes
4 answers
9k views

My student in one course asks for paid tutoring in another course. Appropriate?

I'm a teaching assistant for an introductory programming course. A student in the course approached me and asked if I would tutor them for a different discrete mathematics course in return for payment....
Nick Hirzel's user avatar
34 votes
7 answers
11k views

Is TA-ing worth the opportunity cost (of having more time for research)?

If you already have funding, is TA-ing (i.e. being a teaching assistant) worth the opportunity cost of doing more research? What are the relevant considerations? I've always heard that focusing on ...
capybaralet's user avatar
34 votes
2 answers
5k 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 ...
Lil' Bits's user avatar
  • 473
34 votes
2 answers
1k views

What are some ways to increase grading speed?

I sometimes spend too much time on grading students' homework in the class I am a TA for. I am asking if there are some ways to improve grading speed? I hope that I can learn some useful tips from ...
Tim's user avatar
  • 1,729
34 votes
7 answers
7k views

Undergrad students grading other undergrads: ethical, professional, or even legal?

As an undergraduate, I've been working as a TA in an electronics lab for a while. Recently I have been asked to grade other students' lab reports. I have also done some oral examination, but I guess ...
user3079666's user avatar
  • 1,758
31 votes
10 answers
8k views

What is the best way to motivate teaching assistants?

I am head TA in a 300-student class, with 12 other TAs. Currently I do the following things to motivate my TAs: We have an internal Slack channel called #shoutouts where I mention TAs every time I ...
Head TA's user avatar
  • 369

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