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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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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
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
31 votes
4 answers
10k views

How to deal with students asking very incremental questions?

I'm a TA/grader for an online course in introductory programming. We have students ask us questions related to homework/labs/etc. on Piazza where we can have quick back-and-forth with questions and ...
user473973'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
  • 3,488
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
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
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
22 votes
10 answers
12k views

I've developed a close relationship with my past graduate teaching assistant, and I'm very interested in her: is it appropriate to pursue this?

The graduate teaching assistant I'm interested in taught one of my introductory courses. She needed research assistants, so I decided to join her lab. From all this we became very close. Ever since ...
user avatar
21 votes
3 answers
68k views

Can you teach at a community college with a master's degree?

I'm interested in teaching a class at the community college level. I'm not interested in it as a career, but rather because I like teaching people about computer science. How likely is it that I ...
Daisetsu's user avatar
  • 403
4 votes
1 answer
4k views

Is it realistic to apply to a Master at MIT, Harvard, Yale, Berkeley, Stanford with a Bachelor of a German Fachhochschule? [closed]

I am a 31 year old German Bachelor-student in his 5th semester in a University of Applied Sciences, studying in Business Information Systems. The total time for receiving the Bachelor is 7 semesters. ...
Melauki Mawi's user avatar
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
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
4 votes
1 answer
2k 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 ...
gardenhead's user avatar
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
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
18 votes
6 answers
9k views

What should TAs do if students disrespect them?

TAs are responsible for answering students' questions. But sometimes there are bad-mannered students who don't treat the TA with respect during the interaction. Should TAs just take it and still ...
Rapidturtle's user avatar
  • 1,789
15 votes
2 answers
3k 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 ...
M. B.'s user avatar
  • 296
13 votes
6 answers
2k views

Professor not giving solutions to exams and assignments that I need to grade

I am a grader for a CS course at the college institution I attend. The professor I am TAing for is a full-time employee at a company. He is teaching this CS course on top of doing that. The first exam ...
user1394's user avatar
  • 406
13 votes
3 answers
2k views

What are some good ways to lead a discussion session for a TA in a graduate-level STEM class?

I'm a TA for a class on graduate-level Digital Signal Processing, and one of my responsibilities is to lead a discussion session. It's a 50-minute session that happens once a week, and the professor ...
user avatar
13 votes
5 answers
42k 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 ...
Pandora's user avatar
  • 1,473
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
  • 849
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
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
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
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
  • 1,221
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
31 votes
5 answers
11k 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 ...
Fraïssé's user avatar
  • 11.5k
24 votes
9 answers
8k views

Balancing empathy and deferring to the syllabus in teaching responsibilities

Questions of similar topics have been asked here for the situation of instructing a course and here and here for the situation of 'no late work' policies. Additional questions about balancing teaching ...
user avatar
17 votes
2 answers
3k views

Student asks TA if his result (figure) is correct

I'm TAing a class that uses Piazza (an online student forum), in addition to the traditional office hours. A student made a (private) post, where he uploaded a MATLAB figure and asked whether it is ...
Spyros Maniatopoulos's user avatar
17 votes
1 answer
2k views

How will this departmental restructuring plan affect students and faculty?

I am an undergraduate Computer Engineering student at the University of Florida. In response to recent budget cuts to higher education in Florida, my department (Computer and Information Sciences and ...
Blake's user avatar
  • 273
15 votes
4 answers
532 views

Teaching Assistantships and research

I'm working as a TA now, and I've found that I'm spending an inordinate amount of time on my TA-ship. Is this normal? Furthermore, is this expected? I'm worried that my research career will suffer ...
eykanal's user avatar
  • 48.5k
15 votes
4 answers
14k 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 ...
Bombyx mori's user avatar
14 votes
3 answers
5k views

As a teaching assistant, how important are student evaluations?

I have seen a number of résumés of doctoral students, but only a few of them listed their evaluation scores when presenting their teaching experience. How important are these scores in evaluating ...
Bravo's user avatar
  • 23.1k
13 votes
3 answers
1k views

Time management as a TA in mathematics

I just started being a TA in mathematics at a university in continental Europe. My big problem is my time management: I feel like I don't have time for my own research. During a working time of 40h ...
KKL's user avatar
  • 593
13 votes
3 answers
6k 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 ...
enthu's user avatar
  • 7,538
12 votes
2 answers
2k 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 ...
user3788890's user avatar
12 votes
5 answers
4k views

Should a marker TA handle students' marking issues by email?

I am a university marker TA. The instructor requires TAs to meet students if they have marking issues. But I found most students just come to meet me for better grades, not to ask questions, and some ...
Rapidturtle's user avatar
  • 1,789
7 votes
5 answers
4k views

How should I approach the issue of students not writing their name and student number on an exam?

I am a teaching assistant (TA) in a second-year undergraduate course and have just received the results of my students' multiple choice midterm exam, which were marked by an optical marking ("Scantron"...
honey.koop's user avatar