Author: Dr. Saphida Migabo (Biology)
In addition to completing the checklist outlined below, it is very important for you to meet with your course instructor(supervisor) to go over the Graduate Teaching Assistant Workload Agreement*. This meeting should ideally occur before your first class. The purpose of the Graduate Teaching Assistant Workload Agreement is to clarify expectations and obligations regarding your assigned teaching duties. This form is your contract between you and your supervisor.
The form can be downloaded at:
CASHS – http://unbc.ca/cashs/forms.html
The workload agreement outlines the duties and responsibilities of the TA and support provided by the course instructor(s). The agreement also ensures that assigned duties can be completed within the allocated hours. The number of hours allocated to your specific duties can be found in your TA contract. Please be aware that TA duties begin the first day of classes and end when the semester ends. The number of hours worked may fluctuate on a weekly basis but should not exceed your contractual limit.
If you are a new teaching assistant, it is advisable you keep track of the time spent on various duties. If you are unhappy, and feel overwhelmed with the amount of work or time you are expected to put into a course, start by talking to other TAs in your department to see whether your experiences are unusual and your expectations are realistic. Keep in mind that TA expectations vary from instructor to instructor and from program to program. If you continue to feel overwhelmed by the amount of work, speak to the course instructor. It is possible you can renegotiate your contract.
If you have been asked to perform additional duties rather than those agreed upon or duties that are inappropriate, do not suffer in silence. Speak to someone. Your faculty Supervisor is a good person to start with. You can also make an appointment to see the program/department chair to discuss your concerns.