As a TA you will be working under the direction of a faculty member who will determine the course content and methods used for your teaching assignments. It is important to have a clear understanding of the course instructor’s expectations of you before you begin your teaching assignment. It is advisable you meet with your faculty supervisor to learn what is expected of you and to establish a range of responsibilities before your first class. These expectations can differ from professor to professor and across departments. The following checklist can be used as a starting point to facilitate a discussion between you and your supervisor.
- What are the course goals/objectives?
- Access to course outline/syllabus?
- Who are the students enrolled in this course (class list, background with subject, level, etc?) Names and contact information for other TAs assigned to the course?
- Workload distribution amongst TAs assigned to the course?
- Prerequisites – how do they apply to this course?
- Will you be provided with a copy of the textbook? Other course materials?
- How will copies of other materials be made available? Will the course be supported by Blackboard?
- Who do you contact for technical support for Blackboard? Is laboratory safety training required?
- What responsibilities will you have as the TA?
- Holding office hours
- Running lab or tutorial sections
- Lab/tutorial preparation time
- Presenting new material/lecture
- Leading discussions
- Creating section syllabus
- Assigning course grades
- Conducting review sections
- Setting up/cleaning up lab
- Providing feedback on and grading assignments and exams
- How frequently will you meet with your supervisor? Regularly scheduled meetings? As needed?
- How can the course instructor/supervisor be contacted?
- How can you be contacted by the instructor?
- How often are you expected to attend lectures?
- What responsibilities will you have during class meetings/lectures? Will you be required to lecture/present new material?
- What responsibilities will you have with respect to marking and grading? How much marking/grading are you expected to do?
- Provision of marking guidelines/templates/rubrics?
- Will you be required to post marks?
- What is the protocol for marking/grading based complaints?
- Will you be required to invigilate exams?
Evaluation and Feedback
- How will your performance be evaluated? Evaluation by instructor? Student ratings? When will evaluations be given? Mid-Semester? End of Semester?
University of British Columbia Okanagan, Centre for Teaching and Academic Growth (2007), A Guide to Effective Practices for Teaching Assistants, 2007
University of British Columbia, Centre for Teaching and Academic Growth (2006), Instructional Resource Guide for Teaching Assistants, 2005/2006.