Author: Dr. Heather A. Smith (Director, UNBC Centre for Teaching, Learning, and Technology)
Many, many years ago, I was a young Master’s student off to lead my first tutorial. I was so nervous and I felt entirely on my own. There was no training, no handbook and I have no idea if there was a Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology. When I told a faculty member how nervous I was, I was told “it’s ok to be nervous – it means you care”.
And it is ok to be nervous because it does mean you care. But, nationally, we have witnessed increased institutionalized support and professional development for teaching assistants. At UNBC we put together our first Teaching Assistant Manual in 2006 (with gracious support from Dalhousie University’s Centre for Learning and Teaching , who gave us permission to use any of their material with appropriate acknowledgements). As you will see, we still use sections of the Dalhousie manual – but this now is our sixth edition!
As noted by the former CTLT Director, William Owen in the fifth edition “this manual is not a policy document, but rather a collection of advice for enhancing teaching excellence at UNBC based on best teaching practices”. This manual is just one site of support. We encourage you to join our workshops, brown bag lunch sessions, become part of our TA Certificate Program, as well as take advantage of the expertise and support of your supervisor and graduate student community.
The TA Manual is also a ‘living document’. The contents of this document, now housed on a blog are subject to change. To that end, we invite you to provide any feedback you might have about the Manual. All comments, concern and suggestions for new content are invited.
I would also like to thank the amazing CTLT staff, faculty and student assistants who worked to create this edition of the TA Manual. In particular, I want to acknowledge the hard work (and good cheer) of the editors. This is a document edited and managed by graduate students for graduate students and teaching assistants.
We all hope that you will find this TA Manual to be useful in your role as a Teaching Assistant at UNBC.
If you have any questions or comments about teaching and learning at UNBC, please feel free to contact me.