Serving as a teaching assistant develops graduate students' teaching skills, broadens their general knowledge, allows them to explore a topic peripheral to their theses, develops a weak area, and even prepares them for their PhD qualifying exam.
Some TAs serve in a teaching capacity; others strictly mark assignments and proctor exams. Grad students can inquire about the nature of a TAship by contacting the course instructor or by talking with experienced TAs.
TAs who are assigned to undergraduate courses usually have a combination of the following responsibilities:
- attend every lab of the course or appoint a replacement (with the instructor's OK)
- become familiar with the lab material before the lab session
- take specimens required for the lab out of storage and organize them for use during the lab
- prepare and present an introduction to the lab if required
- help students understand lab material by asking and answering questions
- clean up the lab at the end of the lab period and store all materials to assist in administering course evaluations
- photocopy teaching materials for the instructor to help in the preparation of teaching materials
- correct and grade assignments, mid-term exams and finals
- help proctor mid-term exams and in-house finals
Teaching assistantships are available on an application basis and require approximately 80 hours of work over the semester. For more information about teaching assistantships, please see the EPS Graduate Guide.