Making initial contact

It is imperative for the success of TAs that the instructor contact their TA(s) as soon as they are assigned to the course. Contacting them early and offering to meet before the course begins will help alleviate many fears and anxieties.

To get a sense of the type of experience a TA has, consider sending the following questionnaire before your initial meeting:

  1. Have you had any formal course work or training in how to teach?
    • If yes, how long did that training last? What did your training cover?
  2. Have you had any past teaching experience?
    • If yes, at what levels have you taught?
    • For how many years have you taught?
  3. In thinking about upcoming TA assignments, what are the three biggest concerns you have?
    • What students will think of me
    • Preparing for class
    • Establishing and maintaining credibility
    • Getting content across to students
    • How to grade students
    • Understanding what is expected of me
    • Teaching in English or with students who have a different education culture from my own
    • Managing time effectively
    • Handling potential conflicts with students
    • Doing a good job
    • Encouraging students to think
    • Mastering content well enough to teach
    • Working with students of diverse backgrounds

After initial contact has been made, make sure to set up an in-person meeting with course TAs to overview expectations and responsibilities that the TA will have throughout the semester.