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The keys to success as a teaching assistant

The keys to success as a teaching assistant

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The keys to success as a teaching assistant

  1. 1. The Keys to Success as a Teaching Assistant Presented by Amy Hollingsworth The University of Akron
  2. 2. Who am I? • Undergrad in Biology, Masters in Education, PhD in Secondary Education with an emphasis on STEM Education • Six years as a Biology Laboratory Coordinator • Trained and worked with over 150 graduate TAs
  3. 3. First things first. What should I call my advisor and co-workers? • Professor, Instructor, Mr., Miss, Dr., just ask. • Err on the side of formality, until you are told otherwise. • Good questions to ask as you get to know your peers and mentors – What is your research interest? Where are you from originally? What do you like to do in your spare time? (usually met with laughter)
  4. 4. Why am I here? • Student, teacher, and something in between • Socialization • Professional Development • Becoming a teaching assistant entails learning and performing tasks, the acquisition and nurturing of relationships with mentors and new colleagues, and the early stages of developing an individualized approach to teaching
  5. 5. And Research has Shown.. • Graduate Students' Teaching Experiences Improve Their Methodological Research Skills.
  6. 6. Things to ask your department • How do I go about… • balancing graduate school and teaching, • giving and accepting criticism, • handling upset students, • classroom ethics, • appropriateness of making exceptions to rules, • saying "no" to students, • establishing authority.
  7. 7. Shifting thoughts • Perry (1968) describes an individual's development as moving away from a "right/wrong“ dichotomous approach, to a formulation, recognition, and commitment to one's personal perspective amongst of opinion
  8. 8. Record everything • Keep good notes • Journaling or blogging • Zotero or RefWorks • Evernote, Google Groups/Sites • Scan and enter every slip of paper • Keep your CV up to date • Record other TAs, practice your teaching, record yourself
  9. 9. Working with Your Advisor • Ask EXACTLY what is expected of you – – time in lab, – time teaching, – time writing – Ask about formats – Your advisor is trying to juggle teaching, research, and service with a life – don’t take their moods personally
  10. 10. Find a Mentor • Even if no one is “assigned” to you • Ask your advisor for a peer mentor • Surround yourself with success
  11. 11. Embrace things that are uncomfortable • When things feel uncomfortable to you, there is a reason why. • Dialogue with yourself • Look for understanding • Try new things – even outside your field • Talk to everyone – you never know when the AHA! moment might be.
  12. 12. Students • Experience with students will be completely different than your own journey • Diversity is more than just nationality, ethnicity, or skin color. • EVERYONE has a different story, a different journey, and a different viewpoint. That doesn’t make them wrong, it makes the different!
  13. 13. The Future Professoriate • Graduate students may be described as the "ambassadors of our disciplines"( Nyquist and Wulff 1996) • Go forth, and make your discipine proud!

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