4.5. Suggestions From Good Teachers
Tips to TAs from Good Teachers
Be professional. TAing a course is a professional job, and is an
important part of the university's and department's mission. It is
not just a way to earn money or something that might look good on a
Treat all students with respect and strive to help all of them to
learn. All the students registered for the course have a right to be
there -- not just the smartest or the most forthcoming or those whom
you get along with best.
Be enthusiastic! Let the students know you want to be there, and you
want to work with them. Let them know that they're important and that
you care about what they have to say and how they do in the class.
Draw energy and enthusiasm from students who are engaged in the
subject and then try to give back some of that to other students
who are less engaged.
Be realistic about how quickly students can pick up new material.
You know more about the material than the students, so realize
that even though it may be simple for you, it may not be easy
for students learning it for the first time.
Listen to what you're saying from the students' points of view and
adjust accordingly. Because they have a very different experience and
knowledge to draw on, what you say is not always what students hear.
Prepare for class! It's not enough to be expert on a subject. You
have to be able to teach the subject to others who are less
interested, motivated, knowledgeable than you. That means you must
carefully think through not only what you'll do in class but HOW
you'll do it.
Encourage questioning, both verbally and non-verbally. Help
students ask the right questions. Model good questioning and
Get feedback from students to gauge whether what you are doing is
effective or not.
Don't rush to fill in the next segment of the class or move on to the
next point. When you ask questions in class, wait
several seconds for a response.
If you don't know something, don't bluff. Admit you don't know and
find out for the next class.