FAQs for new TAs
1. I will be a TA next year. What can I expect?
Your first year as a TA will be an exciting and busy time. Before the quarter begins, you will be required to participate in at least two TA orientations -- a university-wide orientation and a departmental orientation. You are required to go to both of them, and attendance will be taken. The university-wide orientation runs an entire day, and it includes fundamental information about the university structure and informative workshops about teaching techniques. Each department runs their own orientation program, and these can vary widely in format and substance. Please contact your departmental administrator for more information.
Once the quarter begins, you will meet weekly with your discussion or lab sections. Many departments also have an ongoing TA training program, and you may be required to attend teaching workshops throughout your first year. Many departments also require TAs to have one of their discussion or lab sections videotaped during the first quarter of TAing. After being videotaped, you will be required to have a video consultation with one of TADP's trained peer consultants. Your meeting is confidential and is intended to help you become a more effective TA.
2. I want to have myself video recorded while teaching in section, what should I expect?
You may wish to record yourself, or your department may require you to be recorded. Many departments have instituted this policy because pedagogical research has revealed significant improvements in teaching when instructors are able to see themselves and reflect upon their methodologies. Video remains the best technology for giving instructors a sense of how they come across to their students.
Some TAs become nervous because they do not know what to expect, but the process is relatively simple. As a TA, you schedule a classroom videotaping by contacting email@example.com and providing times you would like to be videotaped. A trained video operator will arrive ten minutes before your class or lab begins and set up the video equipment in a convenient, non-obtrusive place in the room. At the end of the discussion section or lab, the video operator will tell you to wait a few days while they process and upload the recording to the GauchoCast streaming server. Once the recording is ready, you will receive an email with a schedule of consultation times for which you may sign up. More details are in the TA Video Consultation section of this website.
3. What is a video consultation?
A video consultation is the critical second part of your video recording experience. Having a trained and objective person in the room with you can better facilitate your learning from the videotape. Each of our consultants are graduate peers who have been Teaching Assistants for a number of quarters. They have training in video consulting and are able to provide you with some perspective, helpful hints, and constructive criticism.
Each consultation is completely confidential and non-evaluatory. The video consultants will not share any specific information about you with your department. The consultants will sit down with you for about 50 minutes, and you will watch the videotape of your lab or discussion section. They will help you discover areas in which you could improve, but they may also point out things that you already do effectively. After the consultation, you will receive a written summary of the consultation from the peer consultant.
4. Do you have any specific suggestions for TAs in the sciences?
We have several online resources for TAs in the sciences, and we are regularly updating and adding to our internet materials. You can access them by going to the "Tips" page or by clicking here. Do not forget that we have a number of print and video resources at our office in Kerr 1120-Q. To use them, you can set up an appointment by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
5. Do you have any specific suggestions for TAs in the humanities?
We have several online resources for TAs in the humanities, and we are regularly updating and adding to our internet materials. You can access them by going to the Teaching Tips page. Do not forget that we have a number of print and video resources at our office in Kerr 1130. To use them, email email@example.com.
6. What is the Certificate in College and University Teaching (CCUT)?
The UCSB Certificate in College and University Teaching is designed for students who wish to demonstrate superior competence and experience in preparation for teaching at the university or college level. it is awarded in conjunction with a Ph.D. or MFA degree upon recommendation by the CCUT Faculty Advisory Board to the Graduate Dean. For more information, click here.
7. What is is the Summer Teaching Institute for Associates (STIA)?
The Summer Teaching Institute for Associates provides graduate student instructors with a formal pre-summer program designed to assist in the planning and implementation of summer courses. For more information, click here.