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TA Duties and Responsibilities

TAs are usually under the direct supervision of the professor of record for the course in which the TA is assigned. Most colleges and universities have general guidelines (written or unwritten) for the number of hours a TA is expected to spend on teaching duties including class preparation, in class teaching and office hours for students. Twenty hours a week may be the average amount of time TAs devote to their teaching duties although more hours may be needed around exam time and less hours at the beginning of the quarter or semester.

The nature of each academic discipline is such that duties for TAs within departments vary. Each professor has specific expectations of TAs. Some professors expect TAs to lecture to students, others expect TAs to hold discussions so that students have an opportunity to apply what they have learned. TAs in some courses may have to prepare and give weekly quizzes. TAs are usually required to grade exams and may be asked to assist in writing examination questions for the midterms and finals.

Not all professors clearly explain what they expect of their TAs. Therefore, it is important for TAs to talk with the professor they are assisting in order to clearly understand the professor 's expectations. Rather than explaining their expectations to TAs, professors often expect their TAs to ask questions and seek clarification as the need arises. In fact, many professors believe that if a TA does not ask questions, it means that the TA understands exactly what is expected of him or her and no further information is offered by the professor (Paulston & Schapper, 1977). Thus, it becomes the TA's responsibility to contact the professor for clarification and to check his/her perceptions about how the professor wants specific situations handled.

Some professors give TAs a great deal of direction and assistance while others believe that the TA needs to learn by making his/her own decisions and mistakes. It is helpful to talk with TAs who have previously taught a particular course with a particular professor.

consultation contacts

George Michaelsexecutive director2130 Kerr Hall
lisa berrysenior instructional consultant1130 Kerr Hall
mindy colininstructional consultant1130 Kerr Hall
Mary Lou Ramos database and ESCI administrator1130 Kerr Hall
TBD ESCI assistant1124 Kerr Hall


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