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TA Roles and Perspectives

TAs have a variety of perspectives on the role of teaching assistant. Those TAs who have had extensive teaching experience before coming to the United States are often comfortable with the authority that comes with the TA position. However, TAs who have not had previous teaching experience and who are very near the age of their undergraduate students are sometimes uncomfortable with being too much of an authority figure. These TAs tend to become classroom facilitators more than authority figures and may be more friendly with students than TAs who are comfortable with the authority role. However, all TAs need to keep social distance between themselves and their students in order to maintain student respect.

How a TA views his or her role can also depend on personality. Some people are comfortable with a formal style of leadership and use the formal authority of the TA role. Others more naturally use an informal leadership style and view themselves as students helping students. Each TA chooses his or her own style, and defines his or her own role according to personal preferences, the requirements of the course, and instructions given by the professor of record for each course.

Students respond in a comfortable and trusting manner to TAs who are comfortable with themselves and with the way they carry out their role. Since the perspectives on TAing are as varied and individual as the TAs themselves, each TA must work out a suitable and comfortable perspective of the TA role that takes into account the TA's individual personality as well as the expectations of students and professors.

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


TBDoffice manager 1130 Kerr Hall
faxfax: 805-893-5915