Time Expectations

Teaching assistants who have a 50% time appointment are expected to work 20 hours per week. If there is no grading involved in any given week, however, you will be working much less than this, averaging perhaps 10-15 hours a week. Bank your hours on lighter weeks so as to handle heavier grading weeks down the road. Keep a personal record of how many hours you work per week, specifying what you did for each hour. Here are guidelines for the distribution of your workload:

  • Attending lecture: 2 hours
  • Teaching recitation: 3 hours
  • Holding office hours: 1 hours 
  • Meeting time with instructor: 1 hour  
  • Grading: 6 hours
  • Preparation for recitation: 2-3 hours
  • Email communication with students: 2 hours
  • Other course activities, as requested by the instructor: 1 hour 
  • TOTAL: 20 hours

Note that a TA with a 35% appointment is expected to work 14 hours per week. If you have a 35% appointment, you can derive an approximate workload distribution by multiplying the above non-lecture time estimates by .7. A TA with a 35% appointment is expected to hold 1.5 office hours per week. A TA with a 15% appointment is expected to hold 1 office hour per week. 

Lecture Expectations

  1. Attend each lecture and take good notes so that you can go over the lecture material in detail in recitation or in office hours. Be sure to take good notes even if you know the material so that you can keep track of what the students have been exposed to. If for some reason you must miss lecture, be sure to let the instructor know; you will need to go over the lecture materials and/or get briefed by a fellow TA before your office hours and recitation. You must read all of the required readings before coming to lecture.
  2. The instructor might ask you to come up with a few questions for quizzes and exams. If you are asked to submit questions, you must do so. You must also test-run or proofread exams as requested.
  3. Your course instructor may struggle with technology in the classroom--whether they're setting up for lecture under severe time pressure or delivering a hybrid-modality class, which might require them to monitor the Zoom chat while interacting with an in-person audience. Even if instructors don't ask for tech help, they will likely gratefully receive any tech assistance from their TAs offer in the classroom. 

Recitation Expectations

Instructors may have specific instructions regarding the content or structure of recitations which will be discussed in the weekly TA meeting.

  1. In recitation, it is generally useful to go over keywords and concepts presented in lecture and to address student questions (if they are relevant to the full class; more individual questions should be addressed in office hours).
  2. Look over the syllabus at the beginning of each week to see the outlines of what you will need to accomplish in recitation. If the course instructor provides you with materials (e.g., Powerpoint slides, exercises, handouts) for recitation, make sure that you present those to students. Ask the instructor how much time they think should be allocated to each such item. If you were unable to present everything that the instructor provided to you in a given week, let the instructor know. 
  3. If asked to do so by the instructor, create your own presentation of lecture concepts or other relevant materials of your own choosing to present to each recitation. Your presentation should reinforce the keywords and concepts from each lecture. Each recitation section should view the same presentation.
  4. Track the attendance and participation of each student for the ‘recitation grade’.
  5. Use the full 50-minute session each week. Do not cancel your or let your recitation out early unless all of the TAs have been given that instruction by the instructor.
  6. If you have to miss a recitation or switch recitations with another TA for any reason, you must notify the instructor in advance. 

Grading Expectations

  1. You are responsible for the grades of all of your recitation students. But also be sure to keep a copy of all of the grades offline, in case Canvas loses data for some reason.
  2. You are responsible for entering grades on Canvas in a timely fashion and for returning graded assignments in a timely fashion, as defined by the instructor.
  3.  Guidelines for grading need to be as consistent as possible across sections.
  4. You must grade everything you are asked to grade.
  5. Do not make ‘deals’ with students regarding late assignments, extra credit, grades, etc. Students who have concerns about these matters should be directed to speak with the instructor. 

General Expectations

  1. The instructor expects you to be positive and enthusiastic with your students about the course, the readings, and the lecture material presented in class. If you disagree with what was said in lecture or how the instructor taught a particular linguistic or cultural issue, discuss these disagreements with the instructor, not your students or other TAs. If there is an issue that cannot be resolved with the instructor, talk with the Department chair or course mentor about it.
  2. It is fine for you to establish a nice rapport with your students, but it is not appropriate for you to try to be your students’ best friend. Never sacrifice the integrity of the grading scheme or alter deadlines in order to win the approval of your students.
  3. Professional and respectful conduct is expected at all times. Respect is, of course, a two-way street. While you are responsible for ensuring that your classroom is a safe, inclusive and supportive environment for all students, your students are obligated to treat you courteously and express disagreements with you or fellow students in a civil way. If a student is disruptive in your classroom (e.g., a student talks while you're talking), you can ask the student to stop. If the disruptive behavior does not stop, you have the right to exclude the student from your classroom until further notice. In such cases, report what has occurred to the instructor or course supervisor as soon as possible, so that they can find an appropriate resolution. 
  4. Graduate instructors, like full-time faculty, are reporting authorities. This means that you have a responsibility to inform OIEC if you are made aware of any form of harrassment, discrimination or sexual misconduct, regardless of when or where the incident occurred, to ensure that the individuals impacted receive information about their rights, support resources, and resolution options. To learn more about reporting and support options for a variety of concerns, visit Don’t Ignore It.
  5. If you are a TA, you are encouraged to create a recitation syllabus establishing student responsibilities and expectations for your recitations.