Leading a TA Workshop Overview
As you gain TA experience, you may find that you are in a great position to bring together your fellow TA's to talk about different challenges and issues that will inevitably arise for any teacher. As a Mentor or Head TA, you might have a more formal role and lead regular meetings or workshops for these TA's. These workshops can be most productive if you have a clear purpose and choose a topic that is most relevant to the TA's in your department.
There are many different topics that you might consider, but think about which one will best address the specific needs of your department. Some ideas include:
What are the best strategies for presenting section or lab material in our department? Does your department use group work, projects, hands-on activities? Have TA's think about how to get students more engaged in their sections.
Effective Office Hours:
How can we make Office Hours or Review Sessions most helpful for our students? What are common student questions that come up and how have you answered them?
Discuss key university policies (such as OAE, Sexual Harrassment, and/or Honor Code) and example cases that may be particularly relevant to your department.
How can we grade problem sets, exams, lab reports, (or whatever your TA's might need to grade...) consistently and efficiently?
How can I get more feedback from my students and use it to improve my teaching? This may be a great launching point to help TA's set up mid-quarter evaluations. Afterwards, everyone can come back together in another workshop to discuss what to do with this feedback.
TA's are in a new position of authority and often find that there are many challenges in setting appropriate boundaries with their students, as they are so close in age - or may even be fellow graduate students! How can TA's maintain clear boundaries, especially with all the social media these days? How should TA's interact with Faculty instructors?
Balancing Research and Teaching:
How do you manage to balance your own coursework with teaching and research responsibilities? New teachers often spend too much time preparing, but how do you know when you have spent enough? How can you make the most efficient use of your time?
You can find dozens of additional workshop ideas here.
If you would ever like assistance planning a workshop, please don't hesitate to contact CTL - we are happy to lend our experitise. To have a professional CTL consultant work with you to develop the workshop your department needs, contact the appropriate Associate Director for your disciplinary area:
- Humanities: Mariatte Denman, Ph.D., firstname.lastname@example.org
- Sciences and Engineering: Gloriana Trujillo, Ph.D., email@example.com
- Social Sciences: Jennifer Randall Crosby, Ph.D., firstname.lastname@example.org