TA Orientation

TAs at the outdoor TA Orientation breakfast

Teaching at Stanford: An Orientation for Teaching Assistants

Each year, on the Friday before classes begin in Autumn Quarter, VPTL presents a TA Orientation for all who will be TAing in the coming year.

2015 TA ORIENTATION: Friday, Sept. 18!

This TA Orientation is the only one offered for the academic year, so be sure to attend no matter what quarter you'll be teaching. Experienced TAs are welcome, too!

It generally begins with breakfast at 7:30 and continues with talks and small workshops until 12:00 noon. Read the story of the 2014 Orientation. Here are the workshops and handouts from 2014.

Grad students at outdoor breakfast for TA Orientation9:00 Session:

  • Classroom Expectations at Stanford (hear from real TAs and students) - Hewlett 201
  • The First Day: Starting Off Right - Hewlett 101  First Day Handout
  • Leading Discussions in Science and Engineering - Hewlett 102  Sci/Eng Discussions Handout
  • Leading Discussions in Humanities and Social Sciences - Hewlett 103 Hum/SS Discussions Handout
  • Major Stanford Policies every TA Should Know (Honor Code, sexual harassment, accessibility guidelines) - video and Q&A session - Hewlett 200  HONOR CODE FOR FACULTY AND TAS

10:00 Session:

11:00 Session:

  • Teaching in the U.S. Classroom: Advice for International TAs - Gates B12 International Handout
  • Common Classroom Challenges - Hewlett 101
  • Grading Papers and Essays - Hewlett 102
  • Grading Problem Sets, Labs, and Exams - Hewlett 103 Grading Psets Handout  Schinske Paper Handout
  • Effective Lectures and Presentations - Hewlett 201

Can't attend TA Orientation? 

Try these options:

  1. Read the handouts in the schedule above.
  2. See the report of the 2013 TA Orientation, which includes a lot of the material presented.
  3. Watch this video on key Stanford policies: "Major Policies & Practices Every TA Should Know" [20 min].
  4. View the TA Orientation 2012 video.
  5. To get event notices and teaching reminders, join our mailing list TA News from CTL.
  6. Scroll down this page for more printable resources for new TAs.

Getting Started as a Successful TA

TAs in a workshop, discussing, smilingStarting anything new is a challenge. Being successful at a new endeavor requires a combination of skills, knowledge, and the right attitude, as well as access to supportive resources. This set of handouts will arm you with some of the best tools we know of for more effective teaching. Once you’ve digested this, please take advantage of Stanford’s and VPTL’s many other resources for improving your teaching, outlined in Teaching Commons, and the offerings of your department.