Home » Higher Education » Letting Go: Teaching Assistants

Letting Go: Teaching Assistants

This term I did something that I haven’t done before, I am trusting the Teaching Assistants as a group to run workshops and formulate possible mid-term questions. At first it gave me pause, but now it feels quite liberating to offer them this opportunity. I haven’t heard any negative feedback from the first workshop, so I assume that it went well.

And, the students barely had access to the working mid-term questions, so we’ll see what they think of the exam. My philosophy (still) with the TA’s is that they are an apprentice role. This letting go might really be based on the fact that four of my 6 TAs have worked with me before and that I feel comfortable with their work ethic and their knowledge of the material. I’m not sure. But, I do realize that part of our working relationship is to mentor them. What better way, than offering them some more autonomy.

Sure, I’ll still provide grading keys and answer any questions as needed in the hallway, my office, via email as this is part of the deal. But, I will also look to more chances for them to take a leadership role with the students’ learning. I want these TAs to share my excitement with working with students. It’s such an important part of our work and we cannot privilege research–here is their chance to decide if this entire academic “thing” is for them.

I just hope that the next batch of TAs are as good as this current one. Fingers crossed.

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