College teaching assistants are an essential part of the collegiate experience. They support professors, grade papers, and help students in many other ways. Though their job duties may vary depending on the college, they work for. But what is the most important responsibility of a TA? Some would say it is helping students learn. Others might say it is making sure that grades are fair. Still, others might say that it is managing the class well. What do you think?
What is a Teaching Assistant?
A teaching assistant is an individual who provides support to a teacher in a classroom setting. In some cases, they may also be responsible for teaching part of the class. Teaching assistants are often graduate students or recent graduates pursuing a career in education. The duties of a teaching assistant vary depending on the job, but they all require a commitment to helping students learn.
There are many different teaching assistant positions available, depending on the school’s needs. Some teaching assistants work with special needs students, while others may teach English as a second language. There are also positions available in early childhood education and adult education.
What Are the Benefits of Being a Teaching Assistant in College?
Teaching assistants are an important part of the college experience. But teaching assistantship isn’t just a job for undergrads; it can also be a great opportunity for graduate students. Here are five benefits of being a teaching assistant in college:
You’ll Gain Valuable Experience Working With Students
As a teaching assistant, you will gain first-hand experience working with students in a classroom setting. This is an important job that helps professors manage large classes and allows you to help students one-on-one. TAs often grade papers and offer feedback to better understand what professors are looking for in their grading.
You’ll Learn How to Manage a Classroom
As a teaching assistant, you will be responsible for helping the professor manage the classroom and prepare lesson plans. This is a great way to learn how to effectively manage a class and plan engaging and informative lessons. You will also gain first-hand experience dealing with different types of students and learning styles. Teaching can be a demanding profession, but it is also incredibly rewarding.
You’ll Get to Know Your Professors Better and Build Relationships With Them
When you become a teaching assistant, you’ll have the opportunity to get to know your professors better and build relationships with them. These connections can be helpful when it comes time to ask for recommendations or advice. Teaching assistantships provide valuable experience in the classroom and can also be a great way to learn more about your field of study. Plus, you’ll gain important communication and organizational skills that will be useful in any career.
You’ll Earn Money While You’re in School
Teaching assistantships are paid positions that are typically available to graduate students. As a teaching assistant, you would be responsible for tasks like leading discussions, grading assignments, and providing student feedback. This can be a great way to gain experience in the classroom while also earning some extra money. According to the website Indeed, the average salary of a Teaching Assistant in the United States is $14.42 per hour.
You May Be Able to Take Advantage of Tuition Remission Benefits
Many college students are unaware of the tuition remission benefits that may be available to them. Tuition remission is a type of financial aid that allows students to have their tuition waived or receive a reduced rate. Teaching assistants are often eligible for this type of aid. If you are a teaching assistant, it is well worth your time to check with your school’s financial aid office to see if you qualify for tuition remission benefits. This can be a great way to reduce the cost of your education.
One school that offers this type of aid is the San Jose State University in California. In order for their TA to received one must meet the following criteria:
- Must be enrolled in a minimum of three units of coursework in a semester
- Employed as a Teaching Assistant
- Must be in “classified status” or in a probationary status
If you meet the above requirements, you can submit the Teaching Associate Fee Waiver Application form to receive the said cash aid.
What is the Role of a Teaching Assistant in College?
What does a TA do in college? There are several different roles that a teaching assistant can play in college. A teaching assistant, or TA, may lead discussion sections, grade papers, and assist professors in other ways. In some cases, TAs are given their classes to teach.
Evaluation of Examinations and Assignments
Evaluating students’ work is an essential responsibility for any teaching assistant. This process allows TAs to give feedback that can help improve students’ understanding of the material. In addition, grading papers and exams can also help to identify areas where students are struggling.
As such, TAs should take care to provide accurate and constructive feedback. When giving grades, TAs should also be fair and consistent. This ensures that students know what to expect and can trust that their grades accurately reflect their performance.
Keeping Files and Records
The teaching assistant may also be responsible for maintaining files and records. This can include keeping track of student attendance, grades, and class materials. This is essential work, as it helps to ensure that students are held accountable for their attendance and performance in class.
It can also be helpful to have accurate records if there are any questions or concerns about a particular student’s progress. The teaching assistant should keep all documents organized and up to date so they are easily accessible when needed.
As a teaching assistant, one of your responsibilities may be to take attendance. This can involve simply keeping track of who is present in each class, or it may also include reporting absences to the professor. Either way, accurate attendance is vital to maintaining an effective learning environment.
When students know their attendance is being tracked, they are more likely to attend class regularly. This, in turn, allows them to stay caught up on coursework and avoid falling behind. Additionally, taking attendance can help professors identify students who may be struggling academically and in need of extra assistance.
Preparing the Classroom for the Lesson
Before the professor enters the classroom, the TA is responsible for preparing the space. This can involve setting up the desks and chairs in an arrangement that suits the professor’s preference and placing any materials that will be used during the lesson within easy reach.
In addition, the TA should make sure that the room is tidy and free of distractions. This includes straightening loose papers and ensuring that any overhead projector is turned on and working correctly. By taking care of these details, the TA can help to ensure that the lesson runs smoothly.
Leading Discussion Sections
One of the critical responsibilities of a teaching assistant is leading discussion sections. This involves facilitating discussions, answering questions from students, and providing feedback on student participation. Leading a discussion section can be challenging, but it is also an excellent opportunity to build relationships with students and help them learn.
When preparing for a discussion section, it is vital to create an outline of the topics that will be covered. This will help to keep the discussion focused and on track. It is also essential to be familiar with the material to answer any questions.
Supervising Group Projects
The teaching assistant can help ensure the project is completed by providing support and guidance. When it comes to group projects, the teaching assistant may be responsible for supervising the project from start to finish. This can include monitoring the project’s progress and providing feedback to the group on their work.
Sometimes, the teaching assistant may also be responsible for grading the project. When supervising a group project, it is essential to be clear about expectations and deadlines. The teaching assistant should also be available to answer any questions that the group may have.
Working With the Principal Instructor to Oversee Class Scheduling
As a teaching assistant, you may be responsible for working with the principal instructor to oversee the class schedule. This can include assisting with developing the class schedule and ensuring that the classes are held correctly and in the right locations.
In some cases, you may also be responsible for arranging substitutions for absent instructors or rescheduling classes that conflict with other events. By working closely with the principal instructor, you can help to ensure that the class schedule runs smoothly and that all students have the opportunity to receive a high-quality education.
How Do You Become a TA in College?
To become a teaching assistant in college, you typically need to have a degree in the field you will be assisting in teaching. In addition, you need to have the requirements below.
Complete an Internship as a Teaching Assistant
Many colleges require that potential teaching assistants complete an internship as teaching assistants before they are hired. This allows the department to get to know you and your abilities and will let you see if you genuinely enjoy working with students in a college setting.
Take Any Tests Required in Your State for Teaching Assistant Certification
In some states, teaching assistants must take a test to receive a certification. For example, in New York, an aspiring TA must first pass the New York State Assessment of Teaching Assistant Skills Test (NYSATAS). In addition to that test, applicants also need to complete the complete the Child Abuse Identification, School Violence Prevention and Intervention, and Dignity for All Students Act (DASA) workshops. Then they can apply for a certification for Teaching Assistant.
Apply for Your Teaching Assistant Certification
Depending on the state where you plan to work as a teaching assistant, the process for applying for your certification may vary. One example is in the State of Arizona. Applicants must pass one of the three examinations which are the ETS ParaPro assessment, the ACT Workkeys exam or the Master Teacher’s ParaEducator PD Now exam.
Once you have cleared this hurdle, you must apply to the state licensing board. Along with your application, you will likely need to provide transcripts and other documentation proving that you have met the requirements for this position. You should be issued your teaching assistant certification if everything is in order.
Begin Applying to Open Teaching Assistant Positions
Once you have your teaching assistant license, you can begin applying to open teaching assistant positions. Many colleges post these positions on their website such as the Cerritos Community College in California, so check the websites of the colleges you are interested in working at.
The above steps are typically required to become a teaching assistant in college. However, requirements may vary by state and college, so check with the specific school you are interested in working at.
Do You Get Paid to Be a TA in College?
As a teaching assistant, you will be responsible for working with professors, grading papers, administering exams, and handling other tasks. In return for your services, you will be paid an hourly wage. As of today, $17,695 is the average salary of TAs. While this may be the updated average salary, these figures may change due to numerous essential criteria that can cause salary ranges to differ significantly.
Education is one of the primary drivers of salary for a TA. Those who have completed a degree will earn salaries at the top of the range. In contrast, those working towards a degree or who have not yet completed their undergraduate studies will earn salaries at the bottom of the range. In addition, certifications and other skills can also lead to higher wages. For example, TAs who are certified or have experience working in a laboratory will earn more than those who do not have these credentials.
Finally, the years spent in a job can also impact earnings. TAs with more experience can often command higher salaries than those just starting out in their careers. As a result, there is a wide range of potential earnings for TAs depending on their qualifications and experience.
Wrapping Things Up: What Do College TAs Do?
If you are passionate about teaching and working with students, then becoming a teaching assistant in college may be the perfect career. Being a teaching assistant in college can be a gratifying experience. It allows you to help professors and students, develop valuable skills, and potentially advance your career.
Follow the steps above to get started on your path to becoming a teaching assistant. If you are considering becoming a TA, consider weighing all the pros and cons before making your decision.