Thursday, October 01, 2009

Teaching Assistant Life

So, I'm finally living the life of a graduate teaching assistant. I was a teaching assistant as an undergraduate, but had not yet been one as a grad student. It's actually great, because my responsibilities are much higher level than they were as an undergraduate.

It could have been a horrible TA semester though; there are 42 people in the class and I'm the only TA. Can you imagine the grading? I can, since I graded as an undergraduate. But as an undergraduate we had multiple people grading for that same size class! It would have been horrible. Luckily, another graduate student is getting paid to grade 10 hrs/wk, so I have little to no grading to do.

That means I have more time for the more interesting aspects of being a TA! I am creating the homeworks, I'll create the midterm, and I might even create the final. I also had to create the answer keys, which were a decent amount of work themselves, but at least mostly done in the creation of the homework (I don't want to give impossible problems!). I'm also giving multiple lectures, with the first one being next week. Unfortunately that lecture is on a topic I'm not particularly comfortable with, but I know I can ramp up in time to teach it. The series of lectures I'm giving later in the semester will at least be things I know relatively well already.

Happily, I'm getting lots of great experience this semester. Sadly, it is time consuming even when I'm not doing the 20 hrs/wk I'm paid for! Just a little bit of a peek into the life of faculty, I think.

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