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Supervising Teaching Assistants (TAs)

  • Have clear expectations about their job requirements. How many hours a week are they expected to work? Do they need to have office hours? If so, when and how many?
  • What types of decisions can they make in their classes? For example, can they amend the syllabus, the handouts, or the course policies?
  • Meet with your T.A.s on a regular basis. Many departments have weekly or bi-weekly meetings so that instructions can be given and questions can be answered. Instructors of labs, for instance, may walk through the entire lab for the T.A.s and explain what the common problems are that can occur in that particular lab. Also, be sure to explain what the objective of each lesson. Oftentimes T.A.s are good at teaching the lesson, but need help from their course coordinator to be able to explain the relevance of a topic and why it is being taught.
  • Observe your T.A.s at least once during the semester to give them feedback on how they’re doing.
  • Have an open-door policy so that T.A.s who are having problems in their class can come to you for advice.
  • Have your T.A.s who are in charge of recitation or lab sections attend the lectures given in the course so they know what was said and can build on that information.
  • Meet with your T.A.s who will be doing the grading and give them specific grading rubrics to use to mark the homework or assignments. Are they to mark on the papers? How much? Or how little? Having a training session will make the semester’s grading much more fair and consistent.
  • If you have an international T.A. who is having trouble with the language, find out where to get them some help. At Purdue, you can contact the English as a Second Language Program in Heavilon Hall at 494-3769.