Many of today's teaching assistants will become tomorrow's professors. Approximately 60% of all introductory courses taken by first and second year students are taught by graduate teaching assistants. As class sizes increase, teaching assistants will be relied on more to provide support to faculty members. Unfortunately, many graduate teaching assistants (GTAs) feel that they do not receive the necessary support needed to be effective teachers. In order for students to get the most out of these classes, it is imperative to properly train GTAs. Several strategies can be used to help support GTAs. First, it is important to select your teaching assistants as early as possible. This will allow them more time to prepare to teach your classes. The next important step is to provide GTAs with a support structure that includes peers who may be more advanced than them. For example, if there is a large course with several sections, you could appoint a senior GTA that will supervise and coordinate the others. This person can also serve as a liaison between GTAs and faculty. Additionally, a meeting at the beginning of the semester, followed by frequent communication, will help GTAs clarify their roles and ask any questions they may have (Davis, B.G. Tools for Teaching; (Marinovich, Protsko, & Stout, The Professional Development of Graduate Teaching Assistants).
From our library--
Allen, R.R., & Rueter, T. (1990). Teaching assistant strategies: An introduction to college teaching. Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt Publishing.
Lamber, L.M., & Tice, S.L. (1993). Preparing graduate students to teach: A guide to programs that improve undergraduate education and develop tomorrow's faculty. Washington DC: AAHE.
Marincovich, M., Prostko, J., & Stout, F. (1998). The professional development of graduate teaching assistants. Bolton, MA: Anker Publishing.
Nyquist, J.D., Abbott, R.D., Wulff, D.H., & Sprague, J. (1991). Preparing the professoriate of tomorrow to teach. Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt Publishing.
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