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TA positions - what do TAs teach?

Posted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 4:38 pm
by mattlight
I'm going to a small school where we don't have TAs teaching any of our classes, and so I don't have any idea what graduate students might teach as teaching assistants, especially their first or second years as a grad student. Is it mostly labs / discussion sessions, or do grad students teach full physics classes (even upper levels)?

Re: TA positions - what do TAs teach?

Posted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 5:58 pm
by bfollinprm
Labs and discussion sections. Most (all?) schools will require a masters degree at the least to be the principle instructor for a course. There is a possibility that at larger schools you can get a 'TA' position as an instructor after your second year or so, but only if you ask for it.

Re: TA positions - what do TAs teach?

Posted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 5:31 am
by Andromeda
I've done it at two institutions, at the first I did one semester TAing intro mechanics (for pre-med students, that was a riot), the second I got to do the senior lab for 3rd years which was a lot more fun and easy cause a lot less hand-holding was involved.

Now that I'm in an astro dept I do 3rd year labs, basically help students run the campus observatory for their projects- good fun except for how you need to be "on call" for clear weather some nights! This June I'm TAing the prep work part of a course that takes students to the Canary Islands for their observations- fingers crossed they have room for the TA. 8)