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Top Ten To-Do's for New Graduate Assistant Teachers

Top Ten Reminders For New Graduate Assistant Teachers

1. If possible, meet with the former instructors or GAs of your assigned class. They are likely to have valuable advice regarding your responsibilities and may be able to answer many of your questions and concerns.
2. Consult with your faculty advisor before making any major changes to the syllabus or course design.
3. Prior to class, visit your classroom to make sure you are familiar with the technology. Check that your presentations and/or writing on the blackboard can be read from the back of the class.
4. Remember, not all students learn like you. Use a variety of teaching methods in order to engage student learning. The Ellbogen Center for Teaching and Learning offers a variety of workshops and has instructional designers who can help with teaching methods.
5. Reflect (through journaling or in dialogue with others) after each class about what went well and what you might do differently next time.
6. Consider developing a short early/mid-term evaluation to give to students. This feedback will let you know what is going well and what areas require further work. The Ellbogen Center for Teaching and Learning can also assist with this.
7. If you are grading papers, develop grading rubrics in conjunction with the instructor of record and share them with your students. This helps students understand your expectations and will reduce their anxiety. It also helps you to be consistent and fair in your grading practices. For more information on grading rubrics, see Introduction to Rubrics by Stevens and Levi, available in the ECTL Library.
8. Being nervous is natural. Coming to class prepared can help ease this a bit. And remember, in all likelihood, you know more than the students.
9. Model professional behavior. Students will treat you with the same regard that you offer to them. Mutually respectful behavior leads to a trusting environment and promotes learning.
10. Continue to develop yourself as an instructor by attending the ECTL GA workshop series.

Read or join the ECTL book club to discuss, First Day to Final Grade: A Graduate Student’s Guide to Teaching (Curzan & Damour, 2011)

Check out the following links for further helpful hints for graduate assistants:
Tips for the First time Graduate Student Instructor
10 Helpful Tips for New Graduate Teaching Assistants
UW LeaRN teaching guides

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