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

Top Ten To-Do’s For New Graduate Assistant Teachers

1) Determine the curriculum of the students in your class. Are you teaching Majors or Non-Majors? Does this class have prerequisites? Is this class a prerequisite for future classes? Know which of the student learning outcomes are vital to future classes.

2) If appropriate, ask your Faculty supervisor to look over your syllabus and ensure that all pertinent information is available. Remember that you will be required to hold Office Hours.

3) If possible, meet with the former instructors/G.A.s 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.

4) If lecturing, make sure that lectures are prepared well in advance. Rehearse timing. Give yourself 60 minutes before every class to review your notes. Students value a prepared instructor.

5) Solicit student questions. Consider using a “Muddiest Point” or a “Minute Paper” at the end of each class period and then address confusion at the beginning of the next class period (see Classroom Assessment Techniques by Angelo and Cross, available in the ECTL Library, for further suggestions on formative assessment). This can also be a useful strategy to employ prior to office hours, and will give you time to prepare your answers.

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.

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. See Introduction to Rubrics by Stevens and Levi, available in the ECTL Library.

8) Visit your classroom and check that your PowerPoint slides and/or writing on the blackboard can be read from the back of the class.

9) If you have duties that involve other types of instructional support, contact the Instructor of Record as soon as possible to set up a planning meeting and make sure that you understand your role and responsibilities.

10) 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.


Last, but not least, taking advantage of the ECTL seminars, resources, and services available to you.


*Adapted from the Institute for Learning and Teaching, Colorado State University

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