By Christine Rossi
Generally speaking, when one thinks about life as a teaching assistant (TA) one can assume that it is quite simple – he or she assists the professor in various tasks and responsibilities pertaining to the course materials at hand – nothing more, nothing less. Well, that is precisely what I thought…
This preconceived notion quickly changed when I accepted my first position as a TA in Women’s Studies. I quickly came to the realization that this “role” goes much deeper than simply acting as an assistant to a professor, believe me! It is one of the most challenging and rewarding positions one can hope for.
My challenges include managing my time and schedule appropriately. My grading and teaching responsibilities always seem to peak at the same time as my other obligations in the courses I am enrolled in so, to avoid feeling anxious and overwhelmed, I try to always stay at least one step ahead in my duties. In addition to these challenges, one of the responsibilities I have is to address students’ questions and concerns regarding course content. By doing this, I discover that I gain a deeper
understanding of the materials as well.
To me, the rewarding aspects of being a TA are endless. For starters you learn leadership skills, communication skills, and problem solving skills. Above all else, being able to help just one student understand a concept of a particular lesson plan is one of the most fulfilling experiences I have had as a TA.
At the end of the day I am incredibly grateful for being hired as a TA because every new challenge I encounter widens my eyes and deepens my knowledge.