Fall GA Orientation

Document Sample
Fall GA Orientation Powered By Docstoc
					   Fall GTA Orientation
for Students with Laboratory Assignments

 Jacquelyn R. Duke, Ph.D.
        Fall 2007
    How to be an effective GTA
•   Definition
•   “Big Picture”
•   Major Duties
•   Tools and Resources
•   Helpful Hints
•   Pitfalls and Common Issues
•   Additional Useful Info
•   Training Opportunities

Panel Discussion
Training Presentation
• GTA – Graduate Teaching Assistant
  – Funded by Dept.
  – Assist in undergraduate courses
  – Sciences – usually refers to teaching of labs
• GRA – Graduate Research Assistant
  – funded by research grant
  – Assist major advisor in research, or funded to
    conduct own research
            “Big Picture”
The greater your satisfaction with your
 job responsibilities, the more effective
       you will be as an instructor

• What’s in it for “me”?
• What if I have no previous experience?
                  Major Duties
• Lab Prep
  – May or may not required
  – Make it your policy to be as much a part of the set
    up as you can – it will only make you a more
    informed GTA
• Conducting Lab Exercises
  – Clearly define your role
• Lab Clean up
  – Again, will depend on your assignment
  – Observe all safety precautions before disposing of
    any chemicals and/or organic material!
               Major Duties

• Maintain Office Hours
  – How many??
  – Outside of lecture times!
  – Post your office hours
  – Office hours are held in grad student offices
                Major Duties
• Grading
  – Remember that confidentiality rules apply!
  – Clarify expectations with professor
  – Choose a level of feedback appropriate to the
  – Schedule time for grading
  – Make comments clear and organized
  – Report regularly to the professor
                 Major Duties
• Attending weekly meetings
  – Be prompt!
  – Come prepared
  – Speak up if you feel you’re deficient
     • Professors usually assume you’re familiar with
     • Can provide you with valuable resources
                Major Duties
• Overseeing LAs
    • LAs- Laboratory Assistants (undergraduate
      assistants in many science courses)
  – Clearly define your relationship (ask your
  – Clearly define your expectations of them
  – Never leave them unattended unless you’ve
    been given direct authorization
  – Same goes for their access to students’
                      Major Duties
• Field trips
   – Ensure (well ahead of time) you are authorized to
     drive University vehicles/passenger vans
   – Guidelines for Driving on Behalf of Baylor:
   – Know the University policy for what to do in the case
     of an accident
   – Never give students authorization to “meet you there”.
     We are required to provide transportation to and from
     off-site locations
                   Major Duties
• Attend Lecture Sections
  – May or may not be required
  – In your best interest, particularly if it’s is your
    first time in the course
  – Benefits:
     •   Better grasp of the material
     •   Relating your focus to that of the lecture
     •   Better relationship with the students
     •   Your attendance counts as hours worked
     Major Duties

• Attending Lecture Sections
  – Maintain Seating chart
  – Take attendance
  – Take class notes
• Conducting review sessions/study sessions
  – Reserve rooms with your Dept.
  – Make sure you have access to your room
              Major Duties
• Lecturing during professor’s absence
  – Your notes or the professors?
  – Make sure you have access to the room and
    A/V equipment
  – Excellent opportunity – great for CVs
              Major Duties

Other potential duties:
• Proctoring Lecture Exams
• Grading Lecture Exams
• Entering Lecture Grades
        Tools and Resources
• Blackboard
  – Your email login and password access BBoard
  – Bearspace – file storage

• Baylor email account
• Considered official correspondence

• Check frequently!
• Copy (cc) the professor on all official
• Don’t give out your cell phone/home number
  unless you want to be called; Students will call at
  all hours (sometimes professors will too.)

• If the professor does not reply to your email,
  make a phone-call or visit in person
            Helpful Hints

Miscellaneous issues (some of these are more
  than just hints – they’re actually policy)
     Working with the Professor
Starting out Right:
• Introduce yourself: If your professor hasn’t contacted
  you – make the first move. Set up a time to meet.
• Request a description of responsibilities
   – Work duties as well as classroom policies
• Ask to be introduced to each of the classes you will
• Request a copy of the course syllabus
• Bring a checklist to your first meeting
• Ask if there are any days/times when you will have to
  work outside of “normal” hours (Saturday field trips,
  proctoring exams) and resolve conflicts early!
                Prior to Day One
• Obtain the lab manual – and read through it
• Keys
• Visit your classroom
  – lights, hood vents, gas/air valves, technology (test
    projectors etc.), water baths, centrifuges, hot plates…

                             • Create a cheat-sheet for
                               your first day (assume
                               you’ll be nervous)
                                – List items to be addressed,
                                  important points…
            Day One

• Exude confidence!
   – Your enthusiasm goes a long way!!!
• Introduction
• Safety
   – Point out fire extinguisher, eye wash, emergency shower, MSDS
     sheets, hazardous chemicals (e.g. latex allergies), etc.
• Course expectations
   – Clearly state classroom policies as well as your personal preferences
       • Students can’t respect your policies if they are unaware of them
       • Don’t assume policies “carry over” from the lecture section
              Be Professional
• Dress the part – wear a lab coat, close-toed
  shoes, etc.
  – You can’t enforce the rules if you’d don’t adhere to
    them yourself (this goes for food/drink in the lab as
  – Serious consequences (for your Dept) if you choose
    to ignore safety procedures
• Remain professional at all times
  – It’s easy in a lab setting to become very comfortable,
    but remember that you are still the authority in the
                Be Prepared
• Create your own syllabus
  – So many benefits!!

• Be concise in your teaching

• Perform experiments
  beforehand – know the

• Accept that you can’t know it
  all – there will be questions
  you can’t answer
• Scantron machine
• Allot hours
• Assume extra hours at the end of the semester.
  Do your own papers early, so that grading does
  not interfere!
• Grade and enter grades quickly
• Utilize Blackboard!
         Miscellaneous Advice
• Know where your professor is during your
  lab time
• Know when your professor’s office hours are
• Communicate frequently with your professor
  – grading, absences, etc.
• Meet regularly with your peers
  – Communicate issues you’re having with each
    other (confidentially)
  – Seek out TAs who’ve taught your course before
    Avoiding Pitfalls: Common
         Student Issues
• Know your authority ahead of time
• Ethical Behavior (honesty, plagiarism, cheating)
  – Familiarize yourself with University policy
  – Check with your professor on how they want you to
    handle such situations
• Special Services (OALA):
  – It is the student’s responsibility to inform you of their
• Multiculturalism and gender issues
  When Something Goes Wrong
• Experiment doesn’t work
  – Don’t panic – failed experiments often present the best
    “learning tools”
  – Maintain a sense of humor
  – Isn’t science all about trial and error??
• Hazardous situations
  – Again, don’t panic
  – Have a plan in place
  – Have a list of important numbers located with your
    MSDS sheets – Fire, Police, Risk Management
               Additional Info
Know Your Environment:
• Familiarize yourself with the office copy machine
  and scanner
  – Before using office equipment, or taking office
    supplies ASK what the dept. policies are for your use
• What to do when things don’t go well with the
  – Don’t let situations fester – address problems early
         Handy Research Tips
• Libraries
   – Two Main Libraries: Moody and Jones
   – Maps, Circulation desks, Computers (laptops), Research
• BearCat:
• OsoFast: ILL at Baylor,
• Electronic Resources:
• BearSpace: Storing Information,
       Training Opportunities
• SET - Seminars for Excellence in
  – More on that in a bit, with Chris Rios…

• Teaching Commons
  – Designed for faculty/grad student interaction
 Return to the “Big Picture”

The greater your satisfaction with
your job responsibilities, the more
     effective you will be as a
        Teaching Assistant
           Panel Discussion

•   Jon Thomas
•   Stephanie Capello
•   Vanessa Castleberry
•   Tiffany Turner
•   Justin Tidmore
•   John Hall
•   Tony Chen
Past SET Electives

• "Preparing To Teach Your Class"
       with Dr. Tom Hanks
• "Preparing Effective Test Questions"
       with Dr. Darrell Hull
• "Engaging the Lecture Class: How Do I Involve Students When Class
  Size or Other Circumstances Call for Lecturing?"
       with Drs. Genie and Preston Dyer
• "Sage on the Stage and Guide on the Side: Three Models of
  Constructivist Teaching"
       with Dr. Tony Talbert
• "Teaching as Performance"
       with Dr. Marion Castleberry
• "Teaching in the Sciences"
       with Dr. Joseph D. White
• "Plato's Cave as Metaphor for Educators"
       with Dr. Anne-Marie Bowery
• "Encouraging and grading student writing"
       with Dr. Amanda Sturgill

Shared By: