by Julie Dodd
There’s lots to consider when you’re a new teaching assistant.
That was the take-away for the more than 350 teaching assistants who attended the day-long orientation for new teaching assistants at the University of Florida.
That was a take-away for me, too, as a presenter — as I planned what to share with the new TAs in my talk and also as I listened to the questions the TAs asked during my session and the other orientation sessions I attended.
I talked about developing a checklist of what needs to be accomplished before school starts next week, from meeting with their teaching supervisor to reviewing their online persona/avatar to the classroom where they will be teaching and try out the technology.
I also explained what I’ve coined as the COPE Strategies that can help teachers develop a more student-oriented approach to their teaching.
One of the topics I was asked to talk about was developing a syllabus. I asked the TAs how many of them would be developing the syllabus for the courses they are teaching this semester. Fewer than a dozen raised their hands.
But being aware of what UF (and most colleges) require for the syllabus is helpful for understanding the syllabus that they will be provided and teaching with. Also, for those who will go on to develop their own courses and go into a career in teaching, developing a good syllabus is a key part of effective teaching.
I also offered advice on having a good start to the semester that included selling the value of your course to your students and having lots of patience.