UF Orientation helps new teaching assistants have positive start to semester

UF TA Orientation 2015

More than 350 teaching assistants attend the annual orientation for teaching assistants at the University of Florida. I took this photo from the back of Carleton Auditorium before my session in 2015.

by Julie Dodd

New teaching assistants at the University of Florida will attend an Orientation for Graduate Teaching Assistants on Tuesday, Aug. 18, to help them be ready for the start of Fall Semester on Monday, Aug. 22.

I’ll be one of the speakers on the day-long program, which will be held in Carleton Auditorium.

My session is “Your Syllabus and the First Week of Class.” That broad topic lets me talk about many important aspects of a successful start of the semester — from incorporating active learning activities in class to being sure to have an umbrella.

I’ll post the handout and slides from the presentation.

The orientation is hosted by the UF Graduate School and the UF Teaching Center.

Advice for new teaching assistants — My presentation to TAs at the University of Florida

by Julie Dodd

Gator clockThe clock is ticking as we approach the start of the academic year at the University of Florida and at colleges and universities across the country.

Today, I made a presentation about teaching at UF’s orientation for the more than 400 new teaching assistants that will be teaching labs, classes, and discussion groups this year.

My topic was “A Positive Start to Your Teaching: Your First Week of Class and Your Syllabus.”

Click to download my presentation slides — ta_orientation_2015_presentation_dodd

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Planning is key step for effective teaching — advice to new teaching assistants

University of Florida's New Teaching Assistant Orientation

More than 400 University of Florida graduate students attended the New Teaching Assistant Orientation, held in Carleton Auditorium. Photo by Julie Dodd

by Julie Dodd

The more than 400 new teaching assistants at the University of Florida have been busy preparing for the start of school by attending the New Teaching Assistant Orientation. I enjoyed being part of the team of faculty members, administrators and teaching assistants who made presentations for the orientation.

My presentation was “A Positive Start to Your Teaching: Your Syllabus and the First Week of Class.” You can download the PDF handout of the slides (5MB) – dodd_2014_UF_TA_orientation_slides

[You can check the UF Teaching Resources tab at the top of the blog for a list of links to helpful teaching resources, including syllabus policies and the UF Undergraduate Catalog.}

I appreciated everyone participating in the short peer-to-peer discussions on topics related to teaching. Thanks to those of you who asked questions, which included:

  • What activities can you use to learn student names?
  • What are tips for international teaching assistants for whom English is not their first language?
  • What advice do you have for how to avoid discipline problems that can be caused by cellphones?

Preparing for the presentation is always helpful for me, as talking about planning for teaching success helps me in my own class planning.

Thanks to Drs. Paul Duncan, Winifred Cooke and Rhonda Moraca for coordinating such a helpful program. For more information on support for teaching assistants (including the “Teaching at the University of Florida” handbook), check the UF Teaching Center.

Presentation for teaching assistants focused on strategies for developing syllabus and having good start to school year

University of Florida orientation for teaching assistants

New teaching assistants listen to a panel of faculty members and administrators talk about “Classroom Challenges.” Photo by Julie Dodd

by Julie Dodd

More than 400 teach assistants attended a second day of orientation as they get ready to take on teaching duties when classes start at the University of Florida next week. The orientation is sponsored by the Graduate School and the Teaching Center.

I was one of the invited speakers. My topic was “A Positive Start to Your Teaching: Your Syllabus and the First Week of Classes.” [You can download a PDF handout of the slides I used for my presentation — dodd_2013_ta-orientation]

UF Teaching Assistant HandbookI divided my presentation into several parts:

* Advice about what they should be doing now to get ready for the start of class. That discussion included meeting with their supervisor, getting copies of course materials, and mapping out their own schedule for the semester (including office hours).

* A discussion of how a well-designed syllabus can assist teachers and students. Most of these new teaching assistants won’t be developing the syllabi they will be using this fall, but they need to know what the course policies and procedures are. Thinking more long-term, those who are interested in going into a career of teaching in higher education need to know how to create a syllabus.

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Getting ready for a new school year to start at the University of Florida

The University of Florida Orientation for New Graduate Teaching Assistants takes place in the Reitz Union Grand Ballroom. Here’s the iPhone panorama I shot from the back of the auditorium before I made my presentation at the 2011 orientation.

I know a new school year is about to start when it’s time to work on the presentation that I’ll be making as part of the University of Florida’s Orientation for New Graduate Teaching Assistants.

Dr. Ken Gerhardt, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs in the Graduate School, and Dr. Winifred Cooke, Teaching Center Director in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, coordinate the program, and have invited me to be one of the presenters.

I’m delighted to be part of the program. My topic is “Your Syllabus and the First Week of Class.” As part of being a presenter, each of us is asked to develop a handout to be part of the packet of information the teaching assistants receive. I wanted to be able to include the URL to this teaching blog, so I’m launching the blog today.

You can see from the number of grad students in the photo that UF counts on teaching assistants to be an important part of university instruction. This was the group who attended the orientation last year. Typically UF has about 350 to 400 new teaching assistants each year. I’m glad to help them have a good start to their UF teaching.