Before coming to the United States, I actively pursued Teaching Assistant (TA), Graduate Assistant (GA), or Research Assistant (RA) positions by reaching out to professors via email. However, it was only after my arrival and direct conversations with professors that made progress. Here, are the things that I did that helped me get Teaching Assistantship (TA) role.
What to do?
Taking Early Initiative:
After arriving in the United States and getting to know the professors who I would take my courses with, I decided to take a proactive approach. I approached them in person and expressed my genuine interest in working as a TA, GA, or RA, if such positions were available. I also realized that TA positions are often solely dependent on professors. So, I encourage fellow students to reach out to professors via email before arriving in the United States, expressing their interest and showcasing their qualifications.
Building a Strong Foundation:
Recognizing that TA positions require a solid academic background and effective communication skills, I diligently focused on excelling in my studies. I devoted time to enhancing my understanding of the subject matter, which would prove valuable in my role as a TA. Additionally, I worked on improving my communication skills, both written and verbal, to effectively interact with professors and students.
Persistence and Success:
Despite initial challenges, I persisted in my pursuit of a TA role. After engaging in several conversations and waiting for a semester, I was thrilled to secure the position of TA for the Strength of Materials course. To my delight, this opportunity also came with a research position as part of the Bridge Rating Project for MoDOT, where I worked on assessing the strength of concrete bridges.
By sharing my journey, I hope to inspire others to pursue TA roles, emphasizing the importance of early communication, a strong academic foundation, and persistent efforts in securing such positions.
Roles as a TA
As a Teaching Assistant, I actively contributed to the educational process and supported students in their academic journey. Here are the key aspects of my role:
Attendance Management and Classroom Administration:
One crucial aspect of my role as a Teaching Assistant was recording attendance in the classroom.
- I took great care in accurately recording attendance, allowing me to monitor student engagement and track their progress effectively.
Another crucial role is to I assign homework and correct them.
- I assigned Homework to students, sensibly choosing the questions that would help apply and reinforce their classroom learning.
- Diligently corrected and provided feedback on homework assignments that helped students understand their strengths and areas for improvement.
- To further assist their learning, I created comprehensive solutions for the homework and made them easily accessible on the course platform (Canvas).
Addressing students’ difficulties within the course was a priority.
- I offered personalized support, clarifications, and explanations to help them address their difficulties and succeed.
- Actively engaged with students on a one-on-one basis and made sure they were clear.
Study Material Preparation:
Study resources help students in consolidating their knowledge and developing a deeper understanding of the subject matter.
- I Collaborated with the professor and prepared study materials that complemented the course content.
Ensuring students were well-informed was crucial.
- I promptly communicated important announcements, such as exam dates, homework deadlines, and project due dates, to keep students organized and prepared.
Exam Preparation and Proctoring:
- Contributing to the exam preparation process, I prepared relevant and thought-provoking questions that assessed students’ comprehension and critical thinking abilities.
- During exam sessions, I provided a fair and controlled environment as a proctor.
- Additionally, I meticulously corrected the exam answer sheets, ensuring accurate evaluation and feedback.
Project, Homework, and Exam Assistance:
Supporting students in their projects, homework assignments, and exams, I provided guidance and assistance to enhance their understanding and help them achieve their academic goals.