Preparing for Your TAship

Feeling nervous or anxious about starting a TAship? No worries this page is designed to help overcome nerves, set up your class, and clarify your role as a TA. These resources will help prepare you for your TAship, plan out your semester, make the most of Day 1 and overcome anxiety.

Before the Semester...

Overcoming Nerves

First of all, know you are not alone! First day nerves are not only normal but can be a good thing: it means that you care.

Making the Most of the First Day of Class

Day 1 is your opportunity to introduce yourself to your students, build community among your students and introduce the course and classroom guidelines. Explore the resources listed below for planning out a great first day.

Know your contacts, your room and your technology

  • Have a cell phone (set to silent) with you at all times
  • Have list of relevant emergency contacts (Campus Police, IT, Department undergrad secretary).
  • Western non-emergency contact list to help you direct students (i.e., Learning Skills, the Writing Centre)
  • Make sure you have a key to your room, including the AV system

Seek Guidance

  • Build a community with other TAs
    • Talk with other TAs in your cohort as well as upper year experienced TAs
    • Meet with your Faculty Lead TA
    • Register for TA Day, ITA Day and TATP 
    • Speak with the course instructor or your supervisor if you have any questions

Get certified

Make sure you have all necessary certification. For example, all employees (including graduate Teaching Assistants) must have at the least

  1. Basic WHMIS,
  2. AODA,
  3. Health and Safety, and
  4. Safe Campus Community certifications.

Your specific role in labs may require additional certificates: Please check out the Western HR page to learn more.

Top Five Things They Wish They Knew Before Starting A TAship

By award winning and outstanding TAs from Western: