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...
- 5 Conversations to Have with Your Course Instructor Before the Beginning of the Semester (pdf)
- Duties Specification Letter (pdf)
- PSAC Local 610, Western University TAs and Postdocs Union
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.
- Western’s TA Handbook provides useful strategies for overcoming public speaking anxiety
- Stanford’s guide on 7 Ways to Handle Nervousness
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.
- 8 steps for maximizing Day 1 as a TA
- Stanford’s First Day of Teaching Guidelines
- Day 1 Icebreakers
- Develop Classroom/Tutorial/Lab “Rules of Conduct” (pdf) with your students using this step-by-step guide to developing classroom rules/expectations with your students from the University of Minnesota.
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
- Build a community with other TAs
Make sure you have all necessary certification. For example, all employees (including graduate Teaching Assistants) must have at the least
- Basic WHMIS,
- Health and Safety, and
- 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: