The role of a graduate/teaching assistant is essential to the overall learning experience. While the instructor sets the objectives and expectations of the course, the success of the students and the course in general also rests on the performance of the GA/TA. While being a GA/TA is certainly something to be taken seriously, it also has its fair share of benefits.

  • When the professor and the textbook fail to communicate an understanding of the material, the GA/TA is often the student’s last hope. Whether during office hours, tutorials, or over email, it is necessary that you be prepared to assist students as their GA/TA. This means that you must read the textbook, know what is being covered in class, and be able to provide appropriate answers for coursework and test material.
  • It is important to remember that you help to set the tone with regard to integrity and fairness in your assigned course. Accordingly, you should be sure that you approach grading in an objective manner. As the GA/TA, you are further modeling the act of taking initiative and employing self-directed learning. It is also crucial that you are able to return work within a timely manner.
  • Being a TA/GA is not only hard work, it is also very rewarding. The role can be used to learn the best (and worst) practices in teaching. As a matter of fact, the GATA Network offers awards for exceptional practice and leadership for outstanding GAs/TAs. Ultimately, the experience as a GA/TA can expand your own personal learning network, and the skills gained as a result serve to be a great asset to any resume.

If you have any questions about being or becoming a GA/TA, feel free to reach out to the GATA Network at Also, check out our Twitter and Facebook for information about free workshops and events being offered.


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