Think you know something? The best way to be sure is to teach it to someone else.
As a Teaching Assistant, you’ll activate your learning in a way that will reinforce and enrich your understanding of course material. In addition to this intellectual benefit, working as a Teaching Assistant is great professional experience that enhances other skill sets including:
- Time management
- Planning and executing effective meetings
- Effective communication
Finally, teaching assistantships are great ways to cultivate strong relationships with faculty and graduate students who may become mentors and personal and professional resources.
Specific duties of undergraduate teaching assistants might include leading discussions, holding office hours, doing research or creating materials for the instructor, and performing tasks related to the course (e.g., taking attendance or keeping records). Grading of exams and assignments is not an appropriate task for undergraduate TAs.
The best way to get started is to have a conversation with a faculty member whose class you enjoyed. If you’d like help getting started, you can also contact your adviser or Lori Bedell.
Qualifications of Successful TAs
- Completed the assigned course in a previous semester and earned a grade of a B+ or above.
- Completed 48 college credit hours (4th semester standing) for 400-level courses.
- Completed 32 college credit hours (3rd semester standing) for introductory level courses.
- Have an overall GPA of 3.2 or above.
- Received an invitation from the instructor to serve as the undergraduate Teaching Assistant.
- Prospective TAs must complete the Teaching Assistant Agreement Form and, upon approval, enroll in CAS 493 for 1-3 credits; the number of credit hours is dependent upon the work and time commitment agreed upon with faculty members (one credit hour is equivalent to 40 hours of work over the course of a semester).
- No more than three credits of 493 can be counted toward the major.
- Treat all students in the course with dignity and respect, as outlined in The Penn State Principles and in Penn State’s written policies on sexual harassment.
- Treat all grades, content of tests, and content of student assignments as confidential.
- Complete all assigned course readings and attend class regularly.
- Complete assigned duties in a responsible and timely fashion.
- Maintain and submit an activity log detailing work and hours completed each week.