"Prediction is difficult, especially about the future." -- Yogi Berra
Question #93407 posted on 01/04/2021 7:44 p.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

I've been a TA for CEEn 112 and PHSCS 121 and both were awesome experiences.

AutoCAD is a fun program to teach and it was fun watching new students progress from knowing nothing about it to making elaborate 3D projects by the end of the semester. Working in the physics tutorial lab was neat because that's how I met all the pre-med and pre-dental students on campus (apparently physics is a prerequisite for medical school?) I'm still friends with several of my co-TAs (one of them is in my ward!) and former students.

What classes have you TA'd for? Tell us about your experience and whether you're still in touch with any of your former students/coworkers.

V/R

IK Brunel


A:

Dear IKB,

I TA'd for STAT 123 for one semester. I didn't really interact with anyone and left the Stat major pretty quickly. I learned a lot but also felt *very* incompetent as a TA. It was hard for me and I was only a sophomore. Glad I left that one behind. 

I also TA'd for SOC 360 (Intro to Family Sociology) for a semester. I still talk to the professor, of course, and I also talk to my co-TA on Twitter. He graduated and is working on a PhD now, so I sometimes ask him for advice as I write grad applications.

And of course, if you've been around for a while you already know I've TA'd for SOC 323 (Race and Ethnicity) for 5 semesters now. I keep learning new things and the professor is SUPER nice, not vindictive at all... I think he's like a closet Taoist who's just baptized into our church. He has a bonsai tree and an auto-boil tea kettle in his office... and like nothing else. I appreciate what he's taught me about study skills and just making my life work for me. Even though race isn't my main interest in sociology, I'm glad I stuck to being his TA. I've been the lone TA for pretty much every semester, so I haven't really done any interaction with coworkers. 

Cheers, 

Guesthouse

A:

Dear you,

I was a TA for Poli Sci 150, but only for one semester. I really enjoyed it, though I didn't feel especially useful, as very few students took advantage of my office hours.

I'm not actively in contact with any former students, though a few of them did add me on LinkedIn, so occasionally I'll see updates from them.

Fun fact: a previous board writer was my TA for Poli Sci 110!

Love,

Luciana

A:

Dear you,

ECON 475 (public economics) and ECON 381 (macro-economics). Fun fact: I had never taken ECON 475 before TA'ing it, so I was basically just having to learn the material faster than my students. Another funny thing about that position is I was taking another (lower level) econ class at the time, and the TA for that class was in ECON 475. So I was the econ TA of my econ TA. I haven't really kept in contact with my students or coworkers from these jobs, but my co-TA for ECON 475 is now married to a previous Board writer, so there's that.

~Anathema

A:

Dear Bruno,

I was a TA from Winter '17 to Winter '19 for one of the genealogy classes. I was in almost every single class (with the rare exception when I had one of my classes at the same time). I got to know the class pretty well as the semester went along. I tried to learn their names, and I was pretty successful as I had an open e-mail policy.  I would try to reply as fast as possible since I didn't want to be 'one of those TAs' that took forever to get back with you on a crucial question to the assignment. I love genealogy and I wanted to do everything in my power to make sure they had a good experience with it. I asked my students to doodle on the back of their quizzes and sometimes I would send out my favorite doodles to the class. One year I had one of my students give me a potted flower because the class liked me as a TA so much. I was so shocked, but I loved my students like they were my children.  Throughout the continuous semesters, if I saw one of my students in the hallways, I would say hi and say their name if I remembered it (maybe a 70% chance?) They were usually pleased when I remembered their name and would say hi back. If we had time we would catch up, but that was more of the exception than anything. Funnily enough, sometimes a student would ignore me in the hallways and 10 times out of 10 it was because they got a bad grade in the class. Whoopsie!

Now that I've graduated I have quite a few of my students on LinkedIn and I think I have one on Facebook since we kept running into each other SO many times on campus.  

For the professor I TAed for, I still work for him even to this day. I actually consider him to be Grandpa Rob to Carl Jr. He was one of the first ones to find out I was pregnant because I was so sick, and I really couldn't hide it from him.

-Goldie Rose

A:

Dear you,

I was a TA for ME 273, which is the mechanical engineering department's introduction to coding and numerical methods. It was a challenge because a different professor was teaching each semester, and they have very different ways of formatting and teaching the class. I feel like it really helped me cement my debugging skills - a lot of times, students would bring me their broken code, and I'd teach them what to look for and how to debug it. It was a pretty fun time, because sometimes students would take some really bizarre approaches to their code structure and I had to sort of learn to work with what they had. It was like a puzzle :)

My first semester was my favorite, because I was TAing for a lot of people who were already my friends - they were just taking the class one semester after me. A lot of those friends have been my TA at various times, too. The other two semesters I TAd for the class, I didn't know most people, but I got to know the ones who came to TA hours pretty well, and we still say hi if we see each other around now.

I'm working as a lab assistant now, but I'm excited that I got the chance to TA for a while. I remember the TAs I had for my first ever engineering class - they were absolute angels. After all the grief I gave them, I sort of felt an obligation from the universe to TA and pay it forward. It was a good job.

Best,

Josefina