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Graduate TA Handbook and Resources

A Handbook for Teaching Assistants and Teaching Fellows in Arts & Sciences

Knowing What to Expect 

One of the hardest parts about teaching for the first time is not knowing what you should expect when walking into the classroom. Take advantage of your support network at William & Mary:

  • Talk to former TAs!
    • Find out who has worked with your instructor of record and ask them what that experience was like. Do they have specific thoughts about how best to communicate with them? 
    • Ask if they have materials you can use, adapt, or look at when designing lectures and quizzes. 
    • Ask what they found particularly challenging or surprising.
  • Talk to your instructor of record (there are some good suggestions in Understanding Your Role). 
  • Observe a similar discussion section or lab. If you can do this before your first day, great! It can also be helpful to observe later in the semester to get new ideas.

In addition, think ahead about your students and how to help them get the most out of your class. Here you can find a framework for thinking about your approach to teaching students. If you're having trouble coming up with the best ways to prepare, here is one possible game plan for getting ready for class