What Do Graduate Teaching Assistants Do?
Professors rely on graduate teaching assistants to help them with numerous facets of their job. These assistants help with various teaching-related duties, and you may be asked to help with developing lesson plans, handing out exams and grading papers. In order to get this job, you must be enrolled as a graduate student at a university, but this career can be an excellent way to gain much-needed experience as a professor. More and more students are realizing the importance of a higher education, so there will be a growing demand for teaching assistants within the next decade. Every year is expected to see 10% growth, which correlates to about 3,800 job openings annually. Virtually every college in the country has a need for qualified teaching assistants, so no matter where you live, there are bound to be jobs open to you.
Graduate Teaching Assistants Skills and Abilities
Since you will be helping out with all the tasks a professor has to perform, you should be familiar with various educational techniques and methods. As a teacher-in-training, you should possess great oral communication skills so that you can help students with the lesson plan. A background in psychology can also prove to be useful regardless of the field you are hoping to get into. The reason for this is that having basic knowledge of human behavior can help you to identify issues in the classroom that need to be corrected.
Graduate Teaching Assistants Duties
Although professors need to maintain a certain number of office hours, you should also have your own hours set aside where you can meet with students. You will need to be capable of answering any questions your students might have and help them with their coursework. The professor you work with may ask you to handle certain tasks like copying educational materials or tests. If you work in a science department, then you need to be able to safely handle all the equipment and substances the class will be working with. You may also be in charge of actually helping with the development of the class syllabus and curriculum. Additional duties that could be asked of you include:
- Guiding classroom discussions.
- Helping the professor with any problems that come up.
- Ordering instructional equipment or materials.
- Supervising student activities.
- Retrieving information.
Graduate Teaching Assistants Tools and Technology
Specific equipment may be used by your department, but in general, you should know how to use the most basic classroom materials. This includes projectors, televisions and disk players. You will likely need to familiarize yourself with information retrieval software that includes programs like Turnitin and DOC Cop.
Education and Training for Graduate Teaching Assistants
As mentioned above, you need to be enrolled in a graduate program in order to become a teaching assistant. This requires you to have already obtained your Bachelor’s degree. Anything less than that, and there really will not be any way for you to acquire this position.
Graduate Teaching Assistants Salary
In addition to gaining highly valuable experience in your field, you will also receive a nice salary for your time. Numerous factors go into determining an individual’s wage. The range can vary quite a bit, and the averages across the country range from $18,300 to $49,200 a year.
Graduate Teaching Assistants Jobs by Geography
Although numerous factors go into figuring out what university you go to, the states that tend to pay their teaching assistants the most are Minnesota, Wyoming and Utah. The states that employ the highest levels of graduate teaching assistants are California, Illinois and Texas. This is a worthwhile position to pursue, so if you feel like you have something to gain, then it is definitely worth looking into your university’s program.