When I started graduate school and immediately became the instructor of record of a freshman composition course, I had a couple of advantages going for me. First, my parents were both educators, one in elementary school and the other at the secondary level. I had been around the theory and practice of education my entire life, and I had some minor elementary school substituting experience of my own. Second, my graduate program required that I audit a pedagogy-themed course in my first semester. This is not typical for graduate programs, even those which include teaching courses solo rather than the more traditional teaching assistantships. Having said that, I had never taught a course at the college level on my own. I had not designed a course. And I certainly had no formal training.
– Kisha Tracy, Digital Pedagogy Lab.
We are asked to teach. I love teaching. We are asked to grade. I love helping students develop their skills and improve. We are asked to contribute to the design of courses – whether this be seminar content or designing a lecture. I love being given that free reign.
But to me there is little more intimidating than any and all of these responsibilities to new postgrads taking up the mantle of ‘teaching assistant’. The training I underwent, I didn’t receive until half way through my first semester of teaching. The first module leader I had was mostly absent. Generally, my training was pretty much me picking the brains of other tutors and ‘on the job’.
I’m all about learning by doing, but when you’re even at least partly responsible for someone’s educational experience, somehow that doesn’t quite cut it for me. I personally would love to see more training for GTAs. Have a read at the article and see what you think.