Getting Started   >   Pre-quarter Preparations

  • Check the link at left for your TA assignment: the course name, professor, and section meeting times and places will be there. I will email everyone when the list is ready.
  • Contact the professor and the other TA(s) for the course to set up a meeting. At this meeting, make sure to ask the following questions:
    1. What would you like us to do in section?
    2. Does this class have homework to be turned in? Quizzes? How should they be managed? In particular, if there is homework, should it be collected at the beginning or end of section? Can students put assignments in homework boxes after section?
    3. Does this course have a grader? Who is s/he? If not, what will my grading responsibilities be?
    4. When are the exams? Will you need proctors? Are there any special policies you have about exams that I should know now? Will the exams scores be curved?
    5. When are your office hours? Do you have preferences about when I should hold mine?
    6. Is there a course website? If not, please give me a copy of the syllabus.
    7. Exchange cell phone numbers. (Note: this isn't actually a question.) Every few quarters a situation will arise where it's important for you to be able to quickly reach the professor (or vice versa), and you never see it coming.
    Also at this meeting, it's important to set up a regular schedule of future meetings with the professor and other TA(s). Depending on your professor, this doesn't have to be frequent or time-consuming: as little as 10 minutes every two weeks may suffice. The point is to be in regular enough contact that communication breakdowns and subsequent misery do not occur.
  • If the course has a website, look at it.
  • Commit to memory things like the final grade computation (e.g. 50% final, 25% each midterm, etc.) and whether or not students are permitted calculators or equation sheets on exams/quizzes. You will get questions about those things ad nauseum.
  • Get the book for the class, from the Math Dept. front desk, and look at it.
  • Figure out geographically where your section meets. Some rooms/buildings are hard to find, and you do not want a last-minute search to make you late for your first section.
  • Think about what you're going to say on the first day.

Note: the senior TA will likely give you a hard-copy of this list during the first TA training meeting.