GTAs provide a very important service to the teaching/learning mission of Virginia Tech. Not only are they essential to the education mission but GTAs assist the faculty in providing quality undergraduate education.
Graduate teaching assistants serve in a variety of capacities but all should be actively engage with the teaching/learning mission of the university. Some will have responsibilities for teaching laboratory sections, leading discussion sessions and providing tutorials in conjunction with large undergraduate lecture courses. Many will serve as graders working closely with faculty instructors. Others will have the responsibility for teaching selected topics within the class and others will have full responsibility for the class by serving as the instructor of record.
As Vice President and Dean Karen P. DePauw articulated during the GTA workshop, GTAs regardless of type of position are responsible to:
- excite and sustain learning
- share knowledge
- evaluate performance and give constructive feedback
- ask and answer questions
- learn and help others learn
- teach with diversity in mind create inclusive learning environments
- treat students with respect
- be prepared to address difficult situations and challenging moments
- challenge students and one’s self
- hold high standards and expectations for one’s self and others, and
- demonstrate ethical and professional behavior
GTAs are very important but it isn’t about their importance as teacher or being a “sage on the stage”, it really should be about learning and making knowledge available, accessible and pertinent to the learners.