CALS 125 Information Technology,
Teaching Assistant Development
You have been recommended to be a Teaching Assistant for the Fall 2008 CALS
001 class. We are seeking 22 upper-class students in CALS who are
interested in teaching a lab section that includes oral and written
communication skills, public speaking, and information technology. The students
will be first-year CALS students.
This is a sample of what previous Teaching Assistants have said about their
students and their experience as TAs:
- Looking back I can honestly say that I had the best group possible.
They care for each other. They have made friends inside the group...Each
and every single one of them has the desire, the drive, and the ability to
succeed. Therefore, I am happy. I am at peace.
- I have to admit I have had a great time with them and this class in
particular...I feel that I certainly have benefited from the experience and
I am grateful for the opportunity... I believe the benefit of Foundations is
not in the computer work, paper writing, or listening to the speakers, but is in the
personal confidence which students gain that allows them to be comfortable
at UVM and hopefully jot just to stay but also to succeed. That is what I
gained from being both a student and a TA in Foundations.
- My best experience as a TA was being able to read my students'
online discussion journals. To think that they would let me read such personal things was
amazing. It showed me that I was in a position where I could really affect
these students positively.
- I learned how to find a balance between being an authority figure and a
friend to my students.
- My best experiences have been in seeing how the students relate to me in
different situations. They confide in me like a friend and respect me as a
teacher. This has taught me that interaction with students can be
- This role has taught me how to be patient with others, yet firm and
- I made friends with my group members. They are insightful, caring
people who I believe I can count on and trust. To lead is sometimes to
- This experience has taught me that even that person who you have just
about given up on can somehow always turn around! It has also taught me to
have faith in the students coming in--they are a good group with a lot of
motivation when they get in the groove of things.
TA's are responsible for co-teaching a 20-student lab section of CALS First-Year students that meets once a week. Each lab section will have two
co-TA's. Lab sections are listed
here. In addition, TA's are required to enroll in
CALS 125, a 3-credit TA
Leadership Development seminar that meets on Thursdays from 5:00-6:30. It
is in this Thursday night class that we will go over what needs to be
accomplished in lab the following week.
TA's are given a lot of responsibility. Helping First-year students adjust
to college life, and teaching, are not easy jobs. TA's help to facilitate the
intellectual and social growth of their First-Year students as well as teach the
oral and written communication skills, and information technology skills, that
will help them succeed at UVM and beyond. This is done by creating a safe and
open environment for discussion of intellectual and (sometimes) personal and
sensitive issues as well leading students through examples of assignments that
they must complete. Perhaps, most importantly, you, as a Foundations TA,
will be viewed as a mentor and role model by your First-Year students.
Our responsibility is to prepare you for this challenge. We do this through
meeting every week on Thursday evening to go over the following week's lab
material, and to resolve problems and issues in each group.
These are the qualities that we expect a TA to possess:
We are beginning to fill in the
Fall 2008 lab schedule with TA's who have committed to this class. Please
contact Jonathan Leonard (firstname.lastname@example.org
, 656-2979) to let me know whether or not your are interested in being a TA and
for scheduling a lab section. Thanks!
- Leadership and Maturity--the ability to facilitate, listen to and
guide group members
- Commitment--to the Foundations class goals and objectives (see
the spring 2007 syllabus:
Fall 2007 Communication Methods )
- Mentorship--serving as a role model for First-Year students
- Instructor in Information Technology --teaching students the
skills they need to know in each lab
- Enthusiasm and Energy--for the TA role
- Team Player--as part of your lab section and the TA class
- Respectful--of diversity and others' opinions