CALS 125 Communication Methods, Teaching Assistant
You have been recommended to be a Teaching Assistant for the
Fall CALS 001 and CALS 183 classes. We are seeking 36
upper-class students in CALS who are interested in co-teaching a lab
section that includes oral and written communication skills, and public
speaking. The students will be first-year CALS students (CALS
001), and students who have transferred into CALS (sophomores through
Seniors for CALS 183).
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.
- 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
not 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
- 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 rewarding.
- This role has taught me how to be patient with others, yet
firm and responsible.
- 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 follow!
- 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
TA's are responsible for co-teaching a 20-student lab section
CALS students that meets once a week. Each lab section will
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 in
two sections on Thursdays from 5:30-7:00pm. It is in these
Thursday night classes 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
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 2013 lab schedule
with TA's who
have committed to this class. Please contact Jonathan
, 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 as an example, the Fall 2010 syllabus: Fall
2010 Foundations: Communication Methods )
- Mentorship--serving as a role model for
- Instructor in Public Speaking and 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'