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Being a Teaching Assistant (TA)/Teaching Fellow (TF)

Teaching and working along with professors is an important part of graduate students' education and professional development for the job market, and TA and TF appointments are an honor.


Work Load:

Teaching Assistants and Teaching Fellows will work 15-20 hours a week, which includes contact hours, grading, office hours, and preparation time. Graduate students should be aware that they might have fewer contact hours in literature courses and more preparation hours compared to teaching assistants and fellows who teach language courses.

Graduate students who are more advanced in their studies may have more hours (20 or closer to 20) than graduate students who are beginning their studies.   

Responsibilities of TAs

  • Teaching in literature/culture/film courses might involve attending all lectures, arranging and proctoring screenings, giving 1-2 lectures per semester to the class, grading papers, and leading discussion section(s).
  • For language courses, average expectations for TAs are to teach 2-4 hours per week, do specified amounts of grading, and plan lessons (with help). TAs will be provided with instructional materials to some degree, especially during the first year of teaching, but are also expected to work with increasing independence on developing teaching materials and language tasks for students as they acquire more teaching experience.

Responsibilities of TFs

  • A Teaching Fellow is responsible for organizing and teaching one entire course in consultation with the department. The responsibilities of TFs thus include planning lessons and discussions, and writing the syllabus, class schedule, and examinations.
  • The department encourages graduate teaching fellows interested in creating new courses to meet with the members of the department and to make a course proposal to the department. 

Teaching assistantship assignments

  • The department considers both the staffing needs and professional needs of each student when assigning teaching assistantships.
  • Students who are writing their dissertations may be asked to teach a course.