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Karina 07
02-17-2008, 04:37 PM
Reading the Wisconsin thread made me think of this. I'm wondering if people can share how TA-ing is done at their school or how they hear it's done somewhere.

(Wisc folks feel free to re-post here to have everything in one place.)

I don't have personal experience of this yet (TAing is only done here in 2nd-3rd year), but the blurb on the website looks accurate: "A typical position would require teaching 2 sections, each of which meets twice per week for an hour. Additionally, GSIs hold two office hours per week to help students with specific questions they may have. Finally, some professors hold mandatory meetings with their GSIs" (ed: or require them to go to lecture). Also, I know that GSIs for graduate courses (at least the first year ones) get a pretty sweet deal -- since the courses are basically divided up in two each semester with different profs teaching the first and last half of each semester, the GSIs go with the profs and only teach for half a semester. Highly coveted positions.

Edit: I should highlight the variation, though. Some GSIs only do one section. Some go to lecture, some don't. In some classes, problem sets are rigorously graded, in others they're just checked to see if you handed them in or not and in others problem sets aren't even to be turned in (so you just post solutions and hold office hours in case anyone doesn't understand them). It depends a lot on the prof and the class, as at anywhere, I reckon.

TruDog
02-17-2008, 04:55 PM
At Wisconsin, TAing consists of teaching 3-5 discussion sections of 24 students which meet once a week for fifty minutes, along with holding 1-2 office hours per week, grading homework, and proctoring exams. Some professors require TAs to go to lectures and have weekly meetings, and others don't.

Equilibrium
02-17-2008, 05:28 PM
methinks perhaps we have found a reason why prelims are so hard at wisconsin...jk kind of anyway, I mean really to say that that seems quite a bit more of a teaching load than any TAing going on at any undergrad i've heard of.

fp3690
02-17-2008, 05:36 PM
methinks perhaps we have found a reason why prelims are so hard at wisconsin...jk kind of anyway, I mean really to say that that seems quite a bit more of a teaching load than any TAing going on at any undergrad i've heard of.

Not to say that this kind of TA requirement is not ridiculous, but I think it only applies after the second year, so it doesn't really affect the prelims.

sonicskat
02-17-2008, 07:04 PM
TAing here at VA is pretty nice.

For first years, you are TAing for econ 201 or 202...the large intro class for undergrads. You don't have to go to lecture, or meet with the professor. All lecture notes are typed and handed out by the Head TA. You teach 3 sections a week, each last 50 minutes and have at most 24 people.

You have to grade two tests that are short answer. Then you grade the multiple choice final.

We are listed under 10 hrs per week worth of work. I typically do 5 hours, including the 3 sections I teach.

3 hours for office hours, but nobody every really comes, and I just get my problem sets done.

I can't complain about the situation...and my performance on Cores this june has no implications on my funding next year.

Equilibrium
02-17-2008, 07:12 PM
Not to say that this kind of TA requirement is not ridiculous, but I think it only applies after the second year, so it doesn't really affect the prelims.
i was joking in some sense, but it does seem a bit more than a lot of other places I have heard about, of course I don't have a very wide spectrum of experience in what happens at different schools, just a thought

Dannyb19
02-17-2008, 11:28 PM
At Hopkins, first years do not TA unless they want additional funding, in which case they are usually offered grading duties. For example, I TA the undergrad labor course, but am the only first year who TA's for a class, and I don't believe any first years TA'd last year either. Two other first years are "graders," meaning they just grade the homeworks and exams but do not teach a section.

Second years and beyond all TA, but you are only expected to teach 1-2 sections per week and hold office hours for 2 hours per week. Most people only have one section to teach. My TA this term does not even require a section, sweet for me!

OneMoreEcon
02-18-2008, 12:17 AM
At Hopkins, first years do not TA unless they want additional funding, in which case they are usually offered grading duties.

Not true. People with the named fellowships (usually 2-3 per incoming class) do not have duties during the first year. In my year, anyone else with full funding (i.e. receiving a stipend from the department) was assigned as a grader to one class in the second semester (no duties first semester). However, the two "graders" that you mention were originally supposed to be full TAs for that course instead of just graders.



Second years and beyond all TA, but you are only expected to teach 1-2 sections per week and hold office hours for 2 hours per week. Most people only have one section to teach. My TA this term does not even require a section, sweet for me!

Not to make it sound like Wisconsin, but you should realize the department is having a small amount of difficulty staffing all the courses with TAs. If there aren't enough TAs to satisfy the need, it's always possible that the requirements will be increased for TAs.

Trapped In an EW Box
02-18-2008, 12:24 AM
At UVA, do first years TA? All of them?

How is the first year there btw?

andyecon
02-18-2008, 01:49 AM
At Minnesota, first years are either graders or TA's. As a TA, you have two sections of 35 students for which you hold recitation once per week, one hour each section. Two hours per week of office hours are required to be scheduled, although I almost never had anybody come to mine. Most people are originally scheduled to do summer TAing as well, but 6 of us had it turn into fellowships due to lack of enrollment.

Second year and beyond (if we don't get a research assistant position), we teach courses- make lectures, homeworks, tests, some get to choose their books. This year I am teaching the introductory macroeconomics, once per week, 2.5 hours with 2 office hours during the week. This is a much larger time commitment than during the first year, but since I don't have to study for core prelims anymore I have some extra time anyway.

Dannyb19
02-18-2008, 02:15 AM
There is some disagreeement between OME and I over how the TA at Hopkins works (I believe I can provide a counter-example to his claim). Make sure if you consider Hopkins to ask on the visit how the funding and TA stuff works. And then tell me so I can either rub it in OME's face if he's wrong or not tell him if he is right.

OME: you'll notice I did not mention anything about armbars, that is called taking the high road.

asquare
02-18-2008, 02:11 PM
At U-Mich, GSIs (the local equivalent of TAs) in intro classes have 2 sections of 35 students each. We are also expected to hold office hours (2 or 3 hours a week) and do some grading, in addition to preparing for section. On paper, it's 16-18 hours a week. After your first semester, it takes less, because you get faster at prep and grading. We get about $7200/semester ($14,400/year) stipend for that teaching load, plus tuition waivers and insurance.

sonicskat
02-19-2008, 02:35 AM
About half the first years TA here. Some are offered the jefferson fellowship (I think 3 this year) which doesn't require any teaching the first year. Most others have secured their own source of funding from IMF or other sources.

First year is pretty tough. Unfortunately we got kind of the shaft when it comes to professors this year. The micro prof for the first semester class was on sabbatical last semester. We got a math god from MIT instead. The 2nd semester macro professor is now on sabbatical, meaning we have a fed economist. I hear that both profs are excellent...to bad we didn't get them.

Trapped In an EW Box
02-19-2008, 02:43 AM
Thanks for the info, sonicskat! That's really too bad about the profs :( Do you know if they will be back next year (any inside track on others that might not be teaching)? Is this a normal thing at UVA?

EconCandidate
02-19-2008, 04:03 AM
Not to say that this kind of TA requirement is not ridiculous, but I think it only applies after the second year, so it doesn't really affect the prelims.

Well you'd be wrong because we're first years. Typical first year gets 3-4 discussion sessions weekly for 50 minutes each. Different classes require different things, but most include grading homework. Some include attending lecture and weekly meetings. Some include writing homework and exam questions. All include proctoring exams and about 2 hours of office hours weekly, plus teaching review sessions before exams.

bertthepuppy
02-19-2008, 02:11 PM
Are there any specific programs/schools that do not generally require 1st years to T.A./R.A. at all? Obviously some admits from each school will receive fellowships where they don't have to do anything, but do some schools generally restrict teaching to years 2+?

asquare
02-19-2008, 04:36 PM
As far as I know, most of the top 5 private programs (Harvard, Princeton, MIT at least, and probably others) do not require first years to teach.

At U-Mich, first years usually aren't allowed to teach. About half the class gets fellowship funding for first year, and the others are unfunded and not offered TA positions. This semester, though, there was a shortage of TAs because so many upper year students have found other sources of funding. So, the department offered TA positions to some first years who wouldn't have had funding for the semester otherwise.

Karina 07
02-19-2008, 04:39 PM
As far as I know, most of the top 5 private programs (Harvard, Princeton, MIT at least, and probably others) do not require first years to teach.

At U-Mich, first years usually aren't allowed to teach. About half the class gets fellowship funding for first year, and the others are unfunded and not offered TA positions. This semester, though, there was a shortage of TAs because so many upper year students have found other sources of funding. So, the department offered TA positions to some first years who wouldn't have had funding for the semester otherwise.

Berkeley doesn't allow first years to teach.

Fourth year everyone also gets a fellowship, and it's assumed that most people will be able to find a fellowship for their fifth year. So you only teach or RA for your 2nd/3rd year, unless you have an extra fellowship which lets you avoid that, too.

Nalfien
02-19-2008, 05:58 PM
It seems like here at Yale we are spoiled... We get the first two years without teaching responsibilities and then in the remaining 3 years we need to TA 1 section a semester for 4 out of the 6 semesters. If we stay past five years we need to TA a section in each semester unless we get additional dissertation fellowships. TAing usually requires teaching a section and grading the HWs and exams. Class attendance requirements vary by professor.