Discussion guide for TAs, professors, and instructors

This sample guide highlights some of the common responsibilities for graduate TAs. This can be a useful starting point for discussion between TAs and professors/instructors. This can be helpful for:

  1.  Talking about responsibilities/expectations of TAs.
  2. Sharing these expectations with your advisor.


  • Weekly hours and attendance
    • X hours per week expected?
    • What to do if workload increases above X?
    • Attendance at lectures? (all, some)
  • Class preparation
    • Set up required before class?
    • Proctor exams?
    • Responsibility for creating exams or problem sets?
  • Administrative
    • Keep class attendance?
    • Maintain grade book?
    • Manage online info (Stellar)?
    • Prepare class materials (handouts, projectors, etc)?
  • Grading
    • Responsibility for grading exams, homework, projects?
    • How will grading standards be explained (rubrics)?
    • Will instructors review TA’s grading before returning work to students?
    • Timeline for grading and returning work?
    • How to handle student grading complaints?
  • Teaching and office hours
    • Is TA expected to lecture?
    • Will TA receive feedback on performance?
    • Will TA review lecture plans with faculty prior to lecture?
    • Is TA expected to hold review sessions before exams?
    • Will TAs hold office hours? How often? Where?
    • Expectations for what to do during office hours?
  • Working with student issues
    • What kinds of issues need to be reported to instructors?
    • Policy for late assignments, extensions, absences?
    • How to communicate candid course feedback from students back to instructors?
  • TA teams
    • Will all the TAs meet regularly?
    • Is there a “lead” TA? What is their role?
    • How to distribute workload and communicate throughout semester?
  • Communication and feedback
    • How often and in what form will we touch base? (in person, email, regular meetings?)
    • How do you best receive feedback (both professors and TAs)?
    • Schedule for feedback? (once a term, midterm, 3x per term, as needed?)
    • What to do if a problem comes up during the course?
  • Wrap up
    • Any requirements at the end of the course?
    • Expectations for passing on documentation?