Life as a GTA (Additional Blog Post #4)

Most, if not all of us in this class have the luxury of being a GTA. Depending on your position, you will have varying responsibilities. I found an article online from the University of Nebraska that provides a generic sense of the responsibilities that TA’s have, and it pretty much applies to all universities in that sense.

As a public speaking GTA, I am in a unique position. We have a course director who designs the class content and schedule, but after that the TA’s are the only ones the students see in the classroom. We prepare our own powerpoints, meet with students in office hours, and grade work by ourselves. It has been an incredible experience being on “the other side” after having experienced being a student in undergrad.

This experience has made me appreciate my professors even more. It is not that I did not before, but now I see all the things they have on their plate on top of having to do research at a research 1 university like Virginia Tech. They have got to navigate students demands while doing another part of their job that does not even involve the students.

As TAs, we also have to navigate that line of understanding that we are the ones with authority in our classes but also realizing that on the surface we are not that much older than our students. I have definitely had a few students challenge me in a way that I do not think they would have challenged a professor much older than them. However, the overwhelming majority of students are great to work with and this TA experience has definitely been a rewarding one.


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