Graduate teaching assistants are currently-enrolled graduate students who assist professors in their course workload by taking on a variety of instruction-related tasks. Teaching assistants teach undergraduate-level classes, administer exams and assign grades. More advanced tasks for a graduate teaching assistant include developing curriculum, writing quizzes and assigning homework.
When you plan your graduate teaching assistant job description, think about the variety of duties the assistant must complete for the duration of the class. Clear and straightforward communication will be necessary for any mix of duties that the assistant will be assigned and should be mentioned as a necessary job skill.
You will want to hire an assistant who is a self-motivated and independent worker, as the position calls for someone to work independently much of the time. Take a look at this graduate teaching assistant job description to get more ideas for writing your own description.
Graduate Teaching Assistant Job Summary
Contribute to the growth of scholarship in education in your role as a graduate teaching assistant at Wellington University. At this time, there are several open positions in a variety of academic departments that need to be filled before the end of the summer term. Depending on the department the position is in, you may teach and supervise laboratory hours, mentor students’ studio projects or hold discussion sessions to review lecture materials. Some graduate assistants may even be called on to teach an entire undergraduate course and be responsible for developing tests and grading papers. You will gain valuable experience and make new academic contacts in this position. Grow professionally as you start undergrad students on their road to learning!
- Assist faculty with such tasks as lectures, data entry, exams, tutoring and laboratory research, at times being responsible for an entire undergraduate course
- Observe other teacher lectures in your department and assist in writing supplementary lecture notes, answer keys and visual aids
- Assure the proper setup and cleaning of labs and enforce laboratory rules to maintain a safe and educational environment
- Develop, write and proctor examinations, and then record and post grades outside the class location and online
- Assist students with course material during office hours, and answer emails from students to ensure proper understanding of the course material
- Serve as the administrator for the course discussion thread online and update the online course page with current due dates, assignments and class hours to make sure everyone has access to updated information
- Acquire all materials needed for course instruction, including textbooks and various supplies to make sure instruction can fully proceed
Job Skills & Qualifications
- Excellent oral and written communication skills
- Enrolled as a graduate student with at least a 3.0 GPA
- Needs to be able to work independently
- Must be enthusiastic about engaging with students about learning
- Previous teaching assistant experience specifically in lecturing
- Available Monday through Friday
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Graduate Teaching Assistant Job Responsibilities
If you had time to sort through a few thousand applications, you wouldn’t need a graduate teaching assistant. Finding the right teaching assistant is more of a hassle than grading term papers and final assignments, but you can take the work out of it by developing a better graduate teaching assistant job description. The job responsibilities section is the weightiest part of the description. Improving it practically automates the candidate selection process by attracting better applicants while effectively screening out the unqualified and unprepared.
To make the best use of your graduate teaching assistant job description, keep it short. A concise, professionally written 8-10 bullets stands out among the sea of overly long, overly wordy job postings, catching and holding a candidate’s attention.
To keep that attention, write your job description using action-oriented language. Action-oriented language begins each sentence with an action verb that conveys a sense of direct involvement in the tasks summarized in your description, rather than a passive reading of a detailed list of chores. For an example, try our sample graduate teaching assistant job responsibilities:
- Support lesson planning and curriculum development for graduate-level computer science courses
- Assist professor with in-class demonstrations during lectures
- Support students during class periods and on project assignments
- Review and score assignments, quizzes and exams
- Provide feedback on student progress to professor
Graduate Teaching Assistant Job Specifications
You wouldn’t pass a student without an excellent score, and you shouldn’t pass a new hire without an excellent match for your criteria. These criteria provide insight into the role’s basic requirements; think of it as the job qualifications and skills necessary to accomplish the functions described in the job responsibilities of the graduate teaching assistant job description. Break this list down into 5-6 bullets. You want to weed out unqualified applicants, but not make the list so stringent even qualified applicants shy away.
In the job qualifications and skills section, it’s best to focus on the minimum academic requirements to perform well in the job, combined with necessary certifications and teaching capabilities. Since this will be a support role, you know best exactly what the person you’ll hire should be capable of. Keeping in mind that they should possess a higher education level than the students you teach, it’s easy to build out your graduate teaching assistant job description with a solid list of criteria.
Have a look through our list of graduate teaching assistant job specifications:
- Completed bachelor’s degree in computer science; master’s degree or Ph.D. in progress
- Current full-time or part-time study program enrollment
- Student teaching certification through university program office
- 3.7 or higher GPA
- 3 positive written recommendations from past or current professors