Question for Tas

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I'm just starting my graduate program, and recently found out that my TA assignment is for a class that I never took as an undergrad and which I only have a very basic knowledge of. This makes me a little bit nervous...I don't know how much I will be responsible for the material as a TA, whether I will need to attend the class so that I know what the students are being taught (and just hope that I can catch on quicker than them if they need help?). Should I try to get my assignment switched, or just go with the flow? Has anyone had a similar experience, or care to share any experience with TAing?


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10+ Year Member
Mar 14, 2007
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I've TAed multiple classes I never took as an undergrad. It's honestly not a big deal. I simply sat in on all the lectures (though this was always part of my assignment anyway) and, if I felt that students were bringing up something I wasn't familiar with in class, I would look it up in the text book. I didn't do the reading they were assigned to do or anything like that, though. No time.

The thing about being an upper level student in any field is that very little is going to be completely new to you at this point. Unless you're TAing for a very specific seminar, you're going to be familiar with 90% of the material in class just from being involved in psychology. And for the stuff you aren't familiar with directly you'll still be able to bring in a deeper level of insight than most of the undergrads who are completely new to all the material in the course.


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Feb 19, 2007
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Unless its a stats course, I think its pretty unlikely for anyone to show up for office hours for psych classes anyways;)

There are very very few things at the undergrad level that are "conceptually" difficult, its just being willing to sit down and memorize things. The only people that ever showed up for my office hours were international students with a poor grasp of the English language. I'd try to reword things for them as best I could, though unfortunately there isn't really much you can do for someone in that situation.

One girl did get pissed at me for not being fluent in spanish though. SERIOUSLY pissed. I had to kick her out of the office because she was disrupting other people trying to work (shared office space), it turned into quite the fiasco.