To TA or not to TA?

I’m in a awkward spot. I’ve been asked to TA a course this fall. And I sort of want to but my supervisor doesn’t want me to.

I wrote a post a while ago about how I think that every grad student should TA at least once. But I have TA’d before, so this isn’t my only chance.

I’ve worked out a few of the pros and cons of me TA-ing this course this fall:

  • Pro – Extra money. As a grad student, any extra income you can get is always very welcome. And I don’t like to turn it away.
  • Con –  My supervisor doesn’t want me to. And he makes a good point that I need to get a bunch of work done. Because I’ve had my topic change, I’m much farther behind then I’d like to be. And I’d really like to get a lot done, so I can graduate on schedule (my schedule, anyways).
  • Pro – The course is fascinating to TA. I’ve never had my eyes opened in more ways then when TA-ing this course.
  • Con – The course is very aggravating. I mentioned the opportunity to one person, and was told I should definitely not as I was in a bad mood the entire semester last time I TA’d it.
  • Pro – The course is changing. It’s being taught by a different professor this year, and there are big changes in the work. I’m really interested to see how well the changes work.
  • Con – It’s a part-time TA (which is a pro in that I can’t take a full time position) but when I TA’d it last time (and likely would happen this time) the work load ended up being much closer to full time.

Anyway, none of these reasons are good enough on their own to push one way or the other – except the one about my supervisor. I’ll run the idea by him again, but I’m pretty sure I won’t end up TA-ing the course. I don’t think it’s ever a smart move to go against your supervisor (although, I probably shouldn’t say “ever”).

On the other hand, my supervisor may have a course for me to TA starting in January. So fingers crossed…

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3 thoughts on “To TA or not to TA?

  1. I’m a graduate student too, but we don’t have the opportunity to TA because my program is more policy or student affairs (Higher Education Administration). I wish I could TA, so any chance you can get to do it, should be awesome because I’m sure if you teach undergrads, there’s about a handful that will impact you and vice versa. We might not be in the same field, but if you ever need some one to talk to or rant about grad school, count on me. I have a blog too just because of it.

    • I agree, that everyone should TA at some point. This time it’s more iffy because of the course and my supervisors opinion. Also, I’m lucky enough to have a scholarship that actually prevents me from TA-ing, thus why i can only do part time TA’s. But this is also sort of good in that it lets others without scholarships get TAs so they can have some funding.

      I’ve been really lucky with TA-ing and have had a chance to TA first year, fourth year and grad courses. The course my supervisor may have me TA for is much closer in lines with my own research goals and area interests.

      (And don’t get me started on ranting about grad school… I could probably talk for months on the subject. :))

      • Well… at least we are on the right track to earning a higher salary and more jobs according to a New York Times article that the master’s degree is the new B.A. although I would disagree to some extent because not everyone is cut out to go pass a B.A. (not because they are dumb or anything, that would be illogical to assume), but only because some individuals just don’t have that level of maturity, but I guess it’s their money not ours haha! (That’s my rant on graduate school for the day haha)

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