7+: Other Sessions

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1 Session 7: TA Panel

Not much to say here: we invite 3–5 experienced TAs to sit on a panel and field new TA questions. I let the experienced TAs introduce themselves and make opening remarks if they wish, but they rarely have opening remarks to make. I have a set of backup questions in case conversation lags, but I almost never need to use them.

This session serves to have TAs review material, verify that what we’ve been teaching the matches the experience of our more experienced TAs, and get various perspectives on some of the topics for which there is no one right answer.

I also use TA questions and answers in this session as a source of new topics to add to the course.

2 Optional Sessions

After the seven required sessions, we have a few weeks of optional sessions, of which each TA is required to attend a subset of their choosing. This gives me a chance to field-test other ideas and refine them before adding them to the required curriculum (or removing them from the course).

At the end of the term I ask each TA to mark each session as one of

and use their feedback to decide what to offer next semester. Most of the required sessions listed above started out as optional and took a few semesters to reach a point where most TAs who attended stated they were required-ready.