Graduate Student Associates (GSAs) participate in developing and offering various programs including these:
- leading August and January Teaching Workshops for TAs and faculty
- designing department-specific workshops, seminars, and discussion groups
- consulting with individual teachers, including observing or videotaping TAs in their classrooms and then discussing what works, what can be improved, and how
- writing articles and book reviews for our newsletter, Teaching Concerns
The GSA Experience
What exactly do GSAs working at the Teaching
Resource Center do? Three former GSAs write about their experiences to give those interested in the position a more detailed
idea about what it is like.
Murad (GSA, 2002-03)
From my first class as a T.A., I knew I loved teaching. Being a Graduate
Student Associate at the Teaching Resource Center helped me understand
exactly why and how much I loved it. My first major assignment, leading
sessions at the August Teaching Workshop, brought me together with many
new TAs, who were both nervous and excited about their impending appearances
in a classroom. I sensed immediately how much my future peers wanted
to become good teachers, and my future experiences only confirmed these
initial impressions. Even the most troubled graduate students who came
to the TRC listened intently to the student feedback from the Teaching
Analysis Polls I conducted; and they eagerly discussed with me proven
methods for improving their teaching and getting their students motivated
and involved in the classroom. The smile we inevitably exchanged at
the end of the conversation was the most fulfilling reward of all: I
discovered that I shared their drive to improve and to share knowledge
more effectively. This drive was what brought me to the TRC in the first
place, and I count my experiences as a GSA here among my best at UVA.
All the TRC staff members are so encouraging, enthusiastic, and helpful
that they made training a breeze and proved to me that I would always
enjoy both improving as a teacher and sharing my experiences with others.
Catherine Gardner (GSA, 1995-96)
Much of my time as a TRC consultant was spent 'out in the field', working
with individual TAs on videotaped consultations and teaching evaluations.
This afforded me the opportunity so few of us get of seeing our peers
teach. I found that I not only learned from the wide variety of teaching
styles and methods that I saw, but I also had my own love for teaching
reinforced again and again by the enthusiasm and dedication of the TAs
I worked with. For this reason alone, my time as a TRC consultant has
been more than worthwhile. But there's more. . . . I also worked for
the International TA training program, which gave me a chance to turn
in some potentially Emmy-winning performances as a 'difficult' student
during the role-playing of office-hours. Because this program continues
throughout the semester, I was able to follow the changes in the teaching
skills and confidence levels of the participants. It gave me a great
sense of accomplishment to have been a part of those changes.
Candace Cone (GSA, 1995-96)
The best part of this job has been getting to know so many dedicated
teachers from all areas of the University. My own teaching has improved
as I've had the opportunity to meet with TAs and talk about
teaching. For instance, monthly meetings with the Undergraduate Student
Focus Group have given me a chance to learn what students value in education.
I feel very privileged to have been able to listen to so many undergraduates
candidly relate their classroom experiences. Their honesty and openness
have changed the way I view my own students. Doing video consultations
gave me the chance to watch some wonderful teachers in action and
provided me with many new ideas. I am better able to critique my
own teaching after consulting with so many instructors. Creating workshops
and programs such as the Teaching In Tongues Certificate-Bearing Seminar
has provided me with the opportunity to learn from some of the most
exciting instructors the University has to offer. I have been motivated
by the knowledge and enthusiasm of both the presenters and the participants.
And, of course, all of it accompanied by the best refreshments at UVa!