Typically at large universities Teaching Assistants, or TAs, are graduate students who assist with undergraduate classes. But we do not have graduate programs at Grove City College, so do we have TAs?
Yes, we do. There are many classes at Grove City College that are assisted by one or more TAs, especially classes with hands-on, practical experiences. As an Entrepreneurship and English major I have more experience with these two departments than the others at the College, but both departments offer opportunities for students to assist their professors. The Entrepreneurship department has more opportunities for students to become TAs, whereas the English department has more opportunities for students to be Student Assistants.
I will go over the basic differences between TAs and Student Assistants here, but check out my post about being a Student Assistant if you are curious about that side of things. The major difference between a Teaching Assistant and a Student Assistant is that a Teaching Assistant typically assists with a specific class, and often works both with their supervising professor as well as closely with the students in that class, while a Student Assistant typically works behind the scenes with their supervising professor, and not necessarily with other students. There are many opportunities for both kinds of positions at Grove City College.
If you are a TA, you are likely a TA for a specific class that you have taken before and done well in. In my experience as a student in classes with a TA and as a TA myself, TAs will typically work closely with students in and out of class to help them understand the course material and to understand and complete assignments well and on time. There are often TAs for science classes with labs, and in the Entrepreneurship department there are often TAs for classes that require extensive group work and practical applications of skills.
The great thing about this position is that it is very easy to fit into your schedule. Generally TAs attend regular class periods for the class they are working in, so it is important to not schedule another class at this time. Other than this, however, most of a TA’s job can be done on their own time, or during meetings set up with students in the class.
This past semester I was a TA for an Entrepreneurship class in which students are put into teams and then compete in an online business simulation throughout the semester. I regularly attended class meetings and met with the professor on a semi-regular, as-needed basis. I also met with various teams from the class throughout the week in order to answer questions, assist in game strategy, and work through team dynamics. Due to the flexible nature of these meetings, I would work anywhere from 3-10 hours a week in this position, based on if a major assignment for the class was due, if teams needed help with their dynamics, or how busy I was in my classes.
Many Grove City College students are a TA at some point in their time at the school, and it is certainly possible to be a TA as an undergraduate.