The First Day And Before

This section is designed to help you to get started at the beginning of your session. The organization strategies and information provided here will not only help make your first day an easier one, they will lay the foundation for a semester that is productive and engaging for students and less time-consuming for you.

Help and information you will find here include:
• Resources in the department/school/university for solving specific problems
• Supervisor/professor expectations
• A first day “to do” list
• Planning a walk-through of the class or lab, tools and methods
• Strategies for balancing student interaction and communication with clearly delineate boundaries

Getting things started:
First things first. You should already know or find out as soon as possible:
• Which class will you be a TA for?
• Where and when do your class and session meet?
• Who is the instructor(s) you will be assisting?
Try the USC Schedule of Classes if you need help finding out this information.

Next, contact the instructor(s) you will be assisting as soon as possible. Ask the instructor(s) how they would like to prepare. Meeting in person a week before the start of classes is typical, but preferences vary by instructor.

Whether meeting in person, on the phone, or through email, your priority is to find out what is expected of you as a TA. Again, this may vary by instructor, so don’t make assumptions based on past experience or word of mouth. The TA Responsibility Questionnaire can help you in this process.

Once you have determined your responsibilities, this section can help you start preparing. Feel free to explore the contents in any order:
To Do Lists aid in logistics and administrative preparation.
• Worst Case Scenarios prepare you for unexpected situations on the first day of your new job
Tips & Anecdotes provide stories about first day and before from experienced TAs

To Do Lists Scenarios Tips & Anecdotes
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