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Teaching Assistants

The Department of Biology Teaching and Learning is seeking students who are responsible, interested in helping other students learn and motivated to serve as teaching assistants (TAs) for its summer courses (BIOL 1001, 1009, and 3211) and fall courses (BIOL 1001, 1003, 1009, 1012, 1015, 1052, 1055, 1951, 1961, 2003, 2005, 3004, 3211).  

Information on the requirements, responsibilities and hours for each class are available in this Google doc

Interested students should complete the application form by 9 a.m. on Monday, April 12, 2021, to be considered. 

For questions contact btl@umn.edu.

There are three types of TA positions:

  • Lecture TAs play an important role in our dynamic, active learning classrooms. Typical lecture TA responsibilities include: providing students with written and/or verbal feedback on assignments and in-class activities; interacting with students and facilitating group interactions during class; holding office hours to answer questions and assist students with course concepts. 

  • Laboratory TAs independently oversee one or two laboratory sections of 20-25 students each. They are supported in this role with teaching materials and training. Typical lab TA responsibilities include: minute-to-minute organization of the 2- to 3-hour laboratory period; grading the laboratory material for the students in their section; holding office hours to assist students with lab questions and concerns.

  • Foundations Laboratory TAs help students with their research projects in our Active Learning Lab and/or assist a graduate TA with in-lab or in-class activities. Typical responsibilities include: helping students identify, locate and use materials, procedures and software needed for their work; answering students’ questions and helping them work through challenges; assisting with lab organization, administrative tasks and reviewing student work.

Pay

New TAs earn $12.25 per hour; returning TAs can earn $12.50 per hour.

Benefits

A few benefits of TA positions include allowing students to master biology concepts and communication skills, collaborating with peers and instructors, learning to work in a supportive team environment, developing leadership skills and contributing to a positive experience for our students. 

Current TAs provided the following additional quotes regarding their work as a TA:

  • “I had a wonderful time being a BIOL1001 TA. I got to work closely with students in both the lab setting in one semester and in the lecture hall another semester. I was able to work with students in solving problems both inside and outside of the classroom, which I found to be very meaningful. Not only is it a great way to boost your resume but also helps develop interpersonal and leadership skills that are so necessary for professional life.” - Tyra 2019

  • “I feel like I understand biological concepts and medical ethics much better after becoming a TA. When students ask questions, I think about a topic in new and different ways.” -Andy 2021

  • “I was offered resources including training, discussions, and an optional class to help prepare me to take on this new role as a TA. The preparatory experience and work as a TA has given me insight and experience on how to engage students, breakdown complicated concepts, and hone my interpersonal communication skills. My work as a TA has no doubt helped me to learn ways of how to contribute effectively in a team work environment and enhance my presentation skills. I found camaraderie in my fellow TA's during our weekly meetings. There was a great sense of accomplishment being able to see my students succeed.” - Alex 2020

  • "Being a Teaching Assistant has been immensely rewarding in many aspects. As a teaching assistant, I learned effective communication, time management, and leadership skills. This role forces you to think critically and adjust to unique circumstances to meet each student's unique needs. These responsibilities emphasize the practice of being culturally responsive, making me a more mindful and compassionate person overall. Along with these, the fulfillment of seeing students improve and grasp concepts is the greatest reward that being a teaching assistant has to offer." -Sabrina 2021

  • "Being a biology TA has been a unique experience for me since I am not a biology student. It has allowed me to show students that you don't need to be a science major to enjoy and learn about science!"-Beccah 2021

  • “Working with a team of professors and other TAs is one of my favorite parts about being a TA. My fellow TAs have become some of my closest friends and the professors are so supportive and are always looking out for your well-being.” -Priya 2021

  • “I gained valuable experience in teaching larger groups of students, when beforehand I was used to tutoring or teaching individual students.” -Akshat 2018

  • “I feel like I have helped students truly understand the scientific method and sparked their interest in the biological sciences.” -Grace 2021

  • “It helped me with my ability to explain complex topics in simple ways.” -Yanely 2020

  • “One of the most rewarding experiences I had as a TA was when I was helping a student with their final project. They came to my office hours with many questions and left feeling like they knew exactly what to do, and were actually excited about their project topic. Helping this student understand and feel excited about science was very gratifying and made being their TA very rewarding.” - Mackenzie 2020

  • “As a TA, it was amazing to work with a team of individuals equally dedicated to creating an optimal learning environment for our students. Throughout the two semesters I've worked in this position, I've seen so much improvement in tactics used to teach students as well as the structure of the course itself.” -Valerie 2020

  • “I love sharing my passion for science with students who are not studying a field of science.” -Megan 2021

  • “I love seeing students get the “click” moment” and finally understand a concept they were struggling with.” -Jane 2021.