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Caltech Teaching Assistants

A full teaching assistantship usually requires 20 hours per week to be devoted to teaching and to the related activities of class preparation, grading, and consulting with students.  In general, teaching obligations are confined to the 12 weeks of the academic terms, excluding summer.

A student may not, without advance permission from the dean of graduate studies, be a teaching assistant for a course in which he or she is enrolled and receive credit. Only teaching assistants with good oral English are permitted to teach sections. Students may demonstrate competence by passing the English proficiency screening during orientation, enrolling in and passing ESL 101, or subsequently scoring at least 50 on the standardized NTS (National Testing Service) SPEAK test before admission to candidacy.

All teaching assistants are required to attend teaching-assistant training before payment can be processed. Training sessions occur in the first week of the fall term, typically during orientation, and at least once per term for continuing students, including undergraduate students with teaching responsibilities.

Teaching assistants must familiarize themselves with Caltech's policy on harassment. Classes should foster academic achievement in a "hassle-free" environment. Teaching assistants should not attempt to date a student in their class, and should disqualify themselves from teaching a section in which a spouse or current partner is enrolled.

Offices such as the Center for Teaching, Learning and Outreach and programs such the Caltech Project for Effective Teaching (CPET) provide a valuable resource for students interested in learning more about effective teaching styles and pedagogical techniques. In addition to workshops and seminars, these resources also prepare the TA Handbook and assist with the facilitation of course evaluations.

Resources