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College of Arts & Sciences

Special Resources for International Teaching Assistants

Increase your Adjustment Opportunities to a New Culture

By Dr. Muriel Gallego  

For somebody who completed undergraduate studies in another country, fulfilling the responsibilities of teaching in an American classroom could be more challenging. Here are a few important things to keep in mind:

  • You will need guidance.
  • You are not alone.
  • Ask for help.
  • If you feel you are not getting the support you need, don't be shy to say so.
  • Assuming that your way of doing things will work will not work.
  • Don't expect your students to behave like you used to behave when you were a student.
  • Don't expect that you are supposed to behave as your teachers used to behave.
  • It is OK to be afraid; many things are not going to be familiar, but don’t let your fear paralyze you. Ask for help; share your experience; look around, and you will find somebody to lean on.
  • Ask and double check before you make a decision. Your supervisor and fellow TAs are your first resource.
  • Try to gradually gain independence.
  • Take advantage of all the training opportunities you will be given, even when they might appear useless.
  • You can find help and guidance from faculty members.

Information Links

Concerned about Your Speaking Abilities?

By Dr. Lara Wallace

One of the biggest concerns that international TAs (and their students) have is the TA's ability to speak English. Designed for TAs who learned English as a foreign language, this fun quiz will ask you about some of your daily habits, then will generally assess your effort in making yourself understood, thus allowing you to reflect on your efforts and to learn what you might do in order to build your English language skills and make yourself better understood in the classroom.

For those interested in improving oral communication skills, please consider taking an ELIP course.

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