Join the Instructional Team
Do you like helping students think through tough concepts? Are you looking for a good way to stay on top of your science knowledge while making a difference in someone’s studies? A Learning Assistant (LA) position may be perfect for you. With increasing frequency, more courses at Penn State are using Learning Assistants. A typical LA spends 6 hours/week participating in a number of activities that include facilitating classroom discussions, holding office hours, grading homework, and helping students hone their study skills. Learning Assistants receive training (typically the semester before they teach) and earn Biol 400 credit both during training and as an LA. Watch for periodic emails during the year, or talk to an instructor, about submitting an application for these opportunities.
Do you like labs? Are you interested in helping students learn first hand about biology? If so, then you might want to consider being a Laboratory Teaching Assistant. The Lab TAs lead individual lab sections and, depending on the course, may work as part of a TA team. In some courses a TA team may share responsibility equally, but in other courses there may be a Lead TA and a Co-TA. In all cases, the Laboratory TAs are responsible for explaining and demonstrating the laboratory protocols, working with students one-on-one and in small groups, grading assignments, and maintaining a safe and orderly laboratory environment. Lab TAs also provide guidance on writing assignments such as lab reports and notebooks, and provide students regular feedback. Most Lab TAs hold regular office hours and weekly TA meetings are common. Lab TAs receive training (either the semester before they teach and/or during the semester while they are teaching). Lab TAs earn Biol 400 credit and typically spend 6-8 hours/week working with students, grading, and preparing for labs. Depending on the course and responsibilities, Lab TAs sometimes receive a small hourly wage. Watch for periodic emails during the year, or talk to an instructor, about submitting an application for these opportunities.