Applicants and incoming students often ask about the opportunity to find teaching assistant positions while at Fletcher. One of our newly-minted alumni, Amy Patanasinth, shares her reflections on working as a teaching assistant this past semester. As you’ll see, she has followed the common protocol of using TA as a verb, with TAed being the past tense.
This past spring semester, I was a Teaching Assistant with the History Department. I TAed for Professor Jeanne Penvenne’s course “Historical Perspectives on Contemporary African Crises.” As a double Jumbo, I had stayed in touch with some professors from my days as a Tufts history and international relations major, and one of them recommended me for the TA position. For most Fletcher students, the best way to find a TA position is to email the chair of the department in which you’re interested. Fletcher students have TAed for the History, Political Science, and Peace and Justice Studies departments, among others, in the past. Different departments have different application processes; however, most consist simply of sending off your resume — be sure to highlight any teaching experience you may have.
At Fletcher, one of the areas that I studied was Africa, so the course was a great fit. I was responsible for a quarter of all of the grading for a 74-person class and for holding weekly office hours. Since I couldn’t attend the class sessions (due to a conflict with one of my own classes), the office hours were a great way to connect with really bright undergraduates.
TAing was a lot of work, and the timing (my last semester at Fletcher) may not have been the best for me (though professors seem to prefer second-year students). Still, I really enjoyed working closely with the professor, and I learned a lot.
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