As I reflect back on this semester as a TA for Intro to Psych, there are many things that come to mind. When it comes to teaching, there are many important aspects to teaching that I have learned. I learned that students have different learning styles and you have to be willing to work with them to help develop and implement a plan that will meet their specific learning needs. For instance, I worked with a student this semester who was struggling with course content. Initially we went over her exam going question by question, pulling from the book and from class material where the answers came from. Although, this helped her it wasn’t enough for her to get her feet on the ground in the course. Our second meeting, was much more specific and tailored to her individual needs. She had emailed me prior to our last meeting and I really tried to incorporate some of her suggestions. This was all done in the high hopes that this would help improve her performance in the class. At our third meeting she was still struggling, so not only did I incorporate her suggestions but I also worked in Dr. Gurung’s suggestions for improving course performance by helping her sort out her notes. This was the most successful meeting because we had finally managed to create a plan for her that was not only tailored to her individual educational needs but that also managed to incorporate what Dr. Gurung believed to be one of the most important elements to being a good student in his classroom, that of good note taking skills.
I also learned that when it comes to a topic that, you as a TA, are really genuinely interested in, it makes it all the more easy for students to become interested in that topic as well. For example, our TA presentations on Abnormal Disorders, specifically my topic of Dissociative Disorders. This is a topic that I find particularly interesting and due to the fact that I found it very fascinating it made my presentation all the more fun and easy to do. I also was able to generate a discussion about the topic based off of the information that I included during my presentation. This was probably one of the most rewarding aspects of the entire semester because it was just so exciting, thrilling, and amazing, to see the students so interested in learning, especially in a topic that I have always been particularly found of. And getting to see them interested in Dissociative Disorders with the same tenacity as I once did was such a fulfilling experience!
I also learned this semester that sometimes there are things you don’t necessarily want to do or necessarily look forward to doing when it comes to certain TA responsibilities, but you do them anyway because that is part of your role/job as a TA. Also, even though it may not seem like study sessions and review sessions are necessary or that they should even be required, the fact of the matter is that many of the students get a lot out of these sessions and that without them they might not do as well in the class had they not been offered in the first place. And, overall, my main reason for wanting to be a TA in the first place is to help students, so that they can ultimately do better and succeed in the classroom. If we didn’t offer these additional opportunities for them to review material in and outside of the classroom, perhaps they wouldn’t have done as well in Intro to Psychology as they could have. So, the study sessions and the review sessions are really there as additional opportunities to help students to succeed and to maximize their utmost potential for the course. I would definitely say that all and all my main reason for choosing to be a TA was fulfilled this semester because I learned more than I initially set out to do and I successfully managed to help students to do well and to succeed in the course.