My Reflection Page TA: INF 202

This past semester I was a Teacher Assistant for INF 202, introduction to Database and Access. My expectation of what being a teacher assistant would be, were far different than my experience actually was.  As a Teacher Assistant, my duties were to attend the class, help student in and out of the classroom understand the material and concepts and grade a number of assignments.  Database and Access was a strong subject for me, one of the reasons I decided to become a Teacher Assistant but throughout this semester I have learned a great deal more.  Helping students to grasp and understand the subject really help me just as much as I imagine I was helping them. I really had to stop and think about the concepts and then be able to explain them back in such a way that the student would be able to not just learn but really have knowledge on that concept as well. I could see them struggling in some areas that I had also struggled in, and through helping them, it broadened my knowledge and confidence on those subjects.

In the spring of last year I took this class. The Teacher Assistant of that class is now the teacher of this class. At the beginning of that class, I was struggling a lot. My midterm grade wasn’t quite as good and I felt like I was very behind in the class.   So I decided to get help from the Teacher Assistant. He helped me further understand that material and by the end of the semester I finished out the class with one of the best grades and I got one of the highest grades on the final test.  Because of my Teacher Assistant ’s help, I gained a lot of knowledge about the class and in the process, started to really enjoy the material. This is one of the reasons I wanted to become a Teacher Assistant as well. 

Throughout my Teacher Assistant experience, I have been able to spend an extensive amount of time in a subject and field that I see myself entering into after Graduation. I am thankful to have this experience so that it can push me farther into a successful position in the future. 

The first day of the class, I was very nervous. I didn’t know what to expect and I didn’t know if I would be able to live up to the expectations of helping the students in the class.  I knew how much help my Teacher Assistant before me was and I wanted to be able to do the same for the kids in this class. As I introduced myself to the students all that worry started to melt away and I was getting exciting about meeting the students and being able to help them throughout the semester.  For the first month, I didn’t really have to many students coming to me for help. I was afraid that the students did trust me enough to ask for my help. The material was easy and for the most part, I was there to help out the teacher in class. The very first student who came to my office hours was looking for help on a homework assignment. This was a little later into the semester as the material was starting to become more challenging. To my surprise I was able to help this student out very easily and gave them a lot of tips on how to understand the material. This was the first moment that I really felt confident being in the position of Teacher Assistant , I felt as if I was definitely going to make a difference for these students. This student continued to come back to me and I was able to help them understand the material and receive the grade they were striving for in the course.

Once the first student came in, it seemed as if students were coming in left and right. I made sure there was a friendly environment where they could come to me with any questions they had. Once I started to become friends with these students, they felt that they could come to me for anything. Even in the class, students started to feel comfortable coming to me with their questions and my role while being in the classroom started to change. A lot of students had a hard time meeting my office hours so we were able to exchange numbers in order to meet at a convenient time for them. This was not a problem for me and I was more than happy to be there for the students.

Halfway through the semester I started to get a lot of assignments to grade. This was a challenge since I had a lot of work and assignments myself. I was getting swamped with work in my other classes and I felt there weren’t enough hours in the day to do all the work I had. After a couple of weeks, I found it easier to manage my time and the workload didn’t seem as extreme.

One of the assignments given in the class was a challenge for me as well. I had many students coming to me about this homework assignment and I felt as if I couldn’t explain it as well as I had hoped I’d be able to. So I had to go back to the teacher in order to further understand the assignment. This was so that I would feel confident enough with it to be able to help the students understand and feel confident with it as well. I told him that this assignment was challenging for even me and I felt that it would be useful to go over it in class one again. For the final project, I had a lot of students coming to me asking for ideas about a proposal. Many students didn’t know what an appropriate topic would be. So I spent a lot of time helping them with ideas, a lot from experience and also things that they would easily be able to understand and apply concepts that they had learned earlier in the class. I wanted to make sure they were confident so they wouldn’t struggle their whole way through. Right before the end of the semester, the final project was due. The days before the assignment was due, my office hours were crowded with students.  Some of them had last minute questions about how to fix there assignment and other just wanted to make sure that there assignment was going to be up to the standards that the teacher was looking for. I spent a lot of time with the students and I was happy to be able to help them feel confident and get a good grade on their projects.

This is definitely an experience that I am glad to have had and I would do it again in a heartbeat. I had a lot of the students thanking me for my help throughout the semester. It felt good to know that I was able to help other students. I wasn’t expecting that I was going to be that much help for the students. I thought I might have a couple students come in for help and the rest of my time would be spent grading assignments. This far exceeded my expectations. It feels good to know that I was able to be there for students just as my Teacher Assistant before had been there for me and I hope that as my Teacher Assistant was, I was able to be that extra boost a student needed to do great in the class. Moreover the teacher for the class Daniel, he was very friendly and he made the environment in class so much easier and helpful for me, and he also got me involved in class most of the time either helping student or showing them the materials. Daniel and me became good friends he also is one of my classes for computer science CSI 310. Overall doing Teacher Assistant was a great experience for me I learned as much as I taught and helped students, if I was asked to do it again I will be more than glad to do it, helping students and having responsibilities in the class will benefit in the future in my career.

 


Amir Aziz
Information Science, 2012

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