Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Post 91: September Coming: A Few To-Dos, including GTIOP, our new TAC, and the TA Conference!

I know I said I'd write about my experiences of the EA Global conference as my next post, but a few important things have come up between, and I'm still working on that post. :)

I'm leaving for my trip home tomorrow, and I've been populating a list of things to do before I leave. One of those was remembering that the Graduate Student Tuition Income Offset Plan, which sets up a preauthorized electronic debit (PAD) with the university for 4 equal monthly payments of your tuition, instead of having you pay all of your tuition at the beginning of the semester. I've written about it previously here, and have found it immensely useful for keeping up on my financial well-being, and organizing my finances more generally. The deadline to submit the form so you're set up for the year is 15 September.

Cute neighbourhood succulent #1! <3
Dr. Anita Girvan left for a prestigious year long position at a Bucknell University in Pennsylvania after she finished her PhD last year (yay!), and the position of Teaching Assistant Consultant for the School of Environmental Studies has remained open over the past year. I'm glad to say that now the lovely Ms. Kristen Walsh has filled that position!

As our new TAC, she's been working hard to complete the training that comes with the position. I bumped into her last week at UH4 where she made a few comments about the work involved. I hadn't anticipated there to be so much training, but it makes a lot of sense! Thinking back to Anita, she put quite a lot of effort into the resources and sessions she provided us as teaching assistants (TAs), and there's quite a lot to think about if it's your first time TAing. I'm sure the training would also cover how to talk to TAs that are teaching for the first time, and for the students that already have a class or two in their TA roster.

I remember having the thought that the leap from being an undergraduate student to two years later suddenly being in the position of grading students' work (especially when it seemed to me that I was little more qualified than when I had been a student myself) felt a little bit concerning. Between the training provided by Anita, and the TA conferences I attended, I felt much much more prepared to do a good job as a new TA.

Cute neighbourhood succulent #2! <3
Speaking of: the TA Conference is coming up again! Plan out your schedule for it this year. The beginning of the semester is always a busy one, not the least of which is because there are welcome events, the Fall TA Conference and training, and for new graduate students, other orientations as well. But, the TA Conference is one that I highly, highly recommend.

This year the conference is being held Tuesday 6th September to Friday 9th September.

I've written about my enthusiasm and experiences at the conference previously here, and here, and while I'll be away for the conference this year, I'll definitely be thinking about it!  For those of you who can't make the conference in the fall, no fear! There is also the Spring TA conference that happens early January. (No link provided currently because there's only 2016 information posted.)

And cute neighbourhood succulent #3! <3

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