First Contract Teaching Assistants

As per the 2014-2017 collective agreement between CUPE 3902 Unit 1 and the University, all TAs beginning their first appointment at U of T must receive 4 hours of mandatory training. They shall be paid for participation in such training by their hiring department. As of September 1, 2014, first-contract TAs asked to lead tutorials or labs/practicals must receive training that focuses on the particular kind(s) of tutorial teaching they have been assigned: discussion-based teaching, skill development, review sessions, and laboratory teaching or teaching in practicals. This tutorial-specific training can be included in the 4 hours of mandatory training. First-contract TAs may also receive training in how to scale their learning activities appropriately to suit the number of students in a given tutorial (as defined by the department and in line with the training “thresholds” referenced in the report of the Joint Working Group on Undergraduate Tutorials, p. 32).

*PLEASE NOTE: Due to logistical constraints, the TATP is only able to deliver training on-site in departments as follows: 2 hours of general training plus 1 hour of tutorial training. If a department wishes to arrange for on-site training that is longer than 3 hours, special arrangements will need to be made on a case-by-case basis, subject to the availability of TATP staff.

As a department/unit, you have several options for meeting the training needs of your new TAs

IN-DEPARTMENT TRAINING

The TATP does not have to be involved in developing or delivering TA training in your department. At your invitation, however, the TATP can come to you! Or, we can simply consult with you to provide resources and ideas for training activities. Here are some options:

OPTION #1: Training developed and delivered by the hiring department

Development of all training materials and the training session itself is handled by the department; TATP staff are available to consult on the development of the training.

OPTION #2: Training developed and delivered in collaboration with TATP

TATP staff can work with your unit to design and deliver the 3-hour session or the TATP can deliver a portion of this training (e.g., 1 – 2 hours). We will consult with your unit to define training needs and the scope of the training session.

OPTION #3: Training developed and delivered entirely by TATP

Some departments prefer that TATP staff deliver the full 4-hour mandatory training session. This will be done in consultation with the unit to define training needs and the scope of the training session. To request an in-department training session, please use the TA Training Request Form on the TATP website. Please also consult the departmental training booking process information sheet, available on the Tutorial Training Information page.

*** PLEASE NOTE ***

MINIMUM NUMBER OF TAs FOR IN-DEPARTMENT TRAINING

Departments with a group of fewer than 10 TAs who require training (be they new or returning TAs) should consider the following training options:

  • TAs can register for the appropriate central training workshop at CTSI
  • TAs can register for the appropriate session at one of the TATP Training Days

REQUIRED NOTICE TO REQUEST IN-DEPARTMENT TRAINING

If you are interested in engaging the TATP to assist with your training needs, please note that the bulk of training sessions in any given year occur in the first three weeks of the Fall term. As such, we will require a minimum of three weeks’ notice to make appropriate arrangements and accommodate your training request. Particularly for training in August, September, October and January, we will not be able to accommodate requests made without at least three weeks’ notice.

CENTRAL TRAINING WORKSHOPS: UTSG

At the start of the Fall and Winter terms, TATP will offer 1-hour workshops on each of the following topics: Labs/Practicals, Discussion-Based Tutorials, Review and Q&A Tutorials, Skills Development: Supporting Student Writing, Skills Development: Critical Reading & Reflection, Skills Development: Problem Set Tutorials, Skills Development: Critical Thinking, and Adapting Teaching Techniques. All of these workshops will be delivered on the St. George campus at the Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation (CTSI) on the 4th floor of Robarts Library. Students must register to attend. Registration information will be available on the TATP website at the end of August for the Fall term and in the first week of January for the Winter term.

These workshops are most useful for:

  • New TAs who have more than one TA appointment in more than one category and require additional training beyond the 1-hour of tutorial training provided by TATP in the initial 4-hour training session
  • New TAs who have been assigned a tutorial with a larger number of students and require training in Adapting Teaching Techniques

For a list of upcoming central tutorial training workshops offered by the TATP, please see the Tutorial Training Workshops web page.

TRAINING DAYS: UTSG, UTM, UTSC

Offered on each campus, these are full days or half days of job training that include:

  • 2 hours of general pedagogical training for new Teaching Assistants – topics covered include important policies at U of T related to teaching, key instructional techniques, general classroom management strategies, effective feedback and effective grading, time management – both personal and in the classroom, communicating with students, effective student support, working with your Course Supervisor, etc.
  • 1-hour concurrent sessions on the following topics:
    • Labs/Practicals
    • Discussion-Based Tutorials
    • Review and Q&A Tutorials
    • Skills Development Tutorials (not all Skills Development workshops will be available – which sessions get offered will depend on the needs of students who register)
    • Adapting Teaching Techniques (modifying teaching activities and approaches to suit the number of students in a given tutorial)
    • Grading (a more in-depth session for new TAs who have been appointed as grading-only TAs and therefore will not be leading tutorials)

Each Training Day will have a broad disciplinary focus – there will be a Training Day for TAs in the Sciences and Engineering, and a Training Day for TAs in the Humanities and Social Sciences. At UTM and UTSC, we may need to combine disciplines in one Training Day – should this occur, TATP staff from a range of disciplines will be assigned to facilitate. TATP Training Days are typically offered after the start of term to capture any students who are late hires or whose appointments change at the start of term. They are also intended for students who have missed all other opportunities to receive training. They will typically be offered in early October in the Fall and at the end of January in the Winter. Students must register for each session they need to attend. Information on TATP Training Days, including registration, will be posted on the TATP website at the end of August and in the first week of January. On the UTSC campus, an additional Training Day will be offered at the start of the Spring/Summer term.

It is possible that a TATP Training Day might be offered at the start of any given term on the UTM or UTSC campus. Training Days on the St. George campus will always happen later in the term so as not to conflict with the Tri-Campus TA Day.

For details about upcoming TATP Training Days, please see the TATP Training Days web page.

TATP WORKSHOP SERIES

Should a TA miss all other opportunities to receive training, the TATP offers workshops on a range of teaching topics throughout the year on all three campuses that can count as training with a department’s prior approval. Visit the TATP Workshops page to view a list of upcoming workshops. Sessions that can count as tutorial training will be marked by the relevant tutorial training icon.