TA FAQ

What is a TA position?

Each term the UBC Creative Writing Program Minor employs Teaching Assistants
to help with the marking and administrative workload of its large-format lecture
classes. The number of positions available each term depends on the number of
undergraduate lecture courses offered and the number of students registered in each
class.

Are TA positions a type of scholarship or bursary for graduate students?

No. TA positions are jobs, and as such, demand a level of responsibility,
accountability, as well as a capacity to manage a rigorous workload. In addition, TAs
must be able to communicate with and provide feedback to undergraduate students
in a kind, respectful and professional manner.

What are typical TA duties?

Typical TA duties include: marking assignments and quizzes, answering student
queries during office hours and via email, as well as helping with classroom logistics,
including, distributing handouts, running media, monitoring quizzes, and answering
student questions.

Will being a TA give me teaching experience?

TAs will gain experience working with students, marking assignments and working in
a university learning environment. Depending on the course design and the
supervising instructor, TAs may get the opportunity to prepare and present a lecture
during the term.

I want to TA for a particular course. Is that possible?

While we take student preferences into consideration, decisions of where TAs are
assigned are made based on the overall pool of applications, applicant experience and
the needs of the instructors. Most new TAs can expect to begin with CRWR 200, a
survey course of creative writing forms.

How does a TA position work with my academic schedule?

TAs are responsible for ensuring that there isn’t a course conflict between the graduate workshops they are registered in as a student and the lecture course they’ve been assigned to as a TA. TAs are expected to be available for all sessions of the lecture course they are assigned to. Usually, classes requiring TAs run on Tuesdays and Thursdays, while most graduate classes are on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

How long does a TA position last?

Each TA post is assigned for one term: Sept – Dec or Jan – April or May-June. New
TAs will usually be assigned one working term per academic year. Senior TAs may be
assigned two working terms per academic year.

How much does a TA position pay?

The majority of TA positions offered in Creative Writing are part time positions where students can expect to earn  $29.87/hour (or $31.04/hour if you’ve already completed a graduate degree). A TA position is usually around 96 hours, but can vary.

Do I have to be on campus to be a TA?

Yes. TAs are expected to attend the class they are TAing, as well as quiz-marking
sessions, office hours, and on campus training. We do not currently have the resources or technology to support off-campus TAs although there may be some classes that don’t require as much on-campus presence.

Are TA positions open to Optional Residency MFA students?

Yes! TA positions are open to MFA students in both streams of the program, as long
as the student is living in the lower mainland and able to attend all sessions of their
assigned class as required by the instructor, quiz-marking, and on-campus training.

How do I find out about available TA positions for the upcoming term?

The TA hiring notice for the upcoming academic year is emailed to all incoming and
existing graduate students at the beginning of April. In addition, we notify students
via our website and on our online forum. The hiring notice contains all necessary
information pertaining to applying for a TA position.

What type of experience should I highlight in my application?

Teaching experience or training is an asset. Students should be sure to mention any
tutoring, mentoring or leadership experience they’ve had. Volunteer experience will
be considered alongside work experience.

What can I do to better prepare for securing a position as a Teaching Assistant?

  • Take an instructional skills/teaching workshop. (See UBC’s Centre for Teaching Learning & Technology for details.)
  • Familiarize yourself with presentation software such as Prezi.
  • Read books on craft in your preferred genre.
  • Do some reflective thinking on your own writing education, what you’ve learned, what you wished you had learned, what you would most like to teach.