Cover: The Successful TA: A Practical Approach to Effective Teaching, by Kathy M. Nomme and Carol Pollock. background: a teal background with white eight-point stars as embellishment.
136 pages, 5 x 8
Release Date:15 Feb 2022
Release Date:15 Feb 2022

The Successful TA

A Practical Approach to Effective Teaching

SERIES: On Campus
UBC Press, On Campus

The Successful TA is also available as a free, open access PDF. Click the green download button on the left, or visit the special open access page.

Maybe you’re an undergraduate or graduate student who’s just been appointed a TA. Or maybe you’re a postdoctoral student or a new hire with limited teaching experience. In either case, you’ll be expected – with little to no training – to enhance the learning experience of students.

Kathy Nomme and Carol Pollock recognize this gap between expectations and training and draw on decades of experience to offer practical advice on:

  • interacting with course instructors or coordinators
  • dealing with nerves and anxiety
  • preparing the first session
  • supporting student learning
  • developing learning exercises
  • engaging students with diverse needs and backgrounds
  • using technology in the classroom
  • assessing student work and providing feedback.

This short, accessible guide can be applied to any discipline or teaching scenario – from large lecture halls to smaller labs, studios, seminars, and tutorials. It not only demystifies expectations for TAs, it sets the stage for developing a lifelong teaching practice.

This book is a must-read for current and future TAs, postdocs and new faculty with limited teaching experience, or anyone involved in TA or teacher training.

The Successful TA comprehensively addresses the many facets of working as a teaching assistant, without going too in depth into any given topic. It is an easy and fairly quick read, which will appeal to graduate students who are managing heavy workloads. Kelsea Perry, PhD student and TA, Department of Sociology, University of British Columbia
This TA guide covers a wide range of possible experiences, from leading a lecture, designing activities, and instruction in labs. The provided scenarios create opportunities to plan ahead for the diversity of situations TAs find themselves in. The concise format, including introductions to current evidence-based practices and creating inclusive educational spaces, makes it an excellent introductory guide. Lisa McDonnell, associate teaching professor, UC San Diego, Biological Sciences
A simple, short survival guide for novice teaching assistants (TAs) assigned to their first course. And, for instructors working with TAs for the first time, the authors also provide many key ideas for successful supervision. Russell Day, teaching professor, Department of Psychology, Simon Fraser University
The strength of this guide is its concise and approachable nature, and its focus on practical advice and examples. It provides a new TA with a solid sense of what she is facing, how to get started, what she needs to do, and how to deal with tricky situations. Christoph Richter, associate professor, teaching stream, Department of Biology, University of Toronto Mississauga

Kathy M. Nomme and Carol Pollock are recognized experts in teaching, learning, and TA training. They were instrumental in developing and implementing a TA training program at the University of British Columbia and have contributed to establishing standards for TA training in Canada and the United States. They are professors of teaching emeriti at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver.

Getting Started

1 Stepping into Your Role

2 Preparing for Your First Session

3 Designing Lessons and Learning Activities

4 Creating an Inclusive Learning Environment

5 Facilitating Classroom Interaction

6 Teaching with Technology

7 Assessing Student Learning

8 Reflecting on Your Teaching Practice

Words of Encouragement


Further Resources

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