Types of TAships at York

Unit 1 members of CUPE 3903 include full-time graduate students who have a teaching contract. Please see below descriptions of the various types of Unit 1 TAships one can hold.


A tutorial is a one to two hour session meant to complement the lecture given by the course director. It is the place where students can meet in smaller groups to get clarification on issues that arise from the lecture. It is the place where undergraduate students can get direct access to an instructor (that’s you!). It is up to your course director to tell you exactly what he or she wants to happen in tutorial, but generally the tutorial will consist of discussion(s) about the assigned reading and/or discussion of what happened in lecture and to deep students’ understanding of the course content.

Role of a Tutorial Leader (Tutor 1)

As a tutorial leader, your role is typically to facilitate discussion; however check with your department/ course director to confirm what your new role entails. Although it is sometimes necessary to clarify issues or answer specific factual questions, the best tutorials are the ones in which students get a chance to broaden and deepen their understanding of issues raised in lecture by discussing them with you and their peers (rather than simply being told the same information again).


A lab is typically a hands-on practical experience of content addressed in a large lecture. In the case of Fine Arts, studio labs provide students with the opportunity to experience the medium or materials of their art form. Dance labs, for example are often conducted in larger studio spaces where students have the opportunity to embody theoretical material discussed in their lecture. Science labs provide students with the opportunity to conduct experiments and experience other hands-on related experience.

Role of Tutor 2 (Demonstrator: 3 lab hrs/wk) and Tutor 6 (Studio Instructor)

The role of the Tutor 2 and 6 is to familiarize oneself with the practical hands-on experience of the subject matter. These lab leaders need to have a sound understanding of how to keep students safe in these learning contexts whether students are working with hazardous chemicals (as in the case of science labs and some visual arts labs), or working with the medium of their bodies.

Tutor 3 (Marker Grader)

As a tutorial leader one of your many duties may include marking and grading; however there are also teaching assistantships that consist primarily of assessing students’ work.

Role as marker grader

Your role as a marker grader is to assess students’ performance of their course work on behalf of the course director with respect to his/her guidelines, i.e. in the form of assignments, tests, exams, lab reports, essays, classroom participation etc. You may also be asked to invigilate exams and/or consult and meet with students on an as-needed basis.

Other Types of Teaching Assistantships

Course Directorship

Individuals are assigned sole principle responsibility for the design and/or presentation of a course. These are often given to Senior TAs.

Team Lecturer

Are individuals responsible for a portion of a course as part of a team in a team-taught course.

Instructor (Faculty of Education)

Individuals who are assigned secondary responsibility for the presentation of a course in which a course director is also appointed and for which the team lecturer model is not applicable.

Music Tutor

A professional level musician/teacher who is contracted by Department of Music to teach private instrumental vocal lessons in performance or coach, lead and conduct music performance.

Please see the Unit One Collective agreement for more comprehensive descriptions of all these Unit 1 TAship including Tutor 4, 5, 6 and 7.