Resources for TAs

The majority of resources listed below have been written and created by York Graduate TAs for Graduate TAs.  These resources have been organized under the following headings:

Examples of good practice at York

The following is a video created by Graduate Teaching Assistants, sharing their own successful practices in obtaining feedback from their students.

Obtaining Feedback from your Students Video Resource

A video prepared by Senior Teaching Assistants, Terri-Jane Stapleton, Joanne Azevedo and Holly Clayton about a variety of ways to request and obtain feedback from your students on your teaching in tutorials/labs.

View Transcript of the Stop, Start, Continue Video

TA Resources by Topic

Types of TAships at York contains information on the variety of TAships that you may be assigned.

TA Roles and Responsibilities outlines your role and responsibility to your students, to your Course Director(s) and York University.

For International Teaching Assistants (ITAs) addresses the context of the Canadian classroom at York and the International TA experience, including handling anxieties, minimizing language difficulties and using your global advantage.

Planning and Prepping for your TAship contains information on planning for your TAship, how to conduct your first class, ideas for ice breaker activities and supporting your students.

Teaching Strategies contains information about various teaching strategies for designing and delivering your course and curriculum. It has a number of helpful resources regarding activities in the classroom, managing resources, assessment and so on.

First-Year Experience (FYE) In The Classroom Toolkit provides a wealth of resources to meet the needs of instructors of first year students transitioning to York, but also has great resources that any course instructor or TA will find useful.

Using Google Drive as a Teaching Tool is a tutorial on how to use Google Drive as a positive tool to teach and grade. It begins with creating an account, and shows you how to create and upload documents, share files with your students and comment on their work. Examples of possible uses are provided and it touches upon different applications that may be utilized to enhance the functions of this technology. This tool is likely most appropriate for tutorial leaders, though lab demonstrators may also find it useful.

Using Web 2.0 to Increase Student Engagement and Participation contains information regarding the use of a Facebook group as a supplemental tool in tutorials. This resource outlines the benefits and some of the different ways of using a Facebook group. It also discusses the copyright involved with sharing videos from YouTube or other online content.  Here are supplementary, quick resources to accompany this useful resource:

TA Handbooks

These handbooks demonstrate good practice and are context specific and speak to the teaching and learning environment at York University.

The cover of the TA Startup Guide
Are you a first time TA? Are you an experienced TA? The TA Start Up Guide is meant to be a user friendly document that will enable you to begin your TAship at York University on the right foot.

The cover of the ITA Handbook
Is it your first time as a Teaching Assistant at a Canadian University? The International TA (ITA) Handbook is designed to support the new ITA; The guide is meant to work in tandem with our Teaching Commons ITA and TA programming. Attending the ITA orientation sessions in addition to referencing this manual will provide you with a strong foundation from which to begin your TA experience.

The Resources for New TAs Conducting Tutorials and Laboratories document is appropriate for new TAs of all disciplines that are responsible for conducting tutorials or laboratories. It is a comprehensive manual that addresses six important topics: i) holding tutorials (also appropriate for laboratories), ii) office hours, iii) accessibility, disability and anti-oppression, iv) marking, v) critical reading, vi) critical writing. Many external links are also provided in relevant sections to direct the reader for further information, and appendices with example relating to each section are also provided.

The cover of the TA Feedback GuideThe TA Feedback Guide guide is designed to help TAs at York obtain feedback on their teaching from students, peers and mentors. It also provides strategies for self-evaluation and reflection on one’s teaching. This guide includes a number of sample evaluations, observation forms and checklists in the appendix.

Academic Honesty and Integrity is a multidiscipline resource aimed to help both experienced and new TAs, whose roles are tutorial leaders, lab demonstrators, markers or invigilators, prevent and combat undergraduate academic honesty violations. It begins with York’s official Senate Policy on offences and penalties and explores creative ways of preventing academic honesty violations; real, personal experiences of TAs are also provided along with True/False quizzes and other tools that TAs may want to share with their students.

Discipline-specific TA Resources

A picture of science beakers with coloured liquids in them

Effectively Teaching in the Science Lab is a resource targeted toward laboratory demonstrators (LD) in the faculties of Health and Science and Engineering. The first part describes the approach the LD should take when delivering the prelab talk, including how to conduct the talk and what it should address. Part two speaks to the purpose of the experiment, while part three speaks to dealing with students’ results.

Resource for TAs in the Arts – Resources and Lesson Ideas to Improve Student Writing Skills is a resource targeted toward TAs in Fine Art disciplines.  It is a ‘starting point’ resource targeted at teaching writing skills to undergraduate arts students.

York Support


Supporting units available to all graduate students

Resources External to York

Teaching Assistant and Graduate Student Advancement (TAGSA) is a Special Interest Group (SIG) of the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (STLHE) that seeks to raise the profile of TA and graduate student development in Canada and to provide leadership in highlighting initiatives to develop teaching skills and other professional skills in graduate students.  Consider joining this group, exploring their resources, or contributing a blog post or other resources to share with graduate students and TAs across Canada.

Lieff, S. (2009). Faculty Development Evolving Curriculum Design: A Novel Framework for Continuous, Timely, and Relevant Curriculum Adaptation in Faculty Development. Academic Medicine, Vol. 84, No. 1

Elford, J. S. (2014) Reflections After a Semester of Teaching (for the first time)