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Learning and Teaching Happenings and Resources for Teaching Assistants

December 2022 | Issue 1

Spring 2023 TA Conference | January 4-6, 2023

Schedule & Registration are now live!

We look forward to welcoming all Teaching Assistants (TAs; graduate and undergraduate) and graduate students at UVic to register and attend the Spring TA Conference. Space is limited for some sessions, so sign-up early to reserve your spot.

The TA Conference is a great opportunity to learn the foundational skills you may need to successfully perform your TA duties and support student learning. You will have a chance to share ideas with graduate students from all faculties, as you professionally and personally develop your skills and knowledge about teaching and learning in higher education. Each conference devotes one day to support international TAs. These conferences are free to all TAs and graduate students at UVic and are offered every Fall and Spring Terms.

Key take-aways from the conference include:

  • The role and expectations of you as a TA from both a student and your instructor
  • Resources and support available for you through Learning and Teaching Support and Innovation (LTSI) and your departmental TA Consultant
  • Strategies for implementing active learning, responding to students’ questions appropriately and executing effective open-ended questions
  • Strategies to develop an inclusive learning-centred classroom, such as establishing a positive classroom culture, employing formative feedback, and fostering cultural awareness
  • Strategies for providing effective formative or summative feedback, designing and incorporating a grading rubric, and efficiently managing time when grading (If you are supporting students through assessment of student work)
  • Best practices for flexible learning environments to support student learning (such as online, face-to-face, and blended)

Visit for conference schedule & to register

Winding Down the Term

Welcome to December! In this month’s newsletter, we have a letter from your International Teaching Assistant Consultants (ITACs). They are seeking feedback and want to hear from you about what supports and workshop ideas they can provide next term to assist you as a TA or graduate student.

We also feature a few of our current Teaching Assistant Consultants (TACs). They share wisdom and thoughts for consideration to support you as you are winding down the term and reflecting on your growth and time as a TA.

Your TAC is a great departmental resource to assist you with many questions you may have as you navigate your TA journey. Over the course of the academic year, you will have a chance to see many of the TACs featured throughout the newsletters.

This month’s newsletter has a theme of reflecting on the past term and thinking about your goals for next term. You may also find reviewing some of the TA Guides as you prepare for next term to support your reflection on your learning journey as a TA this term.

Check out our TA Guides

Letter from your International Teaching Assistant Consultants (ITACs)

Hello International Students,

Hope you all are doing well and enjoying your experience here at UVic! During the past semester, we all managed, to do a variety of activities at the same time, from studying to instructing to marking as a Teaching Assistant (TA) and more importantly, living abroad. :)

Anyway, we are all here to help in that TAing component of your work. As promised, we are reaching out to seek your opinions on the way that we can help you on this for the spring 2023 term. In this regard, we are raising two questions that can be found in this questionnaire. Your answers are deeply appreciated as they can provide us with some insight in mapping the rest of the year’s activities. Here are the questions we are asking:

  1. What topics or subjects do you think of as highest need for international TAs to see on the list of the workshops during the Spring semester?

  2. Aside from the workshops, what other possible activities can be added to boost our current plans in helping and supporting ITAs?

Thank you in advance for your time and consideration. Please feel free to reach us out as always, if you have any question, concerns, or suggestions.


Your International TACs

Iman Fadaei | | PhD Student in Sociology

Hannah Brown | | PhD Student in Anthropology

Respond to the questionnaire

December's Featured
Teaching Assistant Consultants (TAC) - Words of Wisdom

profile photo of Lyn

Nahia Pipaon Fernandez (she/her)

There is no one way of being a TA. It takes time and effort to learn how to teach. However, there are valuable skills that will help you in this process.
You should be able to organize your schedule and content always to be prepared. In addition, you will probably need to manage students, so you should work on your leadership skills.

Feedback connects with: idea, response, opinion, survey, comment, rating, result and advice

The best way to learn how to teach is to ask others and go to the TA workshops of your department. Always show active listening so you can relate and empathize with students.
But the characteristic common to all TAs is the capacity to adapt to various teaching environments, students, and working loads.

profile photo of Mehrab

Stephanie Taylor (she/her)
Greek & Roman Studies

A pep talk, for anyone who needs it:

Trust your judgment. Whether you have years or months of experience, you deserve to be a TA. In your tutorial, grading work, etc., you are the expert. You’ve succeeded in least one degree before this; don’t discount this achievement. Whatever answers you don’t have, you can discover using the research skills you’ve been honing for years. For this last stretch of the term, I will assure you: you’ve got this.

And while I still have you here - please also remember to be kind to yourself! Forgive yourself for your mistakes and celebrate your successes. Look out for your wellbeing. Reach out if you're stuck. Allow yourself to be human.

profile photo of Julia

Spencer Funk (he/him)
Mechanical Engineering

As the term comes to an end and we're helping students look back at what they've learned in preparation for finals (and getting ready for finals ourselves!) it's also important for us as TAs to look back on our own work and growth in the last few months. Find a medium that works for you (notes, mind-maps, thinking quietly) and reflect on what new things you did, how they went, what challenged you, and what worked surprisingly well. This can help show yourself that you're developing as a mentor and teacher and reflection can help cement those experiences in your memory - which are great to share in job interviews!

Teaching Assistant Supports

  1. Graduate Student Teaching ProD Certificate is available to any TA or graduate student who attends six distinct workshops (not part of the TA Conferences) and submits a reflective piece. This certificate is a great addition to your CV and your teaching dossier to highlight your dedication to enhancing your professional development.

  2. Supports for International TAs are available for international TAs and for TAs supporting international students. These include connecting with our International-Focused Teaching Assistant Consultants. They are available to answer any questions you may have as an international TA or with supporting international students, providing teaching observations of international TAs, and one-on-one consultations to support you as you are teaching at UVic.

  3. Are you a sessional instructor, preparing to teach your first course? Check out our syllabus guidelines and suggestions for creating a well-designed syllabus that is informative, useful, and engaging.

  4. Doing TA Work Certificate is a professional development certificate for TAs and graduate students that engage with the self-paced, asynchronous course “Doing TA Work” on Brightspace.


Teaching Assistant Events & Workshops

Missed a TA Conference session? Not to worry, some are repeated throughout the spring term. Check out the offerings on Learning Central - filter by provider "LTSI" and look for the "LTSI/TA" tag! TAs are also encouraged and welcome to attend instructor workshops.

View all upcoming workshops

Doing TA Work (self-paced asynchronous course)

Have you been tasked with a teaching assistant (TA) position for an online course or a course that uses online components in a blended format? In this online course, you will access information and resources you require to successfully perform your TA duties via Brightspace and other online tools.

Learn more and register


Student Resources and Supports

Learn Anywhere is the best place for students to access resources and supports for in-person, blended and online learning and access our student academic success supports (Learning Strategies Program, Math and Stats Assistance Centre, Centre for Academic Communication)

Share Learn Anywhere with your students


Contact Us

Would you like to contribute to this newsletter, or have questions regarding our workshops, events or resources?

Email us