MGAPS intends to foster the growth of a pro-active TA community in the Physics Department. Key goals include:

  • Introduce teaching concepts (active learning, student centered approaches)
  • Encourage inclusive and engaging classrooms and meaningful marking
  • Promote feedback at all levels throughout the term (students, TAs, professors)
  • Promote TA Mentorship
  • Solicit new ideas!

TA Feedback

Use this survey template to easily create an anonymous survey that your students can complete using myCourses. You can make the survey yourself if your professor grants you access, or you can ask them to do it.

To create the survey simply:

  1. Navigate to “Edit Course”
  2. Navigate to “Surveys”
  3. Navigate to “New Survey”
  4. Fill in the relevant fields, and then navigate to “Add/Edit Questions”
  5. Navigate to “Import”
  6. Under “Input Source” select “Desire2Learn Text Format” and upload the survey template
  7. Now you can open the survey, or modify the survey to better suit your purposes in mycourses

TA Resources

Resources at McGill

Attending a teaching workshop

The T-Pulse group (Tomlinson Project in University-Level Science Education) is committed to improving science teaching and learning at McGill. T-Pulse organizes free graduate teaching workshops for TAs in science: http://www.mcgill.ca/tpulse/workshop. These workshops represent a great opportunity to familiarize yourself with efficient teaching techniques and to address your concerns, especially as a new TA.

Skillsets (http://www.mcgill.ca/skillsets/) also offers teaching workshops through the Learn to Teach (LTT) initiative.

Rent clickers for your tutorials sessions

Student Response System (or ‘clickers’) are wireless devices enabling you to ask questions to students and to collect the answers in real time, which can help creating a dynamical learning environment http://www.mcgill.ca/tpulse/clickers/.

Get in touch with the McGill Teaching and Learning Services

Teaching and Learning Services strives to make McGill a community of people who love to teach and are excited to learn. In collaboration with students, faculty and staff, they create engaging environments and provide leadership and support for meaningful educational experiences for all. Visit their website!

Resources outside campus

Attend a SALTISE workshop

Supporting Active Learning & Technological Innovation in Science Education (SALTISE) is a community of practice that brings together instructors and professional development staff from English and French educational institutions within the greater Montreal area, as well as other regions of Quebec. The key goals of SALTISE are based on the ideas of pedagogical change involving innovations in instruction and leveraging the use of educational technology to promote learning.

Goals of SALTISE:

  • To promote the development of a community of practice among science instructors at both levels of education.
  • To foster collaborations that will support the development, dissemination and sharing of innovative science pedagogies including the effective uses of technology and new learning environments.
  • To promote sustainability of the human, pedagogical and technological resources, as well as the institutional infrastructure created through these collaborations, by establishing a Center with appropriate public presence (e.g., website).
  • To disseminate best practices in science education through a mentorship model that supports peer-to-peer mutual sharing within and between educational levels.

As part of the initial grant SALTISE organized events and workshops that are of interest to the science education community.

If you are interested to take part to one of these events, please contact the Graduate Teaching and Learning Coordinator (gtlc@physics.mcgill.ca) or visit SALTISE website.

Online Resources

Many pedagogical resources are available online. Check them out to get new ideas, gather useful tips and broaden your view on teaching methods.

More education resources from other universities can be found on this page: http://www.mcgill.ca/tls/graduates/resources#TA.

TA Wiki

During the 2013-2014 academic year the TA-Team launched the McGill Physics TA Wiki.

The purpose of this wiki is to be a resource for TAs and by TAs, to help them both choose and perform their TA duties. The wiki is password protected with only professors and TAs having access rights. This provides a space for TAs to document their experiences, describe useful and ineffective strategies, and paint an accurate picture for future TAs of what a particular TA job entails.

The wiki is a work in progress! We encourage you to add content and take ownership of your course page - be creative! If you found your page lacking then please take the time before the end of term to improve it for the next TA or even prof who will teach the course.

Please do not upload solutions to the wiki, even though it is password protected we do not wish to take this risk.

TA Team

In 2013 MGAPS started a TA Committee, otherwise known at the TA-Team. All TAs are welcome to join the TA-Team and meet informally to discuss challenges and share experiences with other TAs. In general the TA-Team meets every two weeks. The TA-Team also has their own group email list (ta-team@physics.mcgill.ca), and if you are interested joining please contact the current TA officer.

Allocation and Contract

McGill Physics Graduate Students are entitled to a $4,300 teaching assistantship (TAship) every year they qualify within the priority pool (MSc students years 1-2, PhD students years 1-5). In order to apply for a TAship, you need to fill up the application form that is placed in your mailbox and give it back to the administration before the deadline (end of april for returning student, and in september for new students).

Students are assigned TAships and can request preferred courses, working typically 6 hours per week during the Fall and Winter semesters. TAship are quite various ranging from homework marker, exam marker, lab instructor (with marking), tutoring, etc…

TAs are paid for a total of 90 hours per semester, at a rate of $26.51 (fall 2013). All teacher assistant are members of the union AGSEM, therefore, all TAs must fill up the union form at the beginning of each semester in order to get the instalment of their TA pay. The form is placed by the administration in your mailbox at the beginning of each semester.

Finally, the TA workload forms must be filled out every semester, to prevent students from being overworked by the course supervisors. It can be found here: www.mcgill.ca/files/hr/TA_workload_all_0608.pdf