Orientation for New Graduate Teaching Assistants

Dr. Kathi Kern Keynotes the University-wide TA Orientation.

 

 

About

The Graduate School holds New TA Orientation activities before each fall and spring semester, and the applicable events are required for all new TAs at the university. These activities are required in addition to any orientations or events held by individual colleges or departments. 

New TA Orientation activities include the following:

  • New International TA Orientation: In-person sessions and online modules required for all TAs who are new to teaching in higher education in the United States 
  • University-wide New TA Orientation: Asynchronous online modules required for all new teaching assistants at the university, regardless of prior teaching experience 
  • Microteaching: Two half-day in-person sessions, BOTH of which are required for all new teaching assistants at the university 
  • Language Screening: Required for all new TAs whose primary language is not English

The purpose of these orientation activities is to provide an introduction to, and basic preparation for, teaching at the University of Kentucky. The events introduce a number of important support offices and resources that TAs can turn to for assistance throughout their tenure as a TA. Additionally, the events provide an opportunity for them to meet other TAs, learn effective teaching practices, and deliver a mini lesson through synchronous microteaching sessions. 

 

Attendance Policy

Graduate School tuition funding is contingent upon your completion of all required TA Orientation events within the first semester of your teaching assistantship. Should you not complete all of the requirements by the end of your second semester, you may not continue as a TA. 

Attendance is taken separately for each orientation event and for each individual day of Microteaching. Therefore, if you cannot attend any required orientation event for any reason before your first semester as a teaching assistant, you MUST attend that event prior to your second semester as a teaching assistant, and you should plan accordingly. In other words, if you intend to travel or live elsewhere during the summer or winter break, you should plan to arrive back on campus prior to the orientation events.

 

Modalities

The New TA Orientation activities are delivered in some or all of the following modalities: 

  • Asynchronous Online Modules: these modules consist of written materials and pre-recorded videos that can be completed, at your convenience, any time before the published deadline via Canvas, the university’s online learning management system. 
  • Synchronous Online Sessions: these sessions are live events, held at specified times (Eastern US time zone), and usually broadcast over Zoom, the university’s video conferencing platform
  • In-Person Sessions: these sessions are held live and in person at the specified times (Eastern US time zone) and in the specified locations on The University of Kentucky’s campus. You must physically attend these sessions. 
  • Hybrid Sessions or Events: these sessions or events will be delivered through a mix of two or more of the above modalities. 

 

Upcoming Events

 

Spring 2021 University-wide TA Orientation Events 

  • New International TA Orientation (hybrid): required for all TAs who are new to teaching in higher education in the United States 
    • Asynchronous online modules available on Canvas (housed within the University-wide TA Orientation course) beginning Monday, January 3rd. 
    • In-person sessions TBD  
  • University-wide TA Orientation (asynchronous online): required for all new TAs at the university regardless of prior teaching experience 
    • Asynchronous online modules available on Canvas beginning Monday, January 3rd. 
  • Microteaching (in-person): required for all new TAs at the university regardless of prior teaching experience 
    • In-person components in Whitehall Classroom Building. Registrants will be notified via email of their specific classroom the day before the event. (You must attend BOTH in-person sessions.) More information about Microteaching can be found here. 
      • Wednesday, January 5, 2022, from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. 
      • Thursday, January 6, 2022, from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. 
  • TA Language Screenings (synchronous online): required for all TAs whose primary language is not English 
    • TBD 
    • NOTE: The Graduate School will arrange screening times with the department and notify the TA prior to the screening date. The language screenings last a half-hour, and the appointment will be set with the TA’s department, so we ask TAs to clear their schedule for the entire day until we notify them of their specific appointment time. Details about the Language Screenings can be found at this link. 

Registration

We ask that departments register their new TAs for our orientation events. TAs should NOT register themselves. If you are a new incoming TA and your department has not yet registered you for our orientation events, please contact your Director of Graduate Studies or department administrator. 

Registration can be completed by clicking the link below and filling out the required form. The following information is required to register a student for our orientation events: 

  • TA’s full name 
  • Student ID number and LinkBlue ID 
  • International status 
  • Primary language 

Please obtain this information prior to beginning the registration. 

Registration is currently: CLOSED

Notification will be sent to DGS and DGS Staff when registration opens for Spring 2022.

 

FAQ

Click on a question below to see the answer.

Please do not contact The Graduate School with questions about orientation events until you have thoroughly reviewed this entire page, as well as the Frequently Asked Questions below.

 

I’m a new incoming TA but I haven’t received an email from The Graduate School about these events. Can I register myself?

Registration should only be completed by the TA’s hiring department. Please contact your Director of Graduate Studies or department administrator to ask about your registration. If your department has already registered you, first check your junk or spam folder to make sure you haven’t missed an email from us. If you still don’t have an email, reach out to Chad Gilpin to verify that your email address was entered correctly.

 

I received an email about a different orientation held by my department. Can I just attend that one instead?

The Graduate School’s TA Orientation events are mandatory and required in addition to any college or departmental orientations that you may also have to attend. You must attend our orientation events, no matter what other orientations you may have to participate in.

 

My department has an event on the same day as one of the TA Orientation events. The departmental event is more important, right?

The Graduate School’s TA Orientation events should take precedent over any other conflicting events. The Graduate School attempts to coordinate with all departments on campus to avoid any overlapping events, but conflicts sometimes occur. If your department is holding an event that conflicts with a TA Orientation event, please notify your Director of Graduate Studies or department administrator of the conflict and tell them that you are required to attend the TA Orientation event. If they have any questions, direct them to contact Chad Gilpin.

 

I’m busy on the orientation dates. Is it a big deal if I skip?

The orientation events applicable to you are mandatory and required by The Graduate School. You can read our attendance policy above. These events will be most beneficial if you attend prior to your first semester as a TA, but if you absolutely cannot attend any or all events, you are required to make up the missed events before the next semester in which you will be a TA. If you fail to do so, your Graduate School funding will be in jeopardy.

 

I can only make it to one day of Microteaching. Is that a problem?

Attendance is required at BOTH days of our Microteaching component. The first day prepares you to present a mini lesson, which you will deliver on the second day. If you attend the first day and not the second, you will miss the presentation of your lesson and will have to make up BOTH days of Microteaching before the next semester in which you will be a TA. If you attend the second day and not the first, you will not be permitted to participate, even if you have prepared a lesson, and you will have to make up BOTH days of Microteaching before the next semester in which you will be a TA.

 

I taught in primary education for several years, and I was a primary instructor at my previous institution. Shouldn’t I be exempt from Microteaching?

You are not exempt from Microteaching. This is a requirement of all new TAs at the university. We have no way of knowing the preparation for teaching that you received at your prior institution, and we need to ensure that each TA has received a basic level of preparation before they enter the classroom. Since you are experienced, this process should be easy and fun, and you can use your experience to help other new TAs who may not have as much experience as you.

 

What do I need to do to prepare for Microteaching?

You do not need to prepare anything for the first day of Microteaching. An experienced teaching assistant at the university will walk you through the process and requirements, and then you will be dismissed to prepare a mini lesson for the following day. If you would like to learn more about the Microteaching process, click here.

 

Where should I park? Does The Graduate School offer a parking pass for the orientation events? Can they validate parking, or will they reimburse me if I get a ticket?

The Graduate School does not offer any sort of parking pass or validation, and we will not reimburse you for any tickets you receive for parking illegally while attending our events. Parking on campus is often difficult, so visit Transportation Services to prepare accordingly, and plan to arrive early on event dates.

 

Will I have access to Wi-Fi on campus?

Wi-Fi is available throughout campus, but you must onboard your devices to access it. Some devices experience issues initially accessing the Wi-Fi, so plan on attending campus before the orientation event dates to onboard your devices. Visit Information Technology Services’ Wi-Fi Help page for information on accessing the campus Wi-Fi, and contact them for assistance if you have issues.

 

What is Canvas, and why can’t I access it?

Canvas is The University of Kentucky’s Learning Management System. Click here and scroll down to the “Resources” section for online tutorials and video guides on using Canvas.

Enrolled students are automatically added to Canvas by the university. If you are an admitted student who has not yet enrolled for classes, you will not yet have a Canvas account and you will not be able to access the orientation course on Canvas. If possible, try to register for classes. Some departments register their students during their departmental orientations, which often occur after The Graduate School’s TA Orientation. If that is the case with your department, reach out to the ITS Customer Service Help Desk to see if they can add you to Canvas.

Some international students may have holds on their accounts which prevent them from enrolling in classes as well as being added to Canvas. If this is the case for you, please contact the International Center for information on how to get the holds removed and make every effort to do so prior to our orientation events.

 

I’ve attended the TA Orientation events before. Do I have to attend again?

You are only required to attend the TA Orientation events once during your time at the university. You may have completed a different orientation that you are confusing with our TA Orientation events, or you may have missed one or more orientation events that caused you to be re-registered. Sometimes departments register students without knowing that the student completed our TA Orientation events with a different department in the past. If you are certain that you have completed all applicable TA Orientation events, reach out to Chad Gilpin to confirm that he has record of your prior completion.

 

My department registered me for a Language Screening, but I don’t think I need one. Can I be exempt?

Language Screenings are required of all new TAs whose primary language is not English. Please understand that we differentiate between a TA’s primary or first language and the official or national language of that TA’s home country. If you were registered for a Language Screening and your primary language is English, please contact your department administrator and alert them of the oversight. Otherwise, please plan on participating in a Language Screening.

 

How long do the Language Screenings take, and what should I expect during the screening?

Please do not contact The Graduate School to ask questions about the Language Screening process until you have thoroughly read through our dedicated Language Screening webpage here, as well as the FAQ page here. If possible, attend the International TA Orientation, which includes a session preparing you for what to expect in the Language Screening process. If you have completed each of these steps and your question still has not been answered, please contact Angela Garner.

 

What happens if I fail the Language Screening? Will I lose my assistantship?

Please review the scoring system and approval categories, as well as the corresponding teaching roles associated with those approval categories, on our Language Screening webpage.

 

If you have any further questions that have not been answered on this page or pages linked from this page, please contact Chad Gilpin.