Duties of Graduate Students with Teaching
- All entering graduate
students are required
to attend a one-week teacher training program which begins the Monday
of the week before fall classes begin.
program is designed to prepare graduate students to lead calculus labs
to begin the training for teaching a laboratory calculus course. To see
a detailed schedule for the most
(or next) training week, please contact the Supervisor of First Year
- All first-year graduate
participate in a year-long teacher training program which is run by Emily Braley and Sarah
Schott of the Math Department. In this program, graduate students
will attend seminars, observe current graduate student teachers, as
well as practice
teaching, grading, and exam writing. In addition, graduate students
will receive guidance on how best to interact with undergraduates both
in the classroom and in office hours. Once a graduate
student begins teaching (typically in the second year), a faculty
member will visit the class and provide feedback to the new teacher.
- First-year graduate
students are typically assigned the job of leading or assisting with a
calculus lab. Each
meets once a week for 105 minutes (for Math 105L, 106L, 111L, and 112L)
or 75 minutes (for Math 122L). In these labs we
use a locally written lab manual and we ask students to use the TI-83
(for Math 105L, 106L, 111L, and 112L) or Maple (for Math 122L). Lab
assistants will attend weekly lab preparation meetings, grade lab
materials, staff the departmental help room for 2 hours each week,
and help with the grading of
the departmental final exams at the end of the semester.
- Once a graduate student
assigned to teach a class, then he or she will have the same duties
all teachers in our courses assume. In addition to the usual lesson
lecturing, and grading, these duties also entail participation (for 2
a week) in a Departmental help room. All teachers help to grade the
departmental exams at the end of the semester.
Training for Teaching Assistants at Duke
Learning to teach is essential in the education
mathematics graduate students and being a teaching assistant is a
critical part of
both their professional development and financial support. Mathematics
students typically begin their teaching responsibilities during their
first year of
graduate study when they serve as lab assistants and work in the help
Beginning in their second year, they teach their own calculus class, of
students, which meets 3 hours a week, with a weekly
supervised by two teaching assistants. The teacher training program for
students has been ongoing since fall, 1987. The program is currently
by Emily Braley
and Sarah Schott,
both of whom are assistant professors of the practice in the
mathematics department, in
consultation with the Director
Graduate Studies and the Supervisor of
During the week before classes begin in the fall, the
who will be serving as lab assistants participate in a week-long workshop
led by Clark Bray,
Supervisor of First-year Instruction. In this workshop the participants
introduced to Duke's laboratory calculus courses. This workshop is
designed to enable
graduate students to begin their work as lab assistants.
During their first year of graduate study, all graduate
participate in a weekly teaching seminar led by Emily Braley
and Sarah Schott.
There are two related purposes of the seminar: (1) to
prepare graduate students to teach introductory calculus courses
here at Duke
and (2) to introduce graduate students to educational
that they will need to be knowledgeable of if they are to become
college mathematics faculty. The activities of the seminar include:
- A discussion of what constitutes good teaching and
- Observations of lessons taught by current graduate
- Discussion of the above-mentioned observations.
- How to organize lessons: planning, time management,
- Overview of content of our Calculus courses with
emphasis on what
students find difficult.
- How to create in-class exams.
- Grading exams, and the importance of consistency.
- Current issues in undergraduate mathematics
- A panel of current graduate student teachers.
- A discussion of office hours, how to start the
semester, rules and
services available to freshmen.
- Presentation of a 15-minute practice lesson.
- Two lectures given to real calculus classes during
the spring semester of their first year of graduate school. These
observed by a member of the teaching faculty and/or the graduate
student's faculty mentor. Afterwards, the observer meets with the
graduate student to discuss what worked and what needs improvement.
Most of our graduate students begin teaching their own
class during the fall of their second year.
the semester that a graduate student begins teaching his or her own
they are observed twice by a faculty member. These observations are
followed up with a discussion. If
the quality of teaching is satisfactory, no more observations are made,
problems are perceived, another observation will be made to see if the
are being implemented. At the end of that first semester of teaching
the graduate student reads his or her Teacher-Course
the graduate student will write a self-evaluation describing his or her
perceived strengths and weaknesses and discussing ways to improve. The
Teacher-Course Evaluations and the self-evaluations serve as the basis
for a discussion
between the new teacher and the coordinator of teacher training. If
there are no
major problems, this point marks the end of his or her training. If
evident, a plan is designed to help that individual graduate student
or her teaching.