You see them near the front of the class, oftentimes overeager in the presence of the professor, with pin straight posture and a fresh notebook. These are teaching assistants. TAs are usually graduate students, but there are the occasional skater boy-gone-philosophical and girl-who-just-walked-out-of-Whole Foods thrown in there too. Being a teaching assistant is a good deal. A stipend for sitting in a lecture and grading quizzes and papers? Sure.
You will find all types of people at a campus the size of Colorado State, and that does not exclude TAs. Here are the five types of TAs you’ll find at CSU:
The non-existent one:
The non-existent TA shows up to class the first day, maybe even the second, but you haven’t seen them since. You may never see them in class, but you might stumble upon them at Silver Grill on a Saturday morning. No one really knows their motive, or their name, and they are definitely unreachable in your time of crisis. Out of sight, out of mind.
The helpful one:
The helpful TA is approachable and always obliging to help with any questions you have. It is possible they are just as scared of the professor as you are, but the helpful TA knows they are there to help facilitate student learning. Study sessions with them are actually beneficial and you leave feeling encouraged. The best thing about this TA? They respond to their emails before the exam happens.
The strict one:
The strict TA takes the professors stance on most things in the classroom. Grading styles between the two are very similar; your paper or exam will be assessed with an extremely critical eye. However, they are still there to help you succeed in the class, but do not expect to scrape by or be babied through material with this one.
The lazy one:
The lazy TA stumbles into class after it has begun and lacks the helpfulness that the helpful TA has that you need in order to pass the class. Study sessions with this one are worthless and leave you even more confused as you were when you went in. Often times the lazy TA wants to be approachable, but by doing so they lose the authoritative voice they are expected to have. They tend to avoid any conflict with students, which may lead to student irritation. Do not expect an email response from the lazy TA.
The hot one:
In addition to serving as a motivation for attending class, the hot TA proves to be a distraction. You may find yourself at their office hours when you’re bored during the day, and you definitely looked them up on Facebook; do not lie to yourself. You are thrilled when you turn in your homework to them, and that fleeting eye contact will reappear during your dreams. Are you too invested? Probably. A class that is normally mundane is suddenly brightened by the hot TA’s glorious presence.
Gifs courtesy of Giphy.
Collegian Reporter Zara DeGroot can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at @Zaradegroot.