Roles and Expectations

Duties that may be assigned to you by your supervising faculty member include leading tutorials or discussion groups, teaching labs, invigilating examinations, and marking assignments and exams, to name a few.

The following resources may provide useful information for you in your new role.

(a)     The Centre for Teaching and Academic Growth (TAG) has many useful resources for both new and experienced teachers.  Their guidebook, “An Instructional Resource Guide for Teaching Assistants”, can be downloaded from

(b)     The checklist (A Conversation with Your Course Supervisor) found on page 2 of the TAG guidebook is included on the following page of this TA Orientation handbook.  TAG also offers workshops for graduate students and teaching assistants – check out their website to see current offerings.

(c)     The Faculty of Graduate Studies provides information on employing graduate students. The Graduate Studies website has information on the policies and procedures for student service appointments (including Teaching Assistantships) and for the employment of international students at

The following is an excerpt from “An Instructional Resource Guide for Teaching Assistants”:

The TA and the University

As a representative of the University, you are expected to maintain the standards of the University. This includes following all guidelines and rules established by the University. If you disagree with the policies of the University or the course supervisor you assist, you should discuss this privately with the supervisor and/or your TA Union representative, rather than doing so in front of students or refusing to follow the University guidelines.

The TA and the Department

TAs work as members of a department and of a faculty at UBC. They are obliged to follow the policies and the regulations within the department, and meet its standards and expectations. Make sure you are aware of, and understand, these departmental requirements.

The TA and the Supervisor

Generally, you will be working under the direction of a course instructor in your department who will determine the content and methods used for your teaching assignments: make sure you understand the faculty member’s expectations. When you accept your teaching assignment, you share responsibility for this class.

The TA and the Students

Although you are hired by the University, you are ultimately responsible to the students.  You must do your best for them. You must be fair and honest and do nothing to exploit your position of power over the students. All students must be treated with equal respect. Private bias and disparaging remarks should never be tolerated.