Universities need to be transparent about how they allocate teaching hours

Oct 10, 2014 by

It’s well known that graduate teaching assistants (GTAs) get a raw deal: our pay compares miserably with other staff members, as is often pointed out. But it’s not just about money, the nature and quality of teaching opportunities are also a factor – and they’re not discussed often enough.

My PhD peers weigh success and our relative importance within the department by the number of teaching hours, and the breadth and variety of the courses on which they are invited to teach. At the Russell Group university where I study, the allocation of teaching remains a mystery. We aren’t told how or why teaching hours are assigned.

These simply drop like falling stars on the luckiest among us. No list of teaching opportunities is made available, and GTAs are often excluded from the discussion meetings that pair students with courses. There is no transparency in the process – you simply email a note of interest in teaching, and pray for favour.

For some, this means starring their CV by convening MA courses through the influence of their doctoral supervisor even before they have even submitted a PhD thesis. For others, even one hour teaching undergraduate students is mysteriously withheld.

I have been given one hour of teaching on one module during one semester of the entire three years I have been here. And during that time, the convenor never once spoke to me regarding teaching.

via Universities need to be transparent about how they allocate teaching hours | Higher Education Network | Guardian Professional.

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