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Graduate Teaching assistants 2020-2021

What does the role of graduate teaching assistant involve?

Graduate Teaching assistants (GTAs) support student learning. This involves explaining concepts, marking work and helping with a wide range of teaching activities.

GTAs do an important job, and we expect them to take it seriously. Working as a GTA provides valuable experience, by developing teaching, team-working and organisational skills.

An overview of the kind of duties GTAs may carry out are provided in the Faculty job description.

Eligibility and requirements

  • GTAs must be legally eligible for paid employment in the UK.
  • All categories of students are eligible to be GTAs but note:
    • The depth of subject knowledge required to teach students studying an HE degree means that in most cases GTAs will be required to hold a masters degree and be studying a postgraduate research qualification, e.g. a PhD.
    • Due to the symbiotic benefit of studying and teaching in the same field the appointment of students of Computer Science will be favoured over students studying other disciplines.
    • In the event of failure to fill a GTA post from within Computer Science a GTA from another school may be appointed.

Payment and hours of work (2020/21 hourly rates)

TAs are paid for their work at an hourly rate according to their experience.

Experience Incremental point Hourly rate
1st year Point 1 £15.12
2nd year Point 2 £15.57
3rd year Point 3 £16.03
4th year Point 4 £16.51
5th year Point 5 £17.00
6th year Point 6 £17.51
  • GTAs receive a contract of employment from HR and are paid for the hours worked at the end of each month. If you have any questions about your contract please contact HR.
  • Some PhD students may be required to undertake a number of (paid) hours teaching as part of their funding agreement. Your offer letter will say whether this applies to you. If it does, please fill in the application form, and make sure you are available for work during the teaching periods.
  • It is essential that all GTAs complete an Hours Worked sheet, which should be sent by email to the relevant Course Unit Leader requesting approval. This form should contain all the hours which are worked on GTA duties. Please copy COMP-TA-ADMIN on all such emails and the course unit leaders will approve to us by email. The deadline to submit Hours Worked forms is the 5th of each month. If you miss this deadline then the hours will be paid the following month.
  • Many GTAs undertake work only during timetabled hours. Duties may also include activities, such as marking, outside of timetabled hours. GTAs will be paid at the hourly rate for such duties.
  • You must attend all teaching sessions that are assigned to you. If you cannot attend for a good reason, please try to make alternative arrangements as soon as possible (see 'Missing a class').

Training and lab preparation

All GTAs must complete the Faculty TA training course as soon as possible, and no later than the end of their first year of teaching. Payment for attending this course can not be claimed.

The Faculty also runs 5 courses as part of GTA training, 4 are delivered face-to-face and 1 is online, further details can be found here:

  • FSE GTA Learning Outcomes and Lesson Plans (compulsory)
  • FSE GTA Roles and Expectations (compulsory)
  • FSE GTA Marking and Feedback (role dependent)
  • FSE GTA Teaching Skills (compulsory)
  • GTA E Learning & Blackboard ON-LINE (role dependent)

  • The face-to-face workshops have online work. They must complete all 5 successfully in order to be eligible for the GTA Certificate of Completion which they can use in their application to LEAP for an Associate Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy.

    GTAs are there to help students, so it is important that they are able to explain the subject matter, and fully understand the teaching materials. Make sure you fill in the application form accurately, and are up to date on the skills and technologies used in the lab.

    GTAs are expected to be in labs and available to work promptly from the moment the lab begins. To ensure that they are present from the beginning GTAs are advised to arrive five minutes in advance of the lab.

    The lab supervisor is expected to provide TAs with teaching materials in good time to prepare for labs and discuss any problems.

    TAs are expected to prepare for labs in their own time (i.e. without payment) by reading the lab material and ensuring they meet the skills requirement to support the course unit.

    Lab supervisors are expected to explain what is required of their TAs and provide opportunity to discuss the work. It is recommended this is achieved by holding group meetings for which TAs are paid (up to the budget of 2 hours per TA per course unit). If this method of preparation is unsuitable for a particular unit course the course leader is at liberty to spend the equivalent budget in an alternative mode of preparation.

    If you are not clear about what you are expected to do, let the lab supervisor know as soon as possible - it is vital that you have a good understanding of the teaching materials, so you can support the students and mark accurately. It is also a good idea to speak to GTAs who have worked on the course unit before, and may be able to offer you advice based on 'hands-on' experience.

    Missing a class

    In the event that you are unable to attend a class you must try to arrange for a suitably qualified colleague to undertake your teaching on an exchange or swap basis, subject to obtaining approval of the lab supervisor.

    If you cannot arrange to swap your duties with another GTA, or you are unable to attend due to unforeseen circumstances, contact COMP-TA-ADMIN explaining which lab you cannot attend.

    Attendance of GTAs is monitored and you will need to be able to explain any unauthorised absence to the lab supervisor.

    Dealing with problems

    If you encounter any problems when you are teaching, or you are unhappy with any aspect of the working environment, speak to the lab supervisor in the first instance. If it is not possible to reach a resolution, or you have any general concerns, contact Gareth Henshall, the TA champion.

    Be aware that the University Dignity at Work Policy covers TAs

    Please see the TA wiki for further information about administrative issues and frequently asked questions.