Information for

The Instructional Apprentice (IA) and Teaching Assistant (TA) assignment process starts when an online TA Preference Form is posted each term. All grad students eligible for a TA should fill in the form to specify their experience, background and task preference. Then IAs and TAs are assigned according the information collected, except those who are requested for a specific course by the course instructor.

The process is different for new grad students. For their first term they will not be required to fill in the TA Preference Form but be directly assigned a TA for a first or second year ISG-supported course so that they receive proper training with ISG.

IA vs. TA

IAs' duties include some of the following: marking assignments/coordinating TAs for marking, creating marking schemes and/or solution sets, holding office hours, monitoring newsgroup/Piazza, proctoring/marking exams, assisting in labs, and leading tutorials.  TAs' responsibilities are basically marking assignments and marking and proctoring exams.

If you want beneficial experiences in any of the following areas, you should try to obtain an IA position by giving high rankings to your preferred IA duties (see above paragraph) in the TA Preference Form.

  • Teaching experience
  • Insight into course delivery
  • Input into course content
  • Opportunity for growth as an instructor
  • Plan to be a professor/faculty

FAQ about IA

Why would I choose to work as an IA instead of as a TA?

Skills developed by working as an IA may include skills in instruction, communication, and organization, to name a few. These are transferable to future employment in a way that marking is not.

If you are interested in teaching in the future, whether upon graduation or as a sessional instructor during your studies, the experience provided by an IA will give you a more accurate and broad view of the skills needed than those used by a TA. As you will work closely with one or more instructors, there is an opportunity to observe different teaching styles. Your experience will give you valuable feedback on whether or not you enjoy this line of work, and will also give us a good way to assess your suitability to work as a sessional instructor in the future.

What are the challenges of working as an IA?

An IA is often given more responsibility than TAs are, and as a consequence plays a more central role in a course. Depending on the specific IA job, it might not be appropriate for you to leave town on workdays during the term. Typically you should be available from the start of term (preferably a few days earlier) through to the completion of the marking and recording of the final exam. You will need to demonstrate organization, punctuality, dependability, and good time management skills in order to meet deadlines and adhere to schedules. Some positions require double TAs, or two people who can work closely together.

May I hold an IA position in addition to a regular TA position?

Students that are eligible for a double-unit might be assigned to do a double IA unit, a double TA or a TA and an IA, depending on what the course needs.

Can I hold an IA even if I have used up all my TA eligibility?

First priority will be given to students who still have eligibility. Based on your previous experience and the current need for IAs, you might be assigned to an IA position if you are beyond your funding. This occurrence is extremely rare.

How do I apply?

Complete the TA Preference form in full and give high rankings to your preferred IA duties. Be sure to highlight your previous teaching experience. IAs will be selected according your ranking and the skills and experiences you specified in the TA Preference form.

Notification of the offering of an IA job will be made at the same time as TA jobs are announced.

Whom should I ask if I have questions?

Please contact Paula Roser, Graduate Office, DC 2599A, Ext. 36902.