Teaching assistants training and development

Program Overview | Training and Development | Roles/Responsibilities

All Statistics and Actuarial Science (SAS) graduate students are required to complete Teaching Assistant (TA) training to receive TA units, and to complete their Graduate Skills Milestones. This training includes completing the Centre for Teaching Excellence's (CTE) asynchronous LEARN module, CTE1210: Preparing to TA at Waterloo, the in-person SAS Level 1 Workshop, and the in-person SAS Level 2 Workshop. These in-person workshops are offered at the beginning of the Fall term and must be completed within the first month of the term.

Students who want to receive further TA training and/or are interested in teaching are strongly encouraged to take part in the department’s Foundations for University Teaching in Statistics and Actuarial Science training program and to explore our Pathways to teaching.

Foundations Certificate

SAS graduate students who complete the Foundations for University Teaching in Statistics and Actuarial Science training program outlined below will receive a CTE-supported certificate. You will also receive a letter of experience from the SAS department outlining your full program involvement, including details of your practicums.

The program will take several terms to complete and each level will involve completing a number of requirements, which we refer to as Essentials. The Essentials for each Level will include at least one CTE workshop and one SAS component. Levels 3 and 4 involve practicums, which are evaluated by our team. For these levels, you must complete the CTE workshops prior to starting your SAS practicums.  

The progam’s levels must be completed in order, however you do not need to complete all Essentials for a given level within one term. For example, you can complete the CTE workshop requirements for Essentials 3 (i.e., CTE1106 and CTE1111) in one term and then partake in the practicum in the following term.





Recommended Workshops

  1. Fundamentals:

Proctoring and quality marking

~4 hours


  • CTE1210: Preparing to TA at Waterloo
  • SAS Level 1 Workshop
  1. Interactions:

Office hours, forums, and emails

~2 hours


  • SAS Level 2 Workshop
  • CTE1203: Building Rapport with Students
  1. Facilitation:

Tutorials, effective feedback and reviewing of material

~5 hours

Every Term

  • CTE1106: Giving and Receiving Feedback
  • CTE1111: Teaching STEM Tutorials
  • SAS Practicum
  • CTE1234: Teaching with Confidence
  • CTE1226: Classroom Delivery Skills
  1. Creation:

Assessment and material creation

~9 hours

Every Term (starting Winter 2024)

  • CTE1202: Effective Lesson Plans
  • SAS Practicum
  • CTE1260: Interactive Lectures
  • CTE1190: Effective Question Strategies

SAS Practicums:

To complete Levels 3 and 4, SAS practicums are a requirement of the corresponding Essentials. This practicum will take place within a course where you are a TA. At least one of the following practicum options listed below must be completed. For Essentials 3, the practicum will be observed by the TA program team and will include a reflection meeting after the observations. For Essentials 4, the practicum option will be chosen in collaboration with the instructor. This practicum will require multiple steps including brainstorming, draft creations, instructor review and a post-practicum reflection.

Level 3 Practicum: Facilitation

Level 4 Practicum: Creation

  • Create and deliver material for an in-class lecture,
  • Create and facilitate a tutorial with the topic set by the instructor,
  • Create at least three questions for an upcoming assessment (e.g., quiz, test, midterm), or
  • Create and facilitate a review session with at least three questions/solutions.

Pathways (including teaching)

Novice: Enter as Master's/PhD student

Level 1: Completed Essentials 1

Level 2: Completed Essentials 2

Level 3: Completed Essentials 3 *Now eligible for Head TA position

Level 4: Completed Essentials 4

  • Receive Foundations for University Teaching in Statistics and Actuarial Science certificate
  • Eligible to apply to teach a SAS course
  • Eligible to apply to be a TA Coordinator for the TA program

Expert: Completion of CTE's Fundamentals of University Teaching Program, and/or Completion of CTE's Certificate in University Teaching, and/or MATH 900: Math Teaching Techniques

By receiving the Foundations of University Teaching in Statistics and Actuarial Science certificate, a SAS graduate student will have also completed all the required CTE workshops and, depending on the practicums completed in Essentials 3 and 4, up to 2 of the 3 microteaching requirements for CTE’s Fundamentals of University Teaching certificate program . Graduate students interested in further in-depth training and development of their teaching skills are encouraged to complete the CTE’s Certificate in University Teaching or MATH 900: University Mathematics Teaching Techniques.

Pathway to Teaching:

PhDs interested in teaching can get the opportunity to teach a course during their time as a SAS graduate student. The following steps provide an pathway to teach a course.

  1. Enter as a PhD student.
  2. Plan possible terms for teaching with your supervisor. Please note that PhD students generally teach after their thesis proposal, but this is dependent on completion of the following steps and recommendations by your supervisor.
  3. Complete the Foundations for University Teaching in Statistics and Actuarial Science training program or MATH 900. One of these must be completed to be able to teach a course.
  4. Respond to the Teaching Opportunities email from the SAS Associate Chair – Undergraduate Studies.

Contact the TA program members if you are interested in teaching a specific course for the possibility of including opportunities to focus your training in that area.

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