Teaching Assistantships

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Duties

Teaching Assistants' principal service to the University is to teach, under the supervision of a faculty member, one elementary language class of about 24 students, meeting five hours each week. Teaching Assistants are given instruction at the beginning of the year and other advice and assistance as needed. Supervisors and Teaching Assistants meet periodically for discussion of relevant problems. Teaching Assistants' duties, including class preparation, correction of papers and quizzes, office hours, and meetings, amount to an average of twenty hours each week, to a maximum of 220 hours per quarter.

Eligibility

Eligibility for appointment is dependent on admission to the Graduate School and acceptability to the department as a teacher of Spanish.

Training

All newly appointed Teaching Assistants attend a ten-day training program that prepares them for their teaching assignments. New and returning appointees must be present for the required planning and training period, and will be notified in writing of the date when that training begins (usually about September 16). Training will include lectures by the faculty, filmed and live demonstrations of college language courses, practice readings, and the preparation of teaching and testing materials. Additionally, international students are required to attend the International Teaching Assistant (ITA) program which covers cross-cultural communication, teaching strategies, and second language practice.

Pedagogy Coursework

All teaching assistants are required to register in SPAN 510 (5 credits) in autumn quarter of the first year of their appointment.

Application

Admission to the Graduate School is a necessary condition for every appointment to a Teaching Assistantship. This matter should be attended to with care and dispatch, since the University places limits on enrollment. The Graduate School informs applicants directly of admission decisions. International students should submit their Application for Admission to the Graduate School at their earliest opportunity, preferably by November 1 of the year prior to desired admission.

English Language Proficiency

Applicants who are not native speakers of English must take the TOEFL, IELTS, MLT, or PTE and meet at least the UW Graduate School’s minimum score to be considered for admission or for a Teaching Assistantship. Most applicants will take the TOEFLiBT. If you are considering applying, please register for the test right away. Complete testing score requirements for teaching assistant appointments can be found on the Graduate School International Applicant FAQ page and Memo 15 of the Graduate School Memoranda.

Satifactory Progress and Renewal

If sufficient funds are available, and subject to certain conditions (the most important of which are maintaining satisfactory progress toward a degree and demonstrating competence as classroom teachers), Teaching Assistants holding regular appointments will be reappointed annually for the full term of their eligibility (six quarters for M.A. students, 12 quarters for PhD students). In order to qualify for reappointment as a Teaching Assistant in the Department of Spanish & Portuguese Studies students must at a minimum:

  1. Be planning on continued enrollment at the University and have the department’s permission to continue when such permission is required.
  2. Have completed 10 credits per quarter of course-work applicable to their degree programs.
  3. Maintain a cumulative grade-point average of 3.6.
  4. Be completing examinations according to the department’s schedule of satisfactory progress: in the fifth quarter of study for the MA exam, in the seventh quarter after completion of the credits for the MA for the Ph.D. exams. Summer quarters are not included in this count.
  5. Have demonstrated satisfactory teaching ability and willingness to take all required steps to improve performance. The teaching of all teaching assistants is evaluated for this purpose by the Language Program Director.

Under special circumstances the department may make exceptions to these policies at the recommendation of the Graduate Program Coordinator, the Chair, or the Language Program Director.

The Department reserves the right to assign 20% of its available teaching assistantships slots to students entering the program for the first time. In the event that positions are not available for all qualified continuing students in mid-February, the continuing students will be ranked. Those for whom a position is not available will be placed on the alternate list and ranked together with the new students applying for support in January.  For summer quarter classes, this same ranking will be used to determine class assignments.