It’s common knowledge around campus that graduate students live among us. They’re working toward degrees just like the rest of us, though their classes tend to be a bit more rigorous.
However, they aren’t just students; most of the time, they also have jobs on campus.
Jordan Olson is a 27-year-old graduate student working on her master’s degree in English literature and works for the NDSU English department as a teaching assistant.
Olson’s responsibilities include planning for, teaching and grading two English 120 courses.
“I teach every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 1-2 p.m. and 2-3 p.m. and I have office hours on Monday and Wednesday from 3-4 p.m. Outside of school I normally spend about 10-14 hours per week grading, reading over student assignments and/or planning for future classes,” Olson said.
This is all while taking three graduate courses and one undergraduate course.
Of course, being a TA isn’t all work — there are definite perks.
“I really enjoy teaching,” Olson said. “It is a great experience being able to interact with students and adapt to new situations in the classroom. Every semester is different so it is always a really fun challenge learning how students react to different assignments and interact with me and other classmates.”
Then again, it isn’t all kittens and rainbows, either.
“Definitely the grading is the worst part. It is fun to read all of my students work, however, grading 40-plus papers can be very time consuming,” Olson commented. Balancing coursework, research, teaching and grading requires a few organizational skills. I hear you get those in grad school.
Balancing coursework, research, teaching and grading requires a few organizational skills. I hear you get those in grad school.
However, the coworkers are a nice bonus too.
“They are a great bunch of caring and intelligent individuals,” Olsen said. “I have met some great friends in my program and being a newbie to North Dakota and NDSU, it was great having that immediate support system the English department offered.”
Olson said she would encourage others to work as TAs.
“Being a teaching assistant is a great way to get some teaching experience under your belt in a little more of a relaxed atmosphere,” Olsen said.
I must say, I have a new respect for grad students on campus after hearing about the different aspects of their lives they have to balance.