Squirreling Away The Best Teacher’s Assistants

| Newark, NJ, USA | Learning | February 13, 2014

(I’m a TA. I’m helping a student who recently failed a science exam.)

Me: “So, you left this entire section blank. Let’s work out what’s stopping you here. Do you know where to start?”

Student: “Yeah… I can do [first few steps] but then I’m stuck, and I know that’s not the answer.”

Me: “If you can do that much, you should put it down! [Professor] gives out partial credit all the time.”

Student: “Even for things like that?”

Me: “When I was in his class, I didn’t know an answer, so I just wrote ‘it probably involves the nucleus’ and I got half a point for it.”

(The student looks visibly startled. I didn’t think partial credit was such a surprise, until…)

Student: “YOU were [Professor]’s student?”

Me: *laughing* “Of course. That’s why I’m able to TA for him!”

Student: “Huh… I thought TAs just, like, showed up on campus. Like squirrels and cops.”

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