You are here

TA Information


Teaching Assistants need to:

  • Know what instructors require in classes and grading sessions
  • Be available during the scheduled Quiz times, Lab Times, training's/meetings, and occasionally lecture times.
  • Know the academic material,
  • Be willing and able to communicate with the students
  • Conduct safe and effective lab and quiz sections and grade student results.

TA Assignments

Before classes begin, graduate student appointees are assigned to the various TA positions required that quarter. TAs will have the option of giving course preferences and submitting their schedule to the scheduler (preferences are not guaranteed).  These assignments will be emailed to the TAs, and posted on the Time schedule page. TAs should arrive at a laboratory session before the scheduled hours to make sure all reagents and equipment necessary for the days experiment are in the lab and to examine safety equipment. Master keys to student desk padlocks and the lab doors are obtained from Bagley 271. Under no circumstances should the master key be loaned to students.

Equipment and Materials Commonly Used by TAs

Item Room Contact
Lab supplies for undergraduate instructors 271 BAG 206-543-1607
Textbooks, solution manuals, study guides 303 BAG 206-543-4658
Chemical Unknowns 104 CHB 206-685-0524
Supplies for Chemistry organic labs 104 CHB 206-685-0524

General Responsibilities

TA ATTENDANCE: TAs are required to be present for their assignment for the entire quarter. This may include TA meetings, quiz sections, laboratory meetings, grading sessions, and proctoring sessions. If the TA has an emergency that prevents attendance for any part of the assignment, the TA must notify the instructor of the course, the Director for Undergraduate Services, and find a suitable replacement.

TA EVALUATIONS: Each quarter, graduate students serving as teaching assistants must be evaluated. Results of the evaluation are provided to the student and the Chair of the department. It is expected that most of the class will participate, so thoughtful planning of the evaluation is expected.

TA PREPARATION: TAs teaching in general and organic sequences for the first time are expected to audit the lectures if possible.

PROCTORING EXAMINATIONS: Proctoring duty will be assigned by the instructor. Inappropriate student behavior should be brought to the attention of the instructor immediately.

REGULATIONS: All University and Departmental Safety regulations must be followed. TAs are expected to inform students and enforce all regulations and advise instructors of any problems.

GRADING: Depending on the particular TA assignment given to you, you may be called upon to grade examinations, quizzes, reports, and/or laboratory books. TAs are provided with a Grading Key prepared by the instructor. Grading is to be done under the supervision of the course instructor. It is critically important to keep accurate, up to date records of grading results and to carefully handle and store examination papers. All records should be stored and handled confidentially.

Evidence of cheating on examination papers or in laboratory books must be brought to the attention of the course instructor immediately.

TA MEETINGS: The course instructor will hold weekly TA meetings to outline the material for upcoming quiz sections. It is vital that TAs attend these. Please check your mailbox and e-mail daily for meeting notices. If you are unable to attend a meeting or meet with your class, notify the course instructor as soon as possible. TAs may NOT substitute for one another without prior approval of the instructor. It is the TA's responsibility to find an appropriate substitute.

LABORATORY SESSIONS: Teaching Assistants are required to attend a weekly lab training session (for the weeks lab is scheduled). TAs must thoroughly familiarize themselves with (1) the safety rules and procedures of the department and (2) the potential hazards associated with laboratory work, and (3) the particular safety matters pertaining to that course. The instructor decides what class material is passed on to the students.

You must wear safety goggles, a lab coat, and appropriate clothing in the laboratory and insist that your students do the same.

INJURIES: All TAs are required to maintain CPR/First Aid which is provided by the department.  Treat minor injuries per first aid training; a first aid kit is provided in lab and in the undergraduate stockroom. For MAJOR INJURIES: There are several main things to remember:

  • During Lab hours, there are staff members to assist you.
  • NEVER leave the injured party unattended — Begin first aid immediately. Call or send someone to Room 271 (206-543-1607) or the Main Office (109) for help.
    • If you believe the affected party has an injury beyond the scope of first aid, use the phone to call 911.
  • Never leave your class unattended. Call the undergraduate stockroom, BAG 271, (they can send a staff member to you).  If the injury is minor, a student may accompany the injured party to the BAG 271. 
  • Always use a wired phone when calling 911 and if you call 911, send a student to BAG 271 to inform them of the situation.  A staff member can then meet first responders and lead them to the location of the injury. 

An Accident/Incident Report must be filled out for any accident/incident.

TEMPORARY STORAGE: Student's personal belongings are to be placed:

  • In the hall lockers.
  • In the cupboards provided.

Items are NOT to be left in the laboratory. Lockers are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Students use their own lock. Contents are removed at the end of each quarter. 

CLEANLINESS AND SECURITY: If you TA a lab you are responsible for the condition of the laboratory. TAs are encouraged to promote and train students on maintaining a clean labspace. Do not leave the lab until all the students in your section have left. Get a key from the stockroom (BAG 271) and lock all laboratories promptly at the end of the laboratory period.

Each section is responsible for disposal of chemical wastes in the laboratory. Since waste disposal is part of any chemical laboratory, your students should be taught proper disposal techniques. The following guidelines will take care of most disposal problems.

  • All undergraduate waste will have specific waste streams.  Lab technicians can assist in locating these.
  • If you have a special disposal problem, please consult with staff personnel in Bagley 271.
  • All waste must be disposed of through Environmental Health & Safety. Consult the Chemical Waste Management Guide in the UW Laboratory Safety manual.

Check in and Check out Procedures

Under NO circumstances should a TA assign a laboratory desk to a student. Students are pre-assigned to desks by stockroom personnel. Copies of the assignments are given to the laboratory instructors prior to the first day of lab. Desk master keys are also located in Bagley 271.

Students should not be allowed to check into a lab section if their names and desk numbers do not appear on your temporary class list, unless he/she has a desk card indicating your section and a desk assignment. Send all students that are not on  your class list to BAG 271 for review.

Check in Materials

Pick up check in materials in the stockroom (Bagley 271) before going into the laboratory.

Check in Procedures for 100-Level Courses

Students are assigned charge numbers, which correspond to stations in the laboratory. Each station has drawers that correspond to individual experiments for the laboratory class.

  • Unlock the appropriate drawer for the experiment of the day.
  • Advise students to check the drawer items against the equipment list in the lab manual.
  • If any items are missing or broken the student must complete a pink slip listing the items.
  • You must verify missing items and sign the pink slip.
  • Send the student to 271.

The student is responsible for any checked out item. If the item is broken or lost the student must purchase a replacement.

During the first twenty minutes of the section, the items will be replaced at no charge to the student. Occasionally some experiments will require materials that must be checked out from the stockroom.

At the end of the lab period, check to make sure the drawer is complete and lock the drawer.

Check in Instructions for Undergraduate Labs 200 Level & Above

During the first lab session, unlock desks for students as they arrive in the laboratory. Pass out desk cards and assist students in identifying apparatus.

  • If desk items are missing or broken, fill out a Desk Apparatus Accounting Card (pink slip) for the student to exchange in 271. Excess equipment should be taken to 271.
  • Tell the students to carefully examine each item for cracks and damages. They will be responsible for all items in the drawer, even those they did not use. Do not approve a desk with deficient items. Students will be responsible for missing or broken items when they check out.
  • The desk card must be filled out completely, including phone number, on the stub end. Caution students to carefully read the contract before signing.
  • After the cards have been filled out and signed, students can take the card to 271. Be sure to warn students that check in is not complete until the desk card has been turned in to 271.