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Whatever 🤷‍♀️ Your best and worst TA's in University

The Terminator

Cyburbian
Messages
1,643
Points
23
When I was in Uni, I had my share of Teaching Assistants. Some of them were great, some of them were awful. Here were my top and bottom 5 (all names changed out of respect for privacy). I think we all went to post-secondary here and have had our fair share of experiences with the highs and lows of academics.

Top:

1. Aurelie: She was a gorgeous French from France PhD student who knew who the band Berurier Noir were, was writing a dissertation about Vichy France and TA'd my Intro to European History class. She was about 10 years my senior and wouldn't go on a date with me, but was a very fair and constructive grader.

2. Samuel: A mercilessly tough grader but a really good guy who was writing a PhD in antebellum American history. He gave me C's on everything I submitted but we were ideological comrades and part of the same reading group. He helped promote the campus visit I organized for Ed Soja (RIP 1940-2015) about his "Six Visions for Los Angeles" and musings on "the thirdspace" super wonky but fun stuff. Edward was in Montreal on vacation and we smoked cigs together after, rest in power.

3. Yang: A foreign student from Guangzhou, China who was absolutely tormented by our totally mental Heidegger theorist prof. who had no business teaching intro to planning studio. Prof was an academic architect and made what was supposed to be a basic intro to urban design concepts course, all about having us create highly detailed architectural renderings BY FREAKING HAND on vellum. Yang was a CAD guy and also hated having to grade those silly drawings and liked that I stood up to said prof one day about his deplorable, borderline racist treatment of Yang and ridiculous deviation from the course description and syllabus. From there on, I skipped EVERY tutorial for that class and the homie didn't take any points off my participation grade. Said prof was later asked to leave the University the following term.

Bottom:

1. Alexandra: When I was briefly a student at the University of Toronto a decade ago, I had this one TA for a course on Food Security that was writing her PhD on Canadian Foreign policy and would intentionally mispronounce my name every time she took roll call. This stemmed from my refusal to take no for an answer when she denied a request for reasonable (visual) disability accommodation for my dysgraphia condition, because it would create slightly more work for her. On the fifth Tutorial roll call with the intentional mistake, I said to her in front of the class "G-d damn you, Alex! You know my name is "s___" not "s___i", I'm sorry I came late to the first tutorial, and you disagreed with my opinion on the Potash article, but please for the love of god stop playing favourites and calling my disability fake in public, its a form of harassment". She was naturally not amused and asked me to leave the Tutorial. I later filed a discrimination complaint with the University that backfired on me because she was the golden child of a prominent faculty member.

2. Bob. Bob was a MA student from East Africa who was technically illiterate and did not understand how the University's course scheduling system worked. He TA'd an anthropology elective I also took at U of T. A brilliant anthropologist and writer, but awful TA who could not lead a classroom discussion to save his life. I had been let into this particular tutorial group as an overflow student with written permission from the Prof and department, but because he was operating off a pre-semester registration list, did not have my name yet in the group and refused to assign me any participation credits. I dropped the class instead of continuing the argument.

3. Pablo. Pablo was a misanthrope from the American midwest and GIS Lounge Grouch who would close the lab an hour early every Saturday so he could skip out early on work. He would never allow the first and second year students to use the lounge when senior UG's were in there working on terminal projects, even if the lab was at only 40% capacity, and was a tough grader but personable guy outside of the academic setting. We later became friends outside of the classroom and I once gave him a ride to the border because he missed an overnight bus and had a time sensitive connecton to make at Plattsburgh Intl. Airport the next morning. Good dude.

HBU??
 
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Doohickie

Cyburbian
Messages
3,433
Points
46
Messilina Wang. She was our engineering lab TA. She would explain things in her broken English and when she got to the end she would sum it up with, "And why does the physics work this way? Because God make it so!"
 

Planit

Cyburbian
Messages
13,818
Points
55
Way back in time for me to remember...

I do remember one horndog TA whose thought his life mission was to get female freshmen in bed. The only reason it stands out to me after all these years was that one episode where we had a meeting scheduled but he didn't show because he was - "someplace else."
 

Bubba

Cyburbian
Messages
5,613
Points
42
I did not have a single TA as an undergrad. Small private liberal arts schools FTW!
 

DVD

Cyburbian
Messages
15,356
Points
52
Never lived in a dorm and went to college as an adult. So no TA for me.
 

Suburb Repairman

moderator in moderation
Staff member
Moderator
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7,430
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34
I was the best TA. :censored:

I had a cool one in undergrad for location analysis, a GIS lab-based course. Our lab was in the afternoon on a Friday, and we would pitch in each week for him to bring a case of beer to the following lab, violating all kinds of lab rules. He really knew his stuff and was an excellent lab instructor. I wasn't sure how he was getting away with it until I learned he was sleeping with the lab manager. Incidentally, they got married a couple years later.
 

Gedunker

Moderating
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Moderator
Messages
11,676
Points
44
One year at a private college and three years at a small state college, never had a TA. Three years in a state university for grad school, never had a TA. Kinda happy about it, honestly.

now, did I have some nut job full professors, oh! You bet.
 

kjel

Super Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
12,559
Points
43
I was a TA as Senior in UG. I wasn't difficult, I viewed my roll as a go between for the students and professor. I was kind of nice, helping them with their writing and giving them a second opportunity to get a better grade on the big papers.

The two memorable TAs I had, one as an UG was a girl who wasn't successful at anything after she finished her BA so she decided that academia was for her. She was an English Lit PhD student. The course she was a TA for had nothing to do with English or Writing. The other one was in planning school stats class. I am already not an advanced math whiz so the class was bad already. The TA was Japanese and barely spoke English, would provide assistance as he was supposed to, and he cut my exam period short by 30 minutes because he wanted to go party.
 

Whose Yur Planner

Cyburbian
Messages
11,713
Points
43
This wasn't a TA, but I had a professor who really helped me out in a finite math (probability) class. I'm a very verbal/left handed/written word person. I had to take a finite math class in college. To say the least, I was in a very leaky boat and furiously bailing water. I broke down and asked for her help. She told me to treat math like a foreign language. Through as any words as I needed at the mathematical concepts until they made sense. I got a passing grade because of her and that's all I needed.

Oddly, because of that class, I've only played lotto once and never went to a casino to gamble.
 

Maister

Chairman of the bored
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72
The fact that absolutely none stand out in my memory probably means something.
 
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