Center for Teaching and Learning

Strategies for supervising international TAs

As a supervisor, you can use a number of strategies to create and sustain good working relationships with your TAs and give them an important professional development experience. Freisem and Coutu (2005) recommend the following practices for faculty supervising TAs; these may be particularly helpful for your international and multilingual TAs.

  • Clarify responsibilities for all involved in the class — the lead TAs, all TAs and you. This is helpful to do with your TAs before the quarter begins, and to put in your syllabus to let students know who is responsible for what.
  • Be clear about the expected time it should take TAs to fulfill their responsibilities, and consider providing a weekly timesheet for TAs to complete to make sure your expectations and theirs align.
  • Provide TAs with a master syllabus that offers detail about what you’ll cover when.
  • Share sample class activities for discussion sections.
  • Provide grading criteria and grading deadlines for each assignment.
  • Set up weekly meetings with your TAs and/or find other ways to open communication channels.

Other strategies for mentoring international TAs:

  • Encourage your TAs to come to you with questions, and let them know that you are here to help guide them. Helping them ask questions early in the quarter may save you time from having to fix misunderstandings later.
  • Whenever possible, give your TAs rubrics and clear grading criteria for writing assignments.
  • If students express concern about a TA’s teaching, set up a time to observe a section. Remember that one or two students may not represent the perceptions of the entire class. Let the TA know that you want to observe to see how the class is going. See: Conducting observations for TAs.


  • The CTL also assists faculty in working effectively with their TAs. Contact us if you would like to learn more.
  • If you are working with an international TA who has questions or concerns about their teaching, please encourage the TA to contact us.


Freisem, K. and Coutu, L. (2005). Aligning in Large Class Instruction. In D. Wulff (Ed.) Aligning for Learning: Strategies for Teaching Effectiveness (pp. 80-94). Bolton, MA: Anker.