Over the course of the semester, I began to realize that the best way to teach students was the way professors have been trying to teach us all along instead of memorizing trends or certain formulas, we must understand how they are derived. Instead of teaching students just simply how to use an equation there’s more value in them learning why or under what circumstances we would use an equation. As I began doing this, I kept seeing many familiar faces in my exam review sessions which showed me that the students likely appreciated my teaching style. My experiences this semester have taught me not only how to be a better teaching assistant but also a better student. Now that I have experienced teaching, from both the student and professor perspective, I feel I can combine my learnings and allow even myself as a student to perform better.
The most valuable experience I gained from the are organization and leadership. At the start of the semester, I experienced certain challenges coordinating the 50 undergraduate teaching assistants and creating a schedule through which they would contribute questions each week for the class. Now, at the end of the semester this schedule has allowed us to develop a question bank of approximately 156 questions which Dr. Bell can use for the coming semesters as well. Prior to this semester I never realized how hard it would be to help organize so many teaching assistants, but after my experience this semester I feel that I have grown in my ability to better organize larger and more complex scenarios.
Despite the fellowship being over, I plan on continuing to work alongside Dr. Bell for the remainder of my time at Pitt. Since the next semester will likely be in person, we must optimize our teaching model once again for the different setting we will be teaching in. I would likely keep certain things the same, such as attending lecture one class which would allow me to see the way a concept is taught in class and relay the information to the other teaching assistants. Another idea I have for next semester include running exam review sessions more, this semester scheduled my TA hours on Saturdays and the class had exams on Tuesdays because of which I always had a large attendance at my sessions before the exams. Therefore, I would like to make exam review sessions more common going forth as I think the students largely benefitted from it.