As a Teaching Assistant (TA), you are a key link between the professor and students. This gives you the opportunity to observe and influence higher-level decisions about course design and content, as well as the opportunity to maintain daily, close interactions with students.
If you keep this perspective, you may find that being a TA is one of the most rewarding experiences you will have in your graduate education. In most cases, you will have to take some initiative to make sure that your TA experience provides both the mentorship you hope for and a set of responsibilities you can handle. Clear conversations with the professor with whom you are serving as a teaching assistant can set the stage for both.
As you read the following sections, reflect on what a TA does, the characteristics that make a great TA, as well as what you need to do to get started.